Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Best Laid Plans

It's five days since arriving in Tuscany.  Everyone has their horror stories about travel, and I guess I'm no different.  From the airline giving away my seat on their connecting flight still at the gate and still boarding, to lost luggage (and no clothes for two days) and missed trains which resulted in missed buses which resulted being stranded, in the dark, late at night, with no one to talk to to ask a question.  Sounds pretty routine but very distressing when you've just flown for 15 hours.  The long and the short of it is that we made it, and I am grateful for my two travel companions Sharon and Jackie who kept me from jumping off the edge of a cliff.  I am also grateful that I decided to take my iPhone and was able to call the man who was to pick us up and talk him into driving to Lucca to get us.  He speaks no English, and insists in speaking in rapid Italian at me to the point I had to ask him to wait (aspetta), to please slow down (and I used an incorrect adjective) and speak simple Italian to me.  Didn't work.

My daughter had said to me before I left, "you know Mom, you're NOT going to just land in Italy and start talking Italian you know.  It's been a long time."  Well, wrong Alyssa, I DID have to begin speaking Italian immediately upon arrival and according to the people in the village it's not that bad.  I am critically aware that i choose the wrong noun here and there, and I am certain I am using the incorrect conjugations, but it's amazing how much you can say prefaced by "do you know" or "I would like" or "I need".  Today I had a full on conversation at the grocery store with the girl behind the counter, had a full on conversation with the butcher and then the woman in line with me.  She insisted (in Italian of course) that Italian is simple to learn, just start slowly, listen, read, then speak.  I wish it were that easy.

The village is very small and easy to navigate.  One hour here and you've seen the sights.  The people are very nice and it is very quiet  and sleepy. 

I began my cookie experiment day two, and was surprised to watch the expressions on people's faces.  Except for two grumpy old men, everyone registered surprise, took a bite and said thank you!  Today, the butcher thanked me for the biscotti (generic term for cookie) and for the card.  He said that the town all knew about me (us) now and would "always remember".  How cool is that.

Internet is unpredictable here, and I only got it yesterday by travelling to Lucca to buy an Internet stick.  Never mind that they forgot to activate it - they eventually figured it out and called to tell me.  All is well.

Tomorrow is a festival here.  Not sure what that means but it is to celebrate the chestnut, for which this region is famous.  I understand there will be food, drink and all that.  Then Tuesday there will be a procession through town with people dressed in Medieval costumes.  I will take pictures and post them, once I figure out how to do this on the tiny PC I brought.  I'm also grateful I brought this little notebook computer since my Internet stick does not seem to work on the MAC.

Life is good.  As soon as I figure out a few things I will  post some pictures.  Wait till you see how beautiful it is, albeit tiny.

23 comments:

  1. and the definition of "adventure" ... is ... ??

    you are living a dream go for it ...


    XO

    Curtis

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    1. Thank you Curtis. It's 1:15 AM here and it seems I have internet - for the moment. The festival was delayed due to rain. Perhaps Wednesday I will have pictures.

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  2. Marilyn, I feel like I'm right there with you! I really enjoy your writing. Looking forward to all your blogs to come.

    Debbie Ireland

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    1. Debbie! Nice to hear from you and thank you. We are being challenged but someday I will laugh. It is cold and rainy, we are out of wood, in a house hundreds of years old that has no heat. BUT - tomorrow we travel to Pisa airport to pick up a rental car and if I have to strap it to the roof we will return with wood! Say hello to all at SNCS. Marilyn

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  3. You write so well I feel as if I am there.

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    1. Judy! Always so free with your compliments, thank you. Today I will go to the next town and try wi-fi and see if I can upload some pictures. Ciao for now.

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  4. Sorry to hear of your travel issues, but it sounds as though you were able to make it through and not crumble to the sidewalk, so good job! I would have been terrified! Sounds like a lovely village and lovely people. Anxious to read more! Karen in Loyalton

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    1. Thank you Karen, I have to say it was one of the most challenging trips I've taken in a long time. it is still challenging but more fun now. I have three months here so I'm sure I will find my way and get more comfortable.

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  5. Love your posts! Look forward to reading them.

    Trell

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    1. I will see you soon Trella. By the time you arrive the weather will be warm and the house will be as comfortable as I can make it with what I have to work with. XXOO Marilyn

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  6. I was looking on google at how close we are to Lucca 25 miles and 46 to Florence and only 1 1/2 hr by train to Rome. It looks like there will be so much we will be able to see and do! Can't wait. How long will your current guest be there? When does Alyssia arrive? Trell

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    1. I don't know who this is who posted this, but yes, everything is pretty close, the challenge is that there are so sew buses out of Correglia and only one last bus back at 6:30 from Lucca. A car is so convenient, but expensive and challenging in the small town roads. For example, it cost me $1,000.00 US to rent a car for one month. Gas is the equivalent of $12 per gallon. So remember that when you complain about $4.00 in the US. Alyssa arrives late June. Tell me who you are!!!

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    2. OK - hi Trella. Yes, It is easy to get to Pisa and Lucca by bus or car. I took my current guests by car to Pisa, Lucca, Cinque Terra, Viarregio and neighboring towns, Barga and others. The trick is the early bus and the bus back. The last bus back to Correglia leaves Lucca at 6:30 PM.

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  7. This is Trell. I signed my name at the end of the sentence.

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  8. Hello World Traveler and Entrepreneur,

    This has been my first opportunity to catch up with how your voyage has gone so far. You are truly a pioneer and an amazing adventurer. Your Karma and the Karma of your friends and family will safely guide you through the difficult times. Good things happen to good people, and we all know and love you for your goodness, acts of kindness and heart of gold.

    Glad that you are accompanied by close friends and will soon see the glowing smile of your daughter.

    Have a relaxing Mother's Day, be well and be safe.

    Peace.

    Ub

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    1. Thank you UB. It's sure been a trip! I am alone for the first time. Today I will travel to Fornaci di Bagni in search of wi-fi in hopes of finding internet fast enough to upload pictures!. Bye for now Ragazzo!

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  9. Hey GF

    More photos when you can ....

    Curtis

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  10. Photos? There are photos? I must not be using this site right. Marilyn, have you posted anything new since your first post? I think I might be missing something. I'm new at this, so I might not be using the blog correctly and I don't want to miss out on this great blog.

    Debbie

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    1. Debbie, there are very few photos here (for now) because the internet is too slow to upload before getting kicked off. But I am going to go to the next town and look for wifi and see if I can update the blog and post pictures. There are a few on Facebook if you want to check. Marilyn

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  11. Hi Marilyn!

    I am loving the blog! You deserve this amazing adventure. I admire you so very much for so many reasons. Have a happy mothers day and I can't wait to read more :)

    Jessalyne

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  12. Thank you Jessalyne, it has been an experience for sure. today is my first day by myself. Yesterday I did the laundry (the machine holds a maximum of three towels) hung it outside to dry as there are no dryers in Italy (except for the people with money I suppose) but things dry very quickly. Today I am determined to travel to Fornaci di Bagni to find a wi-fi spot since the internet is so slow here I can rarely get signal, let alone upload pictures. A few are on Facebook. Thanks to everyone for the supportive comments. I'll post soon with pictures.

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  13. Alyssa BrandfassMay 12, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    Your daughter sounds like a real sass mouth!

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    1. My daughter is an angel. I wish she were here with me.

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