We have really arrived

UMBRIA, Italy— We are here in Bella Umbria. Easiest trip. The Maine to Umbria connection often runs 20 hours door-to-door. Certainly it does by the time you factor in arriving early for international flights, trains, buses to the airport, rent-a-cars and all. But this time we cut it really thin, thin, thin in Paris and made the whole trip in 18 hours. In spite of an adamant Air France ticket taker going, “non, non, non”. We were looking at (and I will admit pointing at) the bus getting ready to take our planeload of fellow passengers to the plane and we kept saying, “yes, yes, yes, please, please, please.” I think eventually, having no checked baggage convinced him letting me on the plane was a good call. Whew.

I always like an aisle seat and I have that on file with our travel agent. But for the short hour and a half early early a.m. hop from say Paris to Florence I am thinking of changing the request to window seat forward of the wing. Sunrise over the Alps in winter when you find yourself sort of dopey from being up all night is a rather out-of-body experience. One minute you are in a foggy little sleep coma, and the next, you suddenly wake to dramatic blue gray mountains of granite pressed right up against the windows, long dark shadows on snow whites and the pink rays of dawn poking between the peaks and spilling out over sky and snow.

Arrived to the town bells ringing twelve noon and to a warm and toasty home. That is a welcome in and of itself. Our friend Anna has the house spotless and has turned the heat on for us a day or two in advance. Her cousin-in-law is our good friend Bruno and he was one of the first people we saw. And snapped. I have been in town for one quick loop to the cafe to wave hi and try to convince my mouth/brain to remember how to form Italian-like words in my sleep deprivation state. Got updated on many business, health and gossip fronts already. And have already been invited to dinner tonight. Must have said something right