The flight was 8 hours long, uncomfortable and tiring. The seats were tight, but with three of us sitting together we could raise the seat arms for a bit more breathing room. ) When Lucas gets bigger, it'll be much tighter.) Leg room was OK, though it's hard to stretch out. A very tall person must hate these new seat spaces.
None of us got any sleep. I tried with my ear plugs and inflatable pillow but the best I had was what I call "hospital sleep". You know, the restless sleep you get when you are in a hospital with lights on and nurses coming in at all hours. Planes are God-awful noisy things, too. I tried getting Lucas comfy enough for sleep, but nothing worked. This kid's going to collapse somewhere tomorrow.
We then had to deal long lines and no air conditioning getting through Italian customs and getting our one checked bag (Lisa just had to have more space!) The place was modern yet tired looking at the same time. The workers looked bored and there were few smiles. I was amazed at how hot and stuffy it was.. they either don't have proper air conditioning, have it turned off to save money, or have the thermostats set to around 80. Fiumicino airport is a huge, confusing place.
We walked out the customs doors and found our driver, Adele, holding up a card with our name. She spoke broken English... I spoke fractured Italian. We still managed a decent conversation on the way to the rail station. She played obnoxious Italian pop music on the radio--some with pretty inappropriate lyrics (I knew enough Italian curse words to catch this). Her driving was like any big city taxi driver--agressive and confident.
We had a first class cabin on this second class train... it was older, but that's what gave it the charm. Squeaky brakes, lights that didn't work, and a toilet that flushed right onto the rushing tracks below! Lots of tunnels on this route. Everything looked Italian! The further toward Tuscany we got, the more beautiful... hills, mountains, vineyards, hilltowns. We napped a bit. Took some bad blurry pictures out the window and enjoyed the fun of a new kind of train travel. I haven't been on European style trains like this since the Seventies.
We picked up our little Fiat 500L... they call it "the large" here. Perfect fit for us. This one is a standard shift so Lisa paniced each time my shifting was a little rough or abrupt... hard not to do with Italian drivers cutting us off, tons of curvy mountain roads, havint to take off from dead stops on steep slopes, and the sudden thunder storm we had to drive through. In fact, to get the car, we had to walk several blocks in the pouring rain. More on that Hertz experience in other posts.
We made a stop in an Italian chain supermarket--Conad. Lucas will fill you in on that... oddly different.
Another half hour or so and we arrived at Cosona, our first agriturismo (a farm B&B). The stone buildings were half a millennium old with high beamed ceilings, tile floors and amazing views. A real dream come true... vistas of hilltowns and rolling hills and mountains for 20 miles.
Then... sleep. Lucas fell first, then Lisa... then me, but only after working for over 20 minutes on this blog only to lose the post because of the slow satellite Internet connection. Arrgh! Then sleep came fast after about 18 hours of traveling...
Now it's morning, we had our first little jam, bread and fruit breakfast, I did this post (hope it doesn't crash this time) and we are out on our first Tuscan exploration. Miss you already, everyone.