Lindsey and I have been using an app on our phone that in theory is supposed to get us more acclimated to the Italian time zone. Fortunately, we have also been working many early mornings to get ready for such a long trip away. This app tells you when you should sleep and wake as expected, but also when to get out into the sunlight and when to have any caffeine. We have tried to be really responsible with sticking to the app, while at the same time not taking away our time with the kiddo.

On the day of our departure we both got up really early in the morning (2am for Lindsey and 4am for me). We said our goodbyes to Jennifer before she heads off to school and then eventually make our way to the airport. Our plane fortunately it just about half full, and once we got into the air everyone started scurrying around like rats trying to find the best place to sit amongst all the empty seats (seriously, there were 9 full rows of four seats empty). Our plan, well our app’s plan, was to eat the provided dinner and then sleep until we land. Dinner was normal airplane fare and within no time we were bedding down for at least 6 hours of sleep….or not! No matter how hard I tried, I just was not able to get comfortable enough to fall asleep, and that is with a window seat. I would guess I got around two hours of restless sleep. Lindsey got around the same, and we were both worried that our first few days in Italy we would be zombies!

We zipped through the Amsterdam customs in no time at all and got into our connecting flight to Florence. I don’t know if it was the lack of sleep (remember we had been up since early morning still), but the little KLM Cityhopper plane was one of the most comfortable planes I have been in. We both, against our best efforts, fell right asleep only to wake up with a message from the captain telling us that there was some wind issues in Florence and it was possible that they may not be able to land. They made a few passes and then one attempt to land only to have to quick pull back up. I looked over to Lindsey and say, “They are going to make us land at Pisa…”, just seconds before they get on the announcements to say the same thing. To me, as the planner of the trip, this was just going to throw everything off. Not only are we going to land at the wrong airport, we are also both deliriously tired and are in no shape to make any major decisions.

We land at Pisa, another tiny airport, and while we are working on getting our luggage they announce that they will have busses arriving shortly to drive us to Florence! It was a 10 minute wait for the buses to arrive and once they showed up everyone rushed to get to the bus as if they would get there faster. Little did they know that there were two busses and once the first bus was filled up they would use the second bus. Lindsey and I were in the back of the line so we ended up getting into the second but with about 10 other people. The best part was that the seats layed back almost fully horizontally, and with no one sitting behind us, it was not looking good for trying to stay awake. Sure enough, 2 minutes into the ride I am in a coma, with Lindsey not lasting much longer. It took an hour and a half for the trip, and I was able to wake up shortly before we arrived at the Florence airport. Our plan was to spend one night in Florence so that we could get some rest before driving out to the Tuscan countryside. However, by the time that we got to our hotel, we were pretty well rested and ready to go out on the town.

There are some items on this trip that were planned a while ago when we first decided that we were going, flying and this hotel were the first two items. I had totallly forgotten what we booked and for some reason I thought it was just some random choice that had the earliest check-in policy. In reality we booked (or at least was given) a full suite! This bad boy was huge and had a massive four poster bed with a large fresco with inlayed gold trim painted on the ceiling. It was far too opulent for these two Texan’s and may have set a poor standard for the rest of our trip.

We decide to have a bit of a walk around Florence, again, we are really bad at planning. We basically walked out the door and headed down the street, with no idea what it leads to. We end up stopping at this little cute bar for an apertivo (it is like an early dinner snack). Hands down one of the best little charcuterie board I have had! In addition to the food we both had an aperol spritz. It was a little heavy on the aperol side, but by the end it mellowed out and was just what we needed. We ended up making our way to the Duomo, which was massive and amazing. We have tickets for it later in the trip, but I wanted to see what we had in store for ourselves. We ended up walking further away and managed to get to a massive church just as it was closing. As we were leaving I was thinking to myself that I would have to show my parents the pictures and they would tell me the name of the church, for us, it will remain a mystery church that was very neat to see.

We finished up the evening at a random restaurant where I was able to get some amazing grilled duck with celery jam and Lindsey got a really amazing pasta dish that I forget the name of. It had pecorino cheese in it, which is the main cheese for the region that we will be spending much of our time in. We closed out the day with happy hearts and big smiles that our newest adventure was able to begin as planned, although slightly altered.

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