We’re Here!

15 Oct

I can’t believe it! Finally. Although I do miss those lovely days of anticipation, the present far outweighs the past!
The trip started Friday night with final packing and a lovely 2+ hour ride to the hotel arriving at midnight, a four hour cat nap and then off to the airport. Board the short 3 hour flight, everything lovely, nice crew but not very communicative. What’s that you say? We’ll be arriving a little over an hour late? No problem – I’m sure our INTERNATIONAL connection will be more than happy to wait for your sorry arse.  But we made it with time to spare so all is good.

Now we board Swiss for the Lonnnggggg flight…..dum, dum, dum….I LOVE THIS AIRLINE! Fabulous crew, friendly, no request too trivial, great snacks, great food, more snacks. We had a quite lovely glass of red wine with dinner. I had vegetable lasagne, hubby had the chicken and rice with veggies, and it was Good. Are you sitting down? It was all free. Now, in my past experience “good” alone was a miracle. But in this day and age free is just a revelation. Oh? You didn’t hear that? FREE! And of course the individual TV screens with movies, music, TV shows, etc. And they even passed out ear plugs. Did they know that poor little 3 year old girl was going to be a nightmare throughout the trip? Well, she was. 8+ hours was not her idea of Disneyland and she let it be known every. single. second. And poor Dad. I hope they are doing better now.

And then we land, we change planes for the short hop to Florence. Very short, again great crew, nice beverage service, again free, which boggles my mind, and we are in Italia.
But first I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how gorgeous that short flight from Zurich to Florence was. Very pretty soft morning light. The landscape was lush and green, trees, trees, and more trees. And then there were Alps (or very large mountains covered with snow that I have decided are (my) Alps). So very majestic. We are native Californians and yes, we have the High Sierras, Tahoe, Mammoth, and other snowy places, but momma mia! The (my) Swiss Alps are simply breathtaking! I am so loving everything Swiss. This may be our next trip. Oh! And then there were the crazy clouds! We had normal clouds, very cute. And low clouds where the mountains would stick up through them, the color of the clouds – I’ve seen pink clouds before, but have you ever seen blue? (Here is an opening for some brave soul to make a comment!) It’s probably a light, reflective, water thing but I’ve never seen anything like it before and it dazzled me. I think to myself “How blessed am I to have the opportunity to experience and see such marvels?” Very blessed.

Okay, so we land. We have two options:  a) go here if you have stuff to declare, b) go there if you don’t.  We don’t, so we go there. And, find ourselves out on the street. What happened to customs? We’ve been through Switzerland, and now Italy, and no one a) has cared about our luggage and carefully labeled liquids in see through containers – okay, twice my carry on was searched due to a nefarious electronic device which was quickly pooh-poohed as “Oh, Keendle, pah!”  So it’s not the new “Fire” – jeez! I want my passport stamped with Italia! We had to be persuasive with the Swiss (did I mention they are very good looking?) to get the stamp. I don’t think anyone else got the stamp. But it’s happened to me before in a previous lifetime when I was vacationing and I did go through customs and almost missed out on the stamp. They said oh no, not necessary. And I quickly explained why it was oh so very necessary and they changed their minds just as quickly! So to be robbed in our country of current choice of the beloved stamp and now we can’t even figure out how to get back in the airport (this should make a good story upon departure!) I am temporarily crushed. I am determined to have it stamped twice (on different pages even!) when we leave.

Now we have to notify Apartments Florence that we have arrived and to meet us to let us in, tell us the in and outs and a few local tips and we’re off. My brilliant hubby has secured Italy cell phones and we dial away. Doesn’t work. Try again. This time we get a message in Italian and a disconnect. Obviously we miss dialed and got a recorded message telling us we don’t need the area code or something. (No we didn’t use the country code!) So we decide to head over and call from outside the apartment. We get a Taxi and the driver doesn’t speak English. He looks a little afraid of us so he  calls over another driver, we explain where we are going and that we’re having problems reaching our party. He whips out his cell phone dials the phone, reaches our party,  talks a while,tells us we’re all set,  assures the other driver we are safe, and away we go. How nice it that? (He was good looking too!) We arrive and in five minutes- if that- our greeter (another good looker!)  arrives and shows us our apartment and is on his way. The apartment is better than I imagined. While being completely renovated, updated, whatever, it’s not all sleek and glossy like a big city US apartment – it’s Italian, with loads of charm, and cosiness. I feel completely at ease and at home. We look out the kitchen window and see the top portion of the Duomo. The bells ring often, I haven’t figured that quite out. Oh, but they are heavenly! “Ding. Dang, Dong!” (From Under the Tuscon Sun movie).

