Morning train through the Tuscan countryside. Fields of sunflowers are left to fallow, their seeds hardening. Dotting the dry, rolling hills are churches and towers, perched on top of a hill, surrounded by lesser, common dwellings.
We walk south looking for the agencia to buy train tickets to Firenze tomorrow, but can’t find it before reaching Roma Trastevere. This is not the place we’re looking for, but of course it turns out to be. We buy tickets to Termini for a couple euro and take the train to Rome’s central transportation hub. Bathroom visits are one euro and worth every cent. Tickets to Firenze on Domenica are nearly sold out – we agree that we need to buy tickets to our next destination each time we arrive in a station.
My eyes open at 5:30am; I’m wide awake. My body’s internal clock is uncalibrated but at least its working to my advantage. I rise at 6:15 and head to the lobby of Calisto6 with my laptop. I blow through nearly all of the 170 new emails, and I type up Day 1 of our trip from my notes the night before. It’s now 7:30.
Massimo wore a plaid shirt and a red knit tie. He held my name on a placard, greeting us within a few minutes of our exit from Fiumincino, the international airport 25 minutes outside of Roma. The lobby was hot with money changers, taxi booths, hopeful family members and patient nuns. The tour groups coalesced as ever-expanding molecules, a mass of white sneakers, fanny packs and otherwise midwestern fashion sensibility.
We’re traveling to Europe in September to celebrate our 40th birthdays. Italy, France, Spain, UK. Right now everything is tentative and I’m in full-blown learning mode. It’s daunting planning for a big trip!