Monday, July 12, 2010

July 12 - Santa Cristina

We made it! We've arrived in Italy! Let's recap how we got here...

After Ashley's wedding reception ended, we headed back to my parents' house to finish packing and change out of our wedding attire. I took a quick shower and we headed out. It was almost 11 PM by the time we left Hollidaysburg. After a very long drive, we got to Newark's Fairfield Inn by the airport. We literally spent 30 minutes driving back and forth on the highway trying to get to the hotel. The instructions on google maps said things like "take the exit" (there were several exits within tenths of a mile of each other) and "continue straight" (not an option) and other things that didn't make it easy. Plus, it was after 3 AM! We finally broke down and called the hotel when we thought we finally were on track (according to Google maps) and ended up in the far side of the airport near the storage and warehouse area (?!?!??). We could see the hotel across the runway strips and were so frustrated! The guy at the hotel was great and stayed on the phone directing us step-by-step to get there. After an easy check in, we both crashed for the night. The next morning we grabbed some breakfast at the hotel and lounged/slept until it was time to head over to the airport. Luckily, the shuttle service was quick and easy. Check-in/security was rather quick as well (thanks to Elite Access) and we met up with Peter's parents in the Presidential Lounge.

This is actually the only picture I took at the airport. I'll chalk it up to still being super tired! At least it was a good one! :)

After one last American burger at Ruby's Diner, we were off to Italy! I was worried that the flight would go on forever and that I'd be restless the entire time, but it wasn't that bad. I would've liked being able to get some sleep, though. Thanks to a loud guy in front of us and not being able to really sleep, we didn't get more than a scattered hour of sleep each. Thank goodness for movies to pass the time!

It was hot when we landed in Italy and made our way through the Rome Fiumicino Airport. Some parts were outside and some were inside. Additionally, some of the inside areas weren't air conditioned. It was just totally different than what I was used to in the U.S. After a bit of a hassle with the rental car, we were finally on our way to the villa!

Peter did a FANTASTIC job driving through the craziness of morning airport rush hour traffic. I thought Pittsburgh drivers were bad! There were cars literally all over the road. I am shocked that there weren't accidents everywhere!

Upon arriving at Santa Cristina, we were greeted by Mima, Aunt Grace, and Uncle Michael. Mima was so happy to see us in Italy that she started crying right away! Aunt Grace gave us a tour of the villa and we all settled into our rooms for a bit. Peter and I stayed in the cottage.

We then all gathered for our first meal in Italy! Mima made some red sauce and we had a plethora of delicious food. My favorite thing at lunch were the fresh figs. I had never had them before, and they were delicious!

After lunch we hung around and I took a nice, much needed nap. We spent the rest of the day just relaxing which I was glad for. Peter went on a walk with his parents and Uncle Michael to see the vineyard, but I opted for a nap instead. With all of the wedding stuff this past weekend, I really just needed some downtime. I did walk around the villa and take a few pictures.

I loved the huge, open kitchen.

A lemon tree. The lifestyle here is so different and I love it. Nothing like going outside and picking lemons or figs right from the trees!

Peter snapped this picture on his walk. It's the manmade lake. Water is like gold here. They often have to truck it in between April and October when they get very little, if any, rain. At around $80 per truckload, that gets expensive!

This is another picture that Peter took during his walk. Such a beautiful view of the vineyard!

The landscaping around the villa is beautiful. This is an old olive tree.

After some time in the pool, Peter and I went with Uncle Michael to pick some figs from the fig trees in their yard. It's so neat and fun to be able to pick fresh fruit right in your own yard.

I could hardly wait to get back and cut them up and eat them. Yum!

This is where we'll be calling "home" for the next week. :)

We had a great first day and are excited to be here in Italy on vacation with family. Peter and I aren't as well rested as everyone else so we need to try to get caught up on some sleep sooner than later! So goodnight!

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