We made it! We completed Step Number Five in our easy Five Step Plan to move to Italy. I can’t say it was the easiest of the Five Steps, but it was the last one and for that I was grateful. Our trip was long and frustrating, but otherwise good. We were supposed to leave Atlanta at 10:30 Monday night. We took off at about 1:45 am Tuesday morning. There was a bad thunderstorm that basically shut down the airport for a while. When our plane was finally allowed to leave, we had to wait on the crew to arrive. They were waiting until the last second to come so they wouldn’t time out. However, when they arrived at the airport, security was closed in the International terminal so they had to go to Domestic to get screened. Then the trains that move between the terminals were closed so they had to walk – about 2.5 miles, according to the gate agent. When we saw
them marching down the concourse, the entire group of passengers erupted in applause. It was an Olympian moment – us cheering on the winning team. The whole thing made us realize that as much as we think we’re advanced and sophisticated, we’re still very much at the mercy of nature and glitches in technology.
Being that late to leave Atlanta made us miss our connecting flight in Amsterdam so we had to wait 3.5 hours there for the next flight to Rome. That was annoying but fine for Steve and me because we could go to the bathroom. But Millie was stretched a little beyond her comfort zone. The Amsterdam airport does not have a pet relief area and we couldn’t leave the building due to security screenings. So she had to make due with what she had, which was the airport floor. Being a dog and not ashamed of doing what nature intended, she dutifully relived herself and we tried as best we could to clean it up. I kind of felt like if they don’t provide a relief area for dogs, then they have to expect this sort of thing.
We arrived in Rome at about 11:15 pm or so and got a cab to our hotel. It being 11:15 or so on a Tuesday night, traffic was pretty light and our cab driver did his best to uphold the reputation of Roman cab drivers. We only thought our flight was over – I’m pretty sure we became airborne a few times during this ride. I know I came off my seat a time or two. But he got us to our hotel before midnight where we promptly fell into the nice king bed and slept that sleep that comes after being stuffed into a airplane seat for way too many hours.
Wednesday brought train day. We took the train from Rome to Arezzo where our friend Michelangelo picked us up. Train travel is the way to go. The seats are comfortable, you can walk
around, and the scenery is great. It was a very enjoyable ride through the Italian countryside on a marvelously beautiful day. When we finally arrived at Villa Chiassolo, our home, we almost burst with joy. We walked through the door and saw our things that we left here back in 2019 when we last crossed this threshold. It was so nice to be in a house that was actually put together and didn’t have boxes everywhere. We’ve been living in various states of disarray for so long that we didn’t realize how much we missed order.
Michelangelo took Steve to pick up our car and I started the process of unpacking the four bags of various sizes that contained our essentials. We are shipping several boxes which we think will arrive next week that will give us more creature comforts. I sorted all our clothes out, Steve’s on one of the twin beds in the guest room and mine on the other. I put away all our toiletries and the few kitchen items we brought. I nested. And it felt wonderful. I took breaks every now and then to stare out the window at the incredible view of this village. It is hot here – mid to high 90s – but very low humidity and a wonderful breeze. I opened all the windows and got a great cross breeze going through rooms that have have shuttered for way too long.
Later we walked down to the village to have our first meal. We settled on Talozzi because our first choice, Gran Duca, was completely booked that night. Talozzi was the next most
convenient place that we didn’t have to walk up a hill to get to. We were still pretty tired and fatigued from our travels. Steve had pasta with vongole (clams) and I had a vegetable plate. Strange choice for me, but it was quite delicious and my body felt like it needed an infusion of veggies after all the airplane/airport food. We were sitting at one of the outdoor tables that they have scattered around their little piazza and I looked down about a half a block away and saw one of our wonderful friends, Stefano, and his girlfriend, Ludovica, having drinks with friends at the sports bar. I texted him and simply said “Look up at Talozzi”. I saw him pick his phone up, scroll a bit, then look up at our table. We met them halfway between our tables and had a nice reunion with promises to spend more time together.
One of the things we love about this village is that there’s always something going on here. Not to disappoint us on our first night here, there was a series of concerts around town. This is something they do in the summer once a week. Each week is a particular musical themes and groups of musicians play all over town in various piazzas. That night was rock and we strolled around and listened to the groups play. People were out and having a wonderful time. Most everyone had on masks and it was delightful to see people enjoying life again.
Thursday, our first full day, we had our first pizza. It’s a tradition with us to have a pizza shortly after we arrive. I intentionally refrained from eating pizza back in Atlanta for several weeks so that my first bite would be even more special. It didn’t disappoint. Mine was mozzarella, sausage, and truffle. A delight with each bite – and I had many bites. I finished the whole thing! After our fortification, we ran errands. We forgot, as we always do, to factor in the siesta when almost every store closes for a few hours in the heart of the afternoon. We did what we could, came back to wait out the siesta and decided to take one of our own. Two hours later we stirred from our sleep and resumed our tasks. After finishing, we found ourselves at one of the best gelato shops around and decided to reward our shopping diligence with a treat. Looking at the wonderful gelato offerings I was tempted, but the pizza was still laying heavy in my stomach, so I declined. Steve was incredulous, as was I, but it felt good to say no. I realized that usually when I’m here I have to pack in as much as possible because my time is finite. This time, I feel like time stretches before me like a long, lazy river that I can float down at my own pace. There will be plenty of time for gelato in the days, weeks, months that are ahead of me. I can enjoy and savor everything in my own time without feeling a return date looming on the horizon. So, I turned down gelato for the first time in my life and felt proud and only a little bit denied. Besides, Steve shared his with me, so I really had the best of both worlds. There’s no calories when you taste someone else’s gelato, right?