We unpack, then take a short trek out and about. We find a local grocery store and stock up on local meats, cheeses, vino, bread, oil and balsamic, and greens. Food of the gods. We ogle all the shops, find 2 gelato shops, (yay!) and wander a bit, then home to dine, snooze, sip wine, then decide to take a nap. My nap ends up “down for the count”. Poor hubby tries to wake me but a train could have come through the apartment and I’m still out. He gives up and joins me. We wake at 2am and have another feast. We laugh and talk and I decide to update the blog, but after the first paragraph I’m sleepy as is he so we decide to to bed. We’ll get up early and explore. And then it’s noon. And pouring rain. We decide this is perfect and get organized, putter around. He goes back to the store to stock up and I sit down to write a  quick update. Yep, this is quick all right! I’m sure I won’t put you to sleep with long blogs like this after today. Too much too see and do. I make no rash promises however.

Not a bad start to the dream of a lifetime. I am surely blessed and in heaven. Plus I get to do all this with my best friend\husband whom I adore. Love to the family, our friends, and all of you out there following me\us.

Arrivederci!

9 Responses to “We’re Here!”

  1. K C October 15, 2012 at 4:55 pm #

    I’ve forgotten how to enter and all that stuff so I hope this gets to you.

    Glad to hear all is well.

    Google the “Dolomites” which are the Alps North of Venice. Probably more unique than the Swiss Alps.

    Don’t forget to see Michelangelo’s “David”.

    KC

    • DJ* October 15, 2012 at 5:41 pm #

      Dear KC,

      Good Job! And thanks for the information. Please remember not to use names, okay? I love the comments so keep them coming! “David” is definitely on the list!

  2. B C October 15, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

    OMG! I am so Jealous. I have been there twice, and am anxious to return. After all, I threw a coin in the fount of Trevi! (Three Coins in the Fountain) There is so much to see and do, i am positive your blogs will be a plethora of information. Short blogs…NOT! Look for my Taroni. It’s a nugget candy. Is my be difficult to find, but if my memory serves me correctly, we fount it in the Tuscany region. Looking forward to living vicariously through the two of you. Have fun exploring Italia!!! Ciao, BC

    • DJ* October 15, 2012 at 5:44 pm #

      Hey BC!
      Thanks for the comment – keep them coming – but no names to protect the innocent! Lol! Now that we know EXACTLY where to look for the candy we’ll see what we can do. So good to hear from you. Wish you were here. Well, kind of. It is our overdue honeymoon after all! But we hope to hear from you lots more. You are a treasure trove of information!

      • B C October 15, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

        Plenty of food to enjoy…pace yourselves.
        Oh the flavors an EVOO is fab over there!

  3. Miranda October 16, 2012 at 5:47 am #

    Wow!! Sounds like your dream vacation is off to a great start!! I look forward to seeing all of your Italy Adventures to come!! Have fun an be safe you two!!:))

    • DJ* October 16, 2012 at 5:59 am #

      Thanks Miranda! Hope to get some stunning shots today!

  4. Diona S October 16, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

    now that I read the arrival blog entry – are you getting pictures of all these pretty people??? 🙂

    • DJ* October 16, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

      Unfortunately no. My wits must have been wandering, or the drool may have clouded the camera lens (for both of us!). However all is not lost! There seems to be an abundance of them in Florence! So I will try to keep my mouth closed and concentrate on ALL the beauty here! Lol!

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