Traveler, writer, reviewer, all-round observer. I like anything cool & fast, but occasionally sit at a cafe watching the world go by.
Oct. 5 & 6, 2010
As soon as I made it home yesterday, after the airline fiasco, I immediately called Italy to let them know what happened. One could only imagine their surprise when they come to pick us up. When I went to bed, I laid there and had trouble falling asleep most of the night -well, mainly because of what happened, but I was still excited at the thought of going to Italy for the first time. I have traveled plenty of times in my life -Greece, Germany, the Caribbean, all across the U.S., some parts of Canada, and even the Philippines. But the prospect of a new place, I just couldn’t wait to see the amazing scenery and landscape under the Tuscan skies, to taste their espresso, wine, bread, and to walk their roads and cobble stone streets, all first hand rather than just reading about or watching it on the screen.
I made the flight this time without a hitch, but got stuck in the last row between an overweight lumberjack wannabe and a little old lady. I never got up to go to the bathroom during the entire 8 hour flight -I guess I was very tired and still feeling frustrated from the previous day’s ordeal, and now squeezed into this tiny space (long gone are the glamour days of flying).
I spent the time watching the movie “Growing Up”, read some magazine articles, and slept for 6 hours until I made it to Pisa. I woke up just in time to enjoy the view of the snow-capped Alps. I have a Private Pilot license, I love flying and taming the wild blue skies, but in all my travels and flying, never in my life have I ever been so happy to reach the ground -finally!
My wife, her dad, and one of her cousins, Andrea, came to pick me up from the airport and to look for her lost luggage (funny thing was, it just happened to come on my flight). To their surprise, I was bringing it to them after I picked it up from Luggage Claim along with mine. I had a feeling it’d be there.
It was a nice drive from Pisa to Duomo, a village nestled in the hills just north of the town of Collodi, birthplace of Pinocchio. My aunt in-law Pia and her husband Domenico warmly welcomed us in their home that sat against a hill, overlooking the lush Italian landscape of mountains, hills, forests, and intermittent towns with their red-clay roofs.
To think, here I am enjoying a fresh hot cup of real Italian espresso, in a quaint home in the middle of Tuscany, somewhere between Florence and the ancient walled city of Lucca! I dared not pinch myself only to realize it was just a dream.
We had a pleasant lunch, which was the main meal of the day, reminding me of the traditional Sundays at my in-laws. Soup, spaghetti with homemade sauce, salad, wine, and fruit. After the meal, I took a long walk around the local village through tiny walkways, roads, and paths, going up and down the hills. It made me think of all the old stories one reads about. There’s nothing like the feeling of actually being in it, experiencing it with all your senses.
Back at the house, dinner was light -soup, peas mixed with minced meat, with a side of bread, fruit, wine & cheese. I went to bed early, just after 8pm. I was just very tired and could barely keep my eyes open after that long flight and an even longer two-day ordeal just to get here. Or it could’ve been the mountain air.