Thursday, February 9, 2012

Return to Italy

02/08, Wednesday
Arrived in Doha, Qatar, 4:30am, outdoor temp 32F. Arrived Rome, 7:30am, outdoor temp 36F. I have changed from shorts to jeans and a sweater for the first time in 6 weeks. Now in Venice, 9:30am, 32F. We have both retrieved fleeces, scarves, and gloves from the luggage.

It seemed disconcerting to be flying over Kuwait, Bagdad and other past war zones.Again it reminds us of the fact that we are such a small area on the planet.

We went through many, many time zones and a weather change of 75 degrees in less than 24 hours. Qatar airlines is good but why, oh why don't the arm rests go all the way up so one could lie down ? Flights weren't full, but you really couldn't lie down across several seats. After so much humidity in Singapore you really felt the exceedingly dry air on the planes. I had to keep lubricating my contacts or I could hardly blink.

Waiting for bus to Mestre Train Station where we are scheduled to depart around 2:30pm for Florence. Lots of snow on the ground as we make our way south toward Firenze. As we pull out of the station, I caught a very brief glimpse of the Duomo.

Now, onto Chiusi, arrival at 6:20. Our host Sergio will meet us there and drive us to our apartment. There are remnants of snow here from a week ago; it hasn't been warm enough to melt what's on the ground. Who would have guessed we would choose to spend two months in Italy during the coldest winter in 27 years! Sergio helped us do some preliminary grocery shopping on the way home so we would have something for breakfast. Sergio speaks English well and is very friendly and helpful. We can ride in with him to Chiusi any day and that is a hub for trains and buses. We have not met his wife or 2 year old son yet.

We are in our new abode which is in the small town of Sanfatucchio. Sergio and his in-laws converted an old stone farm house into six tasteful apartments. Our apartment has one bedroom with a nice sized living area including kitchen. Although it is only 30F outdoors, inside it is warmed with radiators. And, we have free wifi and Digital TV, in Italian only. A nice king bed awaits us and we are asleep by 10:00pm.

02/09, Thursday
It is 10:00am before we are up for the day. After breakfast, we unpack and settle in. The apartment has warmed up nicely overnight. We make our first foray into town at 1:30. It is a good mile walk along a country road. By the time we stop for lunch at the only restaurant in town, they are closed (open 12-13:30, 17:00-21:30) by Italian standards. The nice proprietress (Elisa) agrees to make sandwiches for us and includes four nice "cookies", small waffles with chocolate drippings.

Likewise, the grocery store doesn't reopen until 4:00pm. Arriving a little early, they inform us they will not open this afternoon, but tomorrow from 8:00 - 13:30. (Our plan for Friday is to catch a ride with Sergio into Chiusi at 8:15.) On our walk back we meet Sergio's MIL, Vera, and his son, Leonardo, with their golden Labrador retriever, Mielina, which means Honey.

Sandy prepared our first dinner of gnocchi with local red wine which we eat by candle light, listening to TuneIn app news and music using the JamBox. We have certainly enjoyed the JamBox that Matt and Lizzy gave to us at Christmas.

02/10, Friday
More snow this morning. Sergio drives us into Chuisi. He is a very good driver and the roads were icy. A truck had blocked the entrance to a bridge because it couldn't get up the hill so Sergio had to back up and take another route. They aren't used to snow at all so the towns don't have plowing equipment. Things were pretty closed down because of the weather, so we relaxed over cappuccino, walked around a bit, checked on train schedules and did some food shopping. Then Michele, Sergio's wife, picked us up and got us home safely. They have invited us up for tea this afternoon. It is still blowing and this stormy weather is supposed to continue for several days. Glad we are in a nice place !

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