Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Trains, Planes, and Automobiles!

I guess it's like childbirth - you forget the pain after the baby arrives. So, it's been ten years since my friend Betsy and I trekked for three weeks throughout Umbria and Toscana by rail. Now, a tad older and with heavier bags, Don and I have come to the realization that one must have a good sense of humor to do this in one's '60's or '70's!

Brussels is a gorgeous, sophisticated city but the weather could get you down. We were oh so ready to leave the fifty degree days for the warmth of Italy, but not ready for the 6 AM wake-up call! The cab came at 7 to take us to the bus station where we schlepped onto a shuttle to the airport which - who knew? - is an hour outside of the city.

We were pretty darn proud of ourselves for booking the bargain flight with Ryanair, an Irish company no less, which would get us to Pisa in an hour and a half. We didn't figure on the weight limit for the checked luggage  - 15 kilos isn't a whole lot when you're packing for three weeks. We were cool with the carry-on but had to buy another bag, stand in a corner like bad students, and pull undies and shoes from each of our suitcases to put into the blue carry-on bag. Wish I'd had a photo of that! I was ready for a grappa and it was only 10 AM!

Once in Pisa, we got on a train that only took us to the center of town where we had to change to another train to Lucca. If you haven't traveled through Italy before, take it from me, the stations are unforgiving. There are stairs, stairs and more stairs. Handicapped? Va bene! Don with his cane and I in my heels were a sight to see. I looked around but didn't spy anyone else our age trying to pull this off. We looked at each other and just started to laugh. Hey, it's all fodder for the book, right?

We spotted a cab and fell into his arms where he immediately said to himself, "touristas!" He charged us 11 euro to go about 2 miles and then didn't even pull into the driveway of our respite, The Villa Romantica, But, all's well that end's well. We raided the mini bar for vino and bierra. You can see that it was all worth it:

Don chillin' on the patio:

With the owners:


TooManyBooks said...

I would love to have seen you in your heels! Too funny!

Kathleen said...

Just keep repeating to yourself "all for the book, all for the book." Probably won't work for Don though! I bet the Italian wine will make everything all better in no time!

Sallyb said...

You got it! Sunburn today walking in Siena. Seemed like we were in the shade - hmmm - maybe the wine?