First and foremost, I want to thank all of you who have been following us on Facebook. We greatly appreciate all of your likes and comments and we are proud to announce we have passed 20,000 likes on our Candelaria Design Page on Facebook. Wow - you are all the best.
Well, I am writing this blog for the second time as I accidentally hit the delete button just as I was finishing it the first time....so I hope this version was as good as the initial one.....
So..... we are off! This year we have travelers coming from all directions. Of course most of our travelers are from Arizona, but this year we have two travelers from Delaware and one from Oklahoma, and one from Baltimore. So of course that means all different starting points, different connections, and different arrival times in Florence. With that said, one little glitch and all the dominos can start to fall.
To further complicate matters, our Arizona group was split into three contingencies - my Delta travelers and my US Airways travelers both traveling at different times. We then all had different connection cities including Dallas, Philadelphia and Atlanta for our first stops and then Madrid, Rome, Amsterdam and Paris for the first European stop. Then finally all of us arriving in Florence at different times. For those of us connecting in Philadelphia we would meet our two Delaware travelers and our Baltimore traveler to round out that group.
So far so good! I received texts from everyone at the first stop that all was good and on schedule. We grabbed a glass of wine and recharged the phones in Philly and got on our next flight to Rome. Once in Rome the fun began.....we had a tight connection and of course with my persuasion and insistence, I was able to hold up our connecting flight from Rome to Florence. We made the connection but some of our bags decided to start the Italy adventure early and stayed in Rome. We knew something was wrong when we went to check if our bags were ok and they could not locate the bags. Well when we landed in Florence and wine to baggage claim, some of retrieved our bags....and some did not.
We filled out the paperwork and met our private transport to our Hotel the marvelous Hotel Brunelleschi in Florence. I love this hotel and discovered it I believe in 2002 and have been coming ever since. The hotel underwent a major renovation a few years ago and what they have done is truly spectacular. Including some roof top suites that have insane views of the city and Duomo. The staff has been that same for years and so it has a very friendly vibe and feels like home for me when I come. The service and rooms are impeccable and you cannot find a more central location the in the heart of Florence.
We have been traveling for some 24 hours and so we are ll exhausted. We arrived around 2pm now on Thursday after leaving Phoenix at 9am on Wednesday. So we are all spent, but despite all of this and the baggage drama your adrenaline kicks in and you want to go explore. For those with no bags it was a chance to go shopping as tonight we had our big dinner set at the Villa Ste Michele high in the hills above Florence. So you are spent but need rally for this spectacular evening. I grabbed a quick power nap and recharged the phones, caught up on a few emails and got ready for the evening.
So even with the power nap you are in kind of a dreamlike mindset and what better way to further enhance that dreamlike experience than to take the trip up the hills above Florence to the Villa Ste Michele for cocktails and dinner. We start by meeting at the Hotel Brunelleschi piazza bar for a welcome toast and then its up the hill. The Villa Ste Michele is magical and one of the premiere destinations and dining experiences in Europe if not the world. it is a great way to start our journey and sets the bar high. I have been coming here since 2004 and absolutely love the experience from the ambiance, view and cuisine. I have had the same waiter, Antenello, every trip. He is the best. This is a preset dinner we have arranged. Over the years we have fine tuned the menu and wine pairings all captured in a custom menu printed for our guests. The attention to detail is impeccable. From the truffle ravioli to the sliced beef with Brunello wine sauce, add the view and you have the makings of a fabulous and most memorable evening and start to our journey.