As noted in the previous post, it took 16 hours to fly to Italy. Apart from a slightly bumpy last part of the trip, and unruly kids on two of the three legs, the flight was without incident and we arrived without an excess of wear and tear. Food and entertainment options were great. Kudos to Delta and KLM.
We left at 11 a.m. and arrived in Milan at noon the next day (16 hours plus an 9 hour time change). This means that Italy is preparing for lunch, but to us it felt like 3 a.m. on a night with no sleep. So as soon as we settled into our hotel we crashed for a couple hour nap, then woke up in time for dinner and a stroll around the neighborhood. We then took a sleeping pill at the normal bedtime. This gets us on the local time schedule, although our bodies would still crave sleep at odd times for several days.
Our first plans for a trip started over two years ago, so to actually be here was surreal. Several times during our trip we would stop what we were doing, stare at each other, and say, “we are in Italy!” By the end of the trip we actually believed it. Here are a few pictures of our introduction to Italy.
Luggage at the ready. Our standard is to each take a backpack and an international size carry-on, with no checked luggage. Transfer trains in Europe once or haul your stuff down cobblestones and you will understand why.
Where did we go? The area in black outlines the three provinces we touched, all in very northern Italy. We followed the red route, from Milan east to Verona then north to Ortisei and back, picking up two lake towns along the way.
Clues that we were actually in Italy
Although it took a while to sink in, there were immediate clues that we were in a new and different place, namely:
The Food (these were the appetizer and a main dish of seafood pasta on our first night)
The Ambiance — Dinner was a covered outdoor venue, and Ellen is shown sitting on our fresh flower-adorned veranda afterwards. I was surprised to recognize several background songs at dinner, including Moon River. Remember that Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, and Dean Martin were all Italians. We may have heard songs from all three of them the first night. Welcome to Italy!
This charming church was a block away from our hotel, and the central Milan train station looks like the Italian version of Grand Central Station. Note the size of people to get the scale in the last picture.