PANICALE, Umbria– . . . It’s a bird . . . it’s a plane . . . huh. It IS a plane. Hi, hi, it’s Stew and Midge – winging our way by Ryanair, from Stanstead outside London to Ciampino in Rome. So, how WAS Ryanair you ask? Well, gosh, everyone just put the total fear in us of Ryanair. Said it would be gritty and more bare bones than we could possibly imagine. We prepared for the el-cheapo worst. But, it was fine. Can I say this? Will anyone believe me if I say our Ryanair flight was much better than the AA flight we took across the pond. Those AA seats were of finest Corinthian Masonite mixed with construction rubble. Our Ryanair flight on the other hand had comfy leather seats, was clean, clean and clean. Ciampino and Stanstead were both fine. Seemed new and with every service I would expect. And for us, Ciampino was fast. Much calmer than the regular Rome airport. Starting from Ciampino clipped an hour off any drive we have ever taken from Fiumincino. Fiumicino is clear out of town over on the Mediterranean for crying out loud. Ciampino is on the East and just way easier to get to A1 from there. Two hours from Ciampino to Panicale vs at least three hours on any other flight landing at Fiumicino. Maybe just luck. No idea as we have only taken that flight this one time. More news as it becomes available.
We kept following the A1 signs north (Firenze/Napoli) and at a certain point it looked like we could keep following the big green signs north that said Firenze but we also could see an A1 sign to Firenze and we took that. It ended up saying Napoli/Orvieto and was three faultless lanes wide and no trucks to speak of until we got to Orvieto. It may be that we took A1 sooner rather than continue on the “annulare” around Rome. They run rather parallel. Around Orevieto we recognized where we were and started getting regular truck traffic. Regardless, at that point we were the horse sensing his dinner back at the barn and we were galloping down the road. Andrea, (Masolino’s restaurant next to our house) put the kettle on, we’re on our way. Let the festivities and the double kisses around town begin. We’re almost home. We will know we really have arrived when we have settled in and are having lunch in the garden with Kiki. And that is just what we did the first day as you can see. Look how tall the rosemary has grown since we’ve been gone. Do you think it missed us? We can hope.
Can’t tell you what a rush it was to see the New York Times article about Panicale taped to the door of Aldo’s Cafe here. Felt like a part of us had arrived before we did. So negligent in writing. Pouting about needing new experiences on the ground? Maybe that was it, also we were moving and having a graduation for our youngest daughter. When did life get so crazy busy? Our family motto requires it: Having Fun as Fast as We Can. Words to live by. Up to a point!
Ok, I love it when we can really say:
See you in Italy!