Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Ciao, Chessa!

For a long time I wondered how I could cleverly name a post after the blog and now is my chance! I'm one quarter Italiana and I'm Chessa! And, today, I'm in the beautiful (and currently very wet) Tuscany region of Italia. Ciao!

After worrying for nearly 24 hours that we would never make it here thanks to a late winter snow storm back home, our flight left JFK exactly on time and arrived one hour early in Milano yesterday morning. We had a wonderful flight in a plane that was only half-full and where we didn't have to pay for a glass of wine and they use REAL silverware (grazie Alitalia!).

We spent the day and night in Milano with one of my best friends who is living here now and I don't think I've ever felt happier about a vacation. We went to visit the Last Supper and we spent ten minutes walking from the back of the room to the front of the room to take in the different perspectives and studying all the details of this incredible art. We had an espresso in a nearby cafe while we waited for our friend to meet us after work and as I looked for her out the window I saw this little girl with a pink backpack in the plaza spinning around and around holding her arms straight out. I was sure she would fall when she stopped but instead she lost her footing for just a second and then chased after her little brother who was kicking a soccer ball around.

A few days ago while I was in New York I felt just like that little girl. Every time I stopped spinning I was sure I would trip over myself but there was always something else that would hold me up. I finally stopped spinning when we got on that plane and I felt it taking off - ironically, looking out the window of an airplane when it is taking off makes me terribly dizzy so I always have to keep my eyes closed.

This morning we took the train to Florence. The countryside zipped by us and I just felt so happy to be there - it didn't matter that I was completely jetlagged and felt slightly hungover. The fog was floating just above the ground and the contrast of all that gray against the green and yellow earth looked like a painting. It was pouring when we finally pulled in to Firenze but we bargained on the price of some crappy umbrellas and hoped for the best. When we finally got to the hotel and then went out again we couldn't help but laugh at the absurdity of the torrential downpour...of course it would rain. We've had to cancel our trip here twice and the third time being the charm couldn't go off without a hitch.

We walked around for a while, visited a few churches (including the breathtaking Santa Maria Novella-wow!) and then gave up and did what we do best - eat. We made up for the bad weather by winging it and ordering something random from a menu only in Italian and drinking wine and beer in the afternoon at a Trattoria near the Pitti Palace. For following the mandatory vacation rule of drinking in the middle of the day we were rewarded with an hour of no rain to roam some charming Florentine streets in the neighborhood. The rain smells differently in Europe - at least it is different than how it smells in New York. Maybe it just seems that way because I'm taking the time (or rather, I have the time) to care.

We went to the Pitti Palace and took note of the hour. We wandered the halls and galleries for what felt like 20 minutes until DS announced that we had been there for nearly three hours. Isn't it amazing how time can just slip away from you like that? When we left we came upon group of about 50 people all yelling and laughing at the same time - it reminded me of every family get-together at my parents house except they were speaking in Italian instead of Spanish.

We walked to no where in particular until we found ourselves on the Ponte Vecchio. I love that you don't have to worry or think about going any place because you always ARE someplace.

We have 10 more days of this. Stay tuned...


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