In case you missed my bombardment of Instagram last week, Dave and I are back from Italy. That’s so fun to say. “Hmm? Oh, yes. Sorry I missed your email, I was in Italy.”
It doesn’t even feel real now that I’m home, adjusting again into normal routines. I keep looking through my photos to remind myself I was really there. That’s the trouble with something so long anticipated, it goes way (way, way) too quickly.
Ohmygosh. The trip did not start out smoothly. I won’t tell you the whole long story in case you followed the drama on Instagram last week. The basic gist: my passport expired at the end of May (a full six weeks after we returned from our trip) so I didn’t even consider the fact that this would cause a problem. I was wrong. Apparently, passport expiration dates are baloney. For no good reason (truthfully, there may be a good reason but it all seems like nonsense to me), each country can set expiration guidelines differently. Apparently, Italy requires a full 90 days before your passport expires in order to be allowed in the country. This little detail almost derailed my entire trip. The lady checking us in the morning of our departure was incredibly unsympathetic when she looked up from her computer and said, “there is a problem. You can’t go to Italy.” Well. That did not go over well with me. Long, long story short: I flew to Atlanta to attempt the fastest-passport-renewal-in-the-history-of-time in order to catch our evening flight to Rome. We had a long layover so there was the teensiest window of possibility that this could happen. Our outbound flight was delayed several hours causing this to be impossible. We landed two and a half hours after the passport office closed. BUT. Vivian at the passport office and I had been in touch throughout the day and she WAITED FOR ME. I literally ran through the airport, took the airport tram, then raced through the MARTA station and arrived downtown where I quickly found a CVS to take new passport photos and arrived at a very much closed passport office. Vivian met me there and let me in. Holy smokes. I still can’t believe this all happened. My new passport was issued quickly and I raced back to the airport to meet Dave (who had stayed behind to reroute our flights). We made it out that night on a different flight through Paris and eventually made it to our first destination only six hours after the rest of our friends (who flew out as scheduled).
And, if I do say so myself, that first destination was not too shabby. We stayed in the cutest little spot in Vernazza – one of the five picturesque towns that make up the Cinque Terre.
It literally felt like I was inside of a postcard. The entire place was perfection – right down to the little old Italian ladies shouting to one another from their windows above the piazza.
Dave and I had visited Cinque Terre a lifetime ago (okay, it was actually in 2007) and we were finally back on the day of our 11th wedding anniversary. It was a pretty spectacular way to celebrate.
Is this place FOR REAL? This was our first stop on our hike between the towns. We barely made it out of Vernazza when we had to stop to sit in this restaurant built into a cliff that served the coldest white wine and hands-down most delicious mojitos (who knew?) on planet earth. And the view. I mean, this is a REAL PLACE. People go to work every day HERE. I can’t get over it. I just can’t.
So, Dave and I were nine years younger the first time we hiked the cliffside trails linking the five towns of the area. It took all day but was an amazing experience that we told our friends all about. Everyone was excited for the day of hiking and exploring all of the towns.
We tried. We really tried. The thing is, nine years and four kids makes you TIRED.
We only made it to one town.
But, we ate and drank really well. And, that one town was gorgeous. All in all, it was a really good day.
I have so much more to share about the rest of our trip … I’ll do so throughout the week. For now, it’s off to the grocery store. And then, laundry. Back to real life.
* Where we stayed in Vernazza: Camere Giuliano (I highly recommend this b&b!).