OK, I’m back and ready to begin the journal of my “working vacation” or “How I Spent My Summer Vacation on a Series of Harp Guitar-Related Adventures, and Boy, Do I Owe Jaci!”

This was a tricky one to schedule, but it worked out well, discounting the jet lag.

The meticulously orchestrated plan was to first hit Genoa, Italy to visit Franco Ghisalberti and family and friends but also with a specific agenda to film a special new documentary on Pasquale Taraffo (with Genoese colleague Fabrizio Giudice, above).  Then quickly to Mulhouse, France, for Yaouen’s International Harp Guitar Festival weekend.  We’d then separate, with Jaci going back home to work, and I continuing on to Boston.

There, I’d spend a couple days with Frank Doucette and Steve Silva (pictured, at the Silva residence) before heading to the American Musical Instrument Society (AMIS) conference.  And finally ending with an all-too brief visit with my family in Chicago before returning to reality.

And we’re off!

Departure, May 22: For once, we didn’t have an early flight so had a relatively leisurely morning to prepare and pack…until a horrifically-timed plumbing leak occurred mid-morning, which would have severely inconvenienced our house/dog sitter Nick.  After a good stressful hour, our trusty plumber Corey finally answered our 911 and finished the emergency repair just 5 minutes before the taxi arrived at noon.

The flight was uneventful (10 hours, direct from L.A. to Paris), always a good thing.  No extra leg room available though.  BTW, my big plastic harp guitar flight case cost $100 to check (Air France), the only time I’d need to pay extra for it on the trip.

Faithful readers will recall my nightmare at Charles De Gaulle airport 2 years ago, when I missed my Genoa flight (and subsequently, visit) due to a black comedy of errors staged by a series of staggeringly misinformed airport employees who sent me on a wild goose chase to every corner of the jam-packed, sprawling facility except the shuttle stop I needed.  This trip?  We deplaned in a completely different location with no bustling crowds or confusion – just one helpful agent who pointed us to our Genoa terminal shuttle just out the door.  A minor Miner miracle, if you ask me.

Lots of stories and photos to come…

Next: To Genoa – third time is (again) a charm!