We had been blessed with an amazing two week vacation to Italy. My mom took my family as a gift to celebrate her 70th birthday and also as she says ” I rather enjoy my money while I am alive then dead.” So that was it, no need to twist my arm, off we go. Well that was what I thought, I hadn’t really thought out all the details of a trip abroad with kids and the unforeseen situations that we would be put in…so I want to share our first 18 hours with you…
The car service comes to pick us up and the kids are thrilled. Its a giant white limo, not what I ordered but what the heck, my kids thought they were pop divas. So once all the luggage was shoved into the trunk and other stuff jammed between our feet, the latch on the trunk wouldn’t close. In order for the bags not to fall out on the road, my husband and driver had to duct tape the whole trunk together. Ridiculous.. so for a $100, plus tip, we get to ride in style in a limo with silver duct tape all around. Not too good for business..I couldn’t not tip the driver, it wasn’t his fault. But honestly, the company should be a bit more conscientious.
Mid flight my oldest Sofia, gets all flushed and feels sick and we scramble to the bathrooms as I hold her as she tries to vomit and keep her calm. I don’t know why but this plane didn’t have any air vents over your seats. It was a hot plane.. we were all sweating, me for other reasons. So there we sat for a long time in the 2 x 2 bathroom, feeling claustrophobic and sweating, rubbing my daughters back trying to make her feel better. Only 4 more hours to go.
Because our plane was delayed on take off we landed in Paris late for our connection. We had 10 minutes to make our plane to Florence. The Boston plane landed and we had to get off on the tarmac and take a bus to main terminal. The only time I have walked off a plane was in Key West or to some other island. From there, we had to RUN, RUN, RUN to make the next plane. Might I add that it was one in the morning our time, and 6:30am in France. We were beat. The next terminal I swear was a bus and train ride away. My poor mother had just had a cortisone shot in her knee the day before and she was hobbling, we felt awful but she kept up. Go Nana! we didn’t want to have to leave her in Paris. We had to go through immigration and the attendant couldn’t be slower. He was not about the speed things up on our account. I think it was because we looked like crazy Americans. Then, both my daughters backpacks were pulled aside for inspection. Damn that Leapster pen! So a lot of yelling, running, and I will say again sweating we make it by the skin of our teeth, they actually held the plane. Yeah! So another 2 hours ahead. We were all out cold, drooling.
Once we arrived in Florence airport we had to go get the rental. Jammed into a van that only held 10 people, there were about 20 of us. Squeezed, sweating, luggage piled all around and no car seats. My kids were eye balling me excited at this “dangerous” endeavor. My husband and I were in the front seats next to the driver. He threw the AC on, but it was a furnace. All I was thinking, holy sh-t!! Is this going to be the trip. It was a nightmare.
We got the car, my husband hadn’t driven a 5 speed since high school, however he was great. Armed with a map and directions that were so obscure that it was like searching for the lost city of Atlantis. It took us three hours to find our villa, which under normal circumstances would have been an hour. The heat was scorching, and I felt like I had a hangover, exhaustion, hunger, and yet again….sweaty. Little did I know that I would have a permanent sweaty lip for the remaining two weeks.
So after 3 hours driving , a nap at a gas station in the middle of no where, kids going wild and nana squashed between them in the back seat, we met the housekeeper. We had called him on the phone, so between broken english and our Italian, we found a meeting point. We followed him, through a town, up windy roads, passed chickens, dogs and elderly people on bikes, olive trees, grape vines, dusty dirt road, a left, right and left again, took a left at the cypress tree in the midst of the olive trees. Low and behold there was our house. Never in a million years would we have found this place. I had visions of us stranded in the dark of night all huddled in the car until we were found. ( if you have seen the movie Gladiator, it looked just like it)
It was charming and beautiful and it was our home for the next week until we moved to our next location. It was a thrill to have made it that far. We were so excited for the adventures that lay ahead of us. We unpacked the car, picked our rooms, threw on a fan or two and opened the fridge. AHHHHHHH.. Dove el supermerkarti!!!!!! ( wheres the supermarket in Italian).
Despite all the initial craziness, we had an amazing trip. A million thank you’s to my mother for her generosity, patience and love. This is a trip we will never forget. Grazie Mile!