Travel day. Picked up at 7:15 am Everything went smoothly checking in. Wheelchair was ready, all our paperwork was in order, and we got to the VIP lounge an hour before boarding. Sometimes there are mobs of people and it is a zoo with long waits to get through security but we were lucky.
So far, flight to Zurich on time. How they get me on the plane with a full leg brace and crutches I have no idea, but they built the Duomo before electricity and no one seems concerned except me.
Gianni was able to retrieve my xrays from the hospital in Florence for me to take to the orthopedic surgeon I need to see in Florida next week.
We are now on the plane in Zurich. They trip went unbelievably smoothly. Everyone was terrific. I never had to walk more five steps to get on the plane in Florence. Everybody was exceedingly kind both in Florence and Zurich, and I imagine many airports are really set up to help incapacitated travelers. There are automatic lifts that transport passengers in wheelchairs. Everything worked like clockwork.
We are very fortunate we could access these services. Before this trip, I had no idea at all about what could be done to help passengers. I also confirmed that there is no way I could have made this trip earlier.
Trump continues to take his lickings in the courts. Couldn’t happen to a worst guy.
The more we learn about the school massacre in Texas, the worse it gets.
Sure love that Nadal beat Djokovic at the French.
During our travels, we met more than a few families who, when they learned we had a home in Italy, had lots and lots of questions because they were giving serious consideration to moving out of the United States. I did not do any kind of poll, but my sense was most of these people did not want to give up their U.S. citizenship, but were very unhappy with the loss of personal freedoms, the fact that our elected politicians are ignoring the feelings of their constituents, and the fact that the cost of health care is out of control.
I have no. Idea how or even if these feelings will translate to what happens at election time. The Italians are not gloating. It is not their nature. Nonetheless, it is clear that their country is on the upswing and ours is not.
The American tourist is another story. They come to Florence and see one big happy party. The restaurants and bars are allowed to set up tables outdoors and for $5 to $10, people can enjoy at least one, maybe two, real drinks and enough free food that dinner is often unnecessary. The lines at the good gelaterias are often pretty long, but everyone is patient and waits their turn.
The people, even those struggling financially, are pleasant, kind and happy. They go out of their way to be nice. It is rare to hear any driver honk their horn.
It takes some longer than others, but it is not rare if, after a few days in Italy, the vast majority conclude, “Hey, I like this kind of life." It is not just that they are on vacation. Not doing housework, eating out and staying at hotels is, generally, more fun. However, it is much more than that and it cannot be explained. It has to be experienced.
Some periods of the year are better than others. If I had to pick the best times, I would pick October, March, and April. Of course, there are places South of Florence that are seasonal, where May and June are better.
It does not have to cost a fortune to try it out. Train travel is inexpensive and terrific. You have to trip over yourself not to have great food and drink and, if you stay away from the tourist traps, you can eat for a small fraction of what it costs in the States. Once out of the big cities, the restaurants depend almost exclusively on local trade. Either deliver a really excellent meal at a fair price or you are gone. Just like the majority of Italians know every note of a Verdi or Puccini opera, they know their sauces and wines, sausages, meats and pastas of all kinds and it is impossible to get away with putting out junk.
Here is my best advice; it is your choice whether to take it or not. Do some traveling out of the United States. See if any other places appeal to you for whatever reasons. If you have young children, try to get them to learn another language or two other than English. At a young age, it is easy for them to learn.
Keep your options open, particularly if you are not white Christian, gay, transgender or involved in a interracial relationship. If you're afraid your children or you are unsafe because some wacko could open fire, or if the idea of free medical care appeals to you, it is a good investment in time and money to be prepared.
I have no crystal ball. I cannot tell you what the future will be. Barbara and I are already playing the 18th hole so my advice is not for us. It is for you young people with, hopefully, most of your lives ahead of you that I suggest you consider alternatives.
I am writing this on the plane during a nine hour plus flight. So far, we are doing great and have renewed our vows to make every day count. That is my best advice; it is up to you if you choose to take it.
Tomorrow’s post will report on anything more of note from our travels and maybe some current events. We have not looked at a television since the middle of March and I am not sure we will in the near future.
Thank you for all your good wishes.