Joe and I decided on a trip to Italy in June,2007 to celebrate our 30th Anniversary. It would be our first trip without the kids, who were then 19 &16, and we were really excited. On a previous trip to Italy we had spent 12 days running from one must see to another in Milan, Venice and Rome. We knew that we wanted this trip to be at a much slower pace with less focus on museums and churches, and more focus on how people go about their daily life. Of course we were looking forward to good food and wine too! Luckily I had stumbled upon Slow Travel while doing some initial research. We knew that we wanted to spend time in Florence and in the countryside. I spent days reading trip reports and rental reviews,perusing the Italy Board and asking questions. I was amazed at how generously people shared their knowledge. In the end, we settled on 7 days in Val d'orcia at Cretaiole and 10 days in Florence at Il Carmine in the Oltrano area. Both accommodations were perfect and we loved having a "home" to return to after a day or evening out. I kept a journal throughout our trip, and fully intended to write a Trip Report . Somehow, I misplaced the Journal (I am sure that it is around here,somewhere) and it is now almost 2 years since the trip. Why didn't I take a laptop with me?
We really did have a wonderful, slow time soaking in the atmosphere in many small (and large), towns, being amazed by the Tuscan landscape, shopping at local markets as well as in Florence& enjoying great meals. While many details are lost in my journal,there are somethings burned in my memory that I will record over the next few entries.
Getting out of Dodge was not easy. There were a million details to take care of with the kids before we left. My 65 yr. old, single aunt would provide general supervision. By her own admission, she is not a disciplinarian or great at setting limits. I left a specific list of rules about curfew,driving,sleeping out, etc - all things that my kids were quite familiar with already. My best friend, who lives a few blocks away would have the final say on any exceptions to our rules. My neighbor (Chi-Chi's mom for those who have followed my blog) would be keeping an eye on comings and goings from the house at night if my aunt was not there.. My kids, who are really good kids, were very motivated to behave. Adam had just finished his freshman year at college. He was threatened with becoming a commuter student the next year. Jordan was 16, but did not have his drivers permit yet. He was threatened with not getting his license until he was 21! Except for some minor issues with money management, I have to say that both of them lived up to our expectations.
The big day arrived. We had a 12 p.m. shuttle to get us to JFK for our 6:00 p.m. flight. I had two quick things to do at work that morning, but I woke up with a toothache- or actually a gum ache! Fortunately the Dentist was on my way to work. I was waiting at the door when he arrived at 8:00 a.m. and he took me immediately. Turned out to be an inflammation- I needed a new cap to close a gap between my back molars. I left his office with a temporary cap, script for antibiotics and a $1200 bill! Did what I needed to do at work and was back home with a 1/2 hour to spare before the shuttle arrived. Arrived at JFK and check-in went smoothly. The flight ,however, was delayed 45 minutes due to a severe thunder storm. Would we make our connection in Munich? Doubtful!