Thursday, November 15, 2012

Day 1: Ciao, Rainy Italia

So how to even start writing about our trip to Italy? I suppose I'll do an entry for each part of the trip. The first part of the trip consisted of arriving in Florence, renting a car, and driving to Lucca, a small, medieval walled city about an hour directly west of Florence (most of the other parts of the trip will be much more interesting than this one, but I've got to begin at the beginning).

Our flight was incredibly uneventful. Everything departed on time and our 8 hour flight to Zurich was smooth and full of pretty good food (Swiss Air knows how to treat you-fresh croissants and Swiss chocolates, yum!) We both even managed to sleep a little bit.

The Zurich airport seemed very high tech on little to no sleep. Nathan tried to disown me when I used the men's bathroom, but luckily it was a pretty secluded one, so it wasn't even embarrassing. The airport in Zurich is filled with things like Tag Heuer watches, caviar stores, and smoking lounges, so needless to say, I did not feel at home there. Still, we filtered through security, customs, and back through our gate security and was on our short flight to Florence in no time at all. More yummy croissants and chocolates awaited!

Sunrise over the Alps

We arrived in Florence pretty exhausted, waited forever for our shuttle to the car rental lot (Italians don't really seem to follow schedules unless it means closing things right before we get there. Then they are sticklers for that *$#@ schedule.) We got to the car lot and wandered about looking for the rental outfit we used. No sign for Europecar, so we started to wonder if maybe we got scammed, but finally we just started asking at the various booths. The last one (isn't that always how it goes?) had our reservation and set us up pretty quickly with our tiny white Fiat.

It became clear how much we were flying by the seat of our pants when we realized that we didn't have even one map of Italy. The rental place gave us a pretty general one that wasn't super helpful, except to tell us we needed the A11, so Nathan somehow drove us straight through the outskirts of Florence directly to it using only the minimum of road signage and his gut. It was pretty amazing (partly because my gut always tells me the complete opposite of the way I should be going).

Then we came to the first toll booth and realized we hadn't gotten money yet, so we had to turn back, find a random bank on a random side road, and then find the toll road again. In the rain. Easy peasy. (By the way, I should have mentioned that it had been raining pretty continuously since we landed at the airport.)

An hour and a half later, we're finding our way through one of the 4 ports in the Lucca city walls, tracking down and parking space, and traipsing to our apartment. Still no problems, still no arguments, still on very little sleep. We rolled our suitcases across the road and the apartment owner poked her head out the window and said, "Ciao, Hanna." See how easy this was? Incredible.

She showed us around, gave us our keys, and told us where the grocery store and a cafe with free wifi were, and explained that only white parking spaces are for non-residents (so we had to move our car). We moved the car, managed to find our way back in the pouring rain, and collapsed into a lovely nap on our bed that consisted of two twin beds with king size sheets. (This is the way of Europe, people. I do not need any more evidence than that that the US is superior. There are all those studies being done on why the birthrate is so low in Italy, and I know why. It's those damn beds.)

Later we dragged ourselves out into the rainy night to get groceries, find the cafe, and then a small restaurant where we got some delicious Faro Soup (a specialty to Lucca).

 End of Day 1. Only 12 more to go!

1 comment:

  1. I am cracking up that you used the men's restroom!!!