Our trip has started! I am typing this somewhere over Newfoundland, Canada as we get ready to traverse the northern Atlantic towards our intermediate destination of Frankfurt, Germany. I have been up since 4 am after going to sleep at 1am trying to get everything done before I leave, yet I am not really tired. I am always so excited to get to Italy and enjoy the awe and wonder in my traveler's eyes as we arrive at our hotel after a meandering drive to the hotel from the airport, to hear the background sound of people speaking Italian, Vespas whizzing by, the smell of pasta carbonara emanating from trattorias.... It's a different world - definitely indescribable.
The transition from our American way of life to that of Italy takes some time. I love to watch it unfold and our trip understands this and our travelers really don't realize it is happening. We start the trip in Florence, which of course is an amazing Renaissance time warp, yet a busy, bustling city. After two days in Florence we drive to the countryside in Umbria and there the stress of our everyday lives almost melts away like gelato on a hot summer day.
I love to learn the motivation of my travelers to embark on this trip with some architect from Phoenix. I have some repeat travelers and its very fun to see the difference in their experience from the first trip to the second trip. It is very rewarding to see their confidence and their expanded awareness of detail now that they can shed the fear of the first trip. Then in contrast it is so wonderful to watch my virgin travelers discover the David in Florence or the Trevi Fountain in Rome, or their first dish of pasta with black truffles. I love it all.
Probably the best part is watching the connection and budding friendships that grow so strong, I think, due to the shared experiences of beautiful scenery, tastes, and smells and the experience of discovering this passionate culture together!
Ok, it's time to get some rest before we get to Frankfurt and have a quick connection to our flight to Florence. We arrive in Florence around 1 pm, so some time to get settled and then venture out for my first dish of fresh pasta and of course a gelato... Oh yeah and some architecture!