Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Getting ready for Christmas, Florence, Italy

Ahhh, Italia….I must admit that we had many images of our move to Europe and one of the top ones is of living like the Italians. There is something distinct about Italy that is unmatched by any other European country we have seen. Some call it romantic, others call it “la dolce vita”, but whatever you want to call it, it is something very special. Getting here was another story, however. We had booked a villa in the Tuscan countryside outside of Cortona through our vacation club, only to find out that our club had fallen victim to the economic meltdown and was suddenly on the verge of bankruptcy. To help dig themselves out, they decided to abandon their Tuscany property. It’s one thing to passively observe our investment portfolio decline and hear periodic bad news from the States, but it is entirely different when you are slapped in the face from abroad. Our plane tickets were already booked, and Suzanne’s mom as well as her best friend, Kim Michelson were on their way out so we had to quickly scramble and figure out another plan. After a lengthy search on the internet, we found a large apartment in the heart of Florence. Housing 7 people in a city is not easy - as most European living quarters tend to be small - but apartment living by far beats any hotel options. Our place was located on one of the finest shopping streets in Florence, Vigna Nuova – home to Guicci, Prada, Versace, Gianfranco Ferre, Dolce&Gabbana etc.. Virtually every big name designer was within mere minutes walking distance. While Suzanne was absolutely thrilled, I on the other hand was mortified. The thought of us walking by these shops every day was more frightening to me than just about anything!

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