Saturday, September 13, 2008

Planes and Train and a Train Strike

I've arrived in Italy safe and sound with very little sleep but with less confusion that I thought. I'll try to post as often as possible and maybe even post a picture or two...stolen from the internet right now...until I can figure out how to pull pictures from online and post them on the computer at the hotel or else download what Ive taken.
The last time I was in Italy, Florence, there was a strike and nothing was open. Yesterday, the trains in Italy went on strike leaving millions of people stranded and much of our workshop group scrambling to get to Cortona. I beat the strike by about 2 hours and arrived with out any hassle.
My biggest concern was negotiating the trains and the phone (and this computer with the Italilan keyboard) In Italy, phones do not use coins so you have to buy a carte telephonica, tear off the perforation and stick it in the phone the right way (8 possibilities), stick it in far enough to activate the phone, dial and push OK. Great as long as you do it right, a bit of a problem when you don't and the operator tells you what the problem is in Italian.
My big adventure last night, after getting a ride up the very steep hill, was a trip into Cortona proper. Beautiful as it is in pictures. Did a little grocery shopping, pizza and gelato eating and then headed home. Well, at least made the attempt to head home. It was thundering, it was lightening, it was raining,, I had what I thought were great directions for getting back but somewhere I got lost. So I retraced my steps to my first turn and went another way, another fork in the road and I thankfully made the right choice. I imagined tomorrows headlines American Tourist Hit By Lightening, Struck Dead in Cortona. A little overdramatic I suppose but in my mind it was a real possibility. So I'm headed up the hill today, a daunting task but every step up I will be repeating think how many calories you are burning. That of course if BIG with all the incredible food in Italy not to mention, amazingly enough, the amount of food I was served in transit.
Till tomorrow


Nora said...

I'm glad you made it! Sounds like you are doing great so far! I envy your pizza and gelato eating. I ate good thin crust Italian pizza last night with Anne at a little place in DC. She bought me a llamas for Obama tshirt :) Keep us all posted and have fun.

kris said...

Hello! Arrived here from Jeanie's blog - saw your entry.
Every year I dream of taking a workshop in Italy. So nice to see someone who made the trip a reality. Is this your first year?

Katie said...

Yay!!! I'm so jealous right now... Miss you bunches and cannot wait to hear more!!! Love ya lots!

Hey there Nora, in DC?? With Anne?? Give her a big hug for me!!

Jane said...

Kris, So nice to hear from you, Not my first trip but the first in 30 some years. When I was a student I took the proverbially semester off to travel and I went on the most amazing trip of my life through Semester at Sea, which is still running. We traveled by boat, took classes while on board cruising and stopped at ports from England, through the Mediterranean, two cities in Africa and around South America. Just amazing and still vividly burned into my consciousness.

Jeanie said...

Ha! Glad you made it, too! Everything sounds wonderful. Kate told me about the train strike. Not so lucky. But still, that's an amazing experience. I am SO living vicariously through your posts!