Friday, 23 May 2008
If you’re reading this, you will know what this blog is about – we’re off to Tuscany for 7 months to enjoy some time together as a family…and maybe eat a pizza or two! This has been a dream for a number of years and we both can’t quite believe we’ve managed to make it happen. Thank you to everyone for all your kind thoughts and your voices of support and love. We’re going to miss all those we won’t be seeing for a while.
We said a very teary farewell to my family last Saturday evening, to start a horrendous 36 hour journey to Vienna. Our Air NZ leg to Shanghai was unbelievably turbulent – the seatbelt sign was on 10 hours out of the 12. Then we were informed that our luggage had not been checked through to Vienna – instead we had to collect it, clear Chinese customs (an experience in itself) and recheck our baggage in with Air France. We hit the Air France counter tired and grumpy with an extremely hyper 2 year old to be told we had to pay EUR80 extra for our bikes. They were unsympathetic to the fact that we had phoned Air France in NZ to check on this and unsympathetic to the fact that our luggage should have been booked through to Vienna. After a few (okay, many!) tense words we capitulated…there goes a week’s worth of Chianti!
Our next leg on Air France was also extremely turbulent and of course, they forgot the kid’s meals. But good on the French – unlike Air NZ where the drinks trolley arrives once, 10 minutes after the food trolley, Air France produced the drinks trolley first, then again straight after the food, then again 10 minutes late and then again after coffee! This certainly helped us forgive them the EUR80! And reinforced why we’re spending the next 7 months in Europe!
To finally top off the worst 36 hours of travel we’ve ever had, we arrived in Vienna, but none of our luggage did. Ralph picked it up on Monday afternoon…minus the bikes!!! What was the EUR80 for? Maybe it was all a ruse and in fact they had been warned about how much wine I would drink on the flight! Apparently the bikes have now been found (4 days later) - whiling away some time in Paris. We’ve yet to see them but hopefully will tomorrow.
Vienna has been a balmy 8 - 10 degrees and raining since we’ve arrived. Frigging freezing! We are staying about 20 minutes west of Vienna in Ralph’s parent’s summer house. It is a gorgeous wooden log house on 2000sqm of beautiful lawn and trees. Unfortunately we have not been able to enjoy it much due to the weather. Tomorrow, the local volunteer fire brigade is hosting a 4 day festival to raise money so we’re hoping the weather will change to enable us to walk down to the village and enjoy a spritzer or two and some rotisserie chicken or stelzerl (roast pork knuckle apparently!). It should be fun. We’d better not eat too much as Ralph’s dad is cooking Weiner Schnitzel for lunch!
We think we’ve found our car for our Italy trip. We’ve decided to spend a bit more than originally planned and we will then sell it again in December which should mean we remain in budget. We leave Vienna on 02 June for the 8 hour drive to Italy. At least we’re not flying!!
Will write more soon.