Day 2 (Fri, May 4): Arrival at Hotel Reale in Montecatini Terme

(continued from previous day. Since I hadn't slept, one day just belended into the next)

We landed Frankfurt the "next morning" at 7:10. We descended a staircase from the plane and boarded a bus which took us to the terminal. Frankfurt was a zoo, but we somehow managed to not get lost, in spite of dire predictions back in Seattle. Actually, a guy at the information desk just as we entered was a big help. The walk to our gate was long and exhausting. When we got there, there was nobody around, metal ceilings, three hours of just sitting. We got in line for passport inspection and stood there for quite a while before we learned that the "non-EU nationals" gate was elsewhere. Grrr. Screening went well, except for an unexplained object in each of our suitcases which turned up the in x-ray - which turned out to be their retractable handles.

The Lufthansa flight to Florence was on a much smaller plane, departing at 10:50, landing at a very small airport at 12:20. We were toward the very back, row 18 (just inside the back door). A very bumpy, noisy ride but no incidents and the flight attendant was pretty and nice. They served us a decent little sandwich and cookies. Still no sleep (normal for me on planes or any other moving vehicle). We got our checked bags and went through customs, including a very earnest drug-sniffing dog inspection. It was raining lightly when we arrived. We were met by one of our tour coordinators, Christine, who took us to our Lazzi Autobus bus. Only one other couple rode with us to the Hotel Reale in Montecatini Terme. The pictures below the maps are all from the hotel's online webpages (though the dining room has been altered somewhat since these were taken).

Montecatini Terme: 26.7 miles, 30 min

Views of the Hotel Reale - Montecatini Terme - 51016 - Via Palestro, 7     (H-7 on map on next page) - phone: +39 0572 78073







the bar

dining room



When we got to the hotel we were told to go right in and join the other guests for lunch, but we were both so tired we didn't want to meet anybody just yet. Or eat for that matter. Instead we went to our room, #216 - duecento sedici - and napped (tossed and turned) for about an hour. When that didn't work, we tried and failed to unravel the mystery of the shower. It was impossibly tiny by our standards. Every time you turned you bumped into something. There was a monstrous plastic thing on the wall which held the portable shower head and six weird side nozzles intended to get your body, which I couldn't figure out how to turn off. I was scalded. There was a door, for all the good it did (the floor wound up soaked anyway). Strangely, it pivoted about three inches from the left edge. Karen finally figured out how to get the water to all come out the shower head rather than those side nozzles (there was an icon which I hadn't seen), but the water remained scalding throughout our stay (in spite of a nob which pretended to allow you to set the temperature. In addition to Poseidon's Iron Maiden, the small bathroom contained a sink, a bidet and toilet and the only accessible place to plug in my electric converter. Though bath towels were supplied, washrags were not (we always bring some along when we travel).

During the pre-dinner reception at 7 o'clock we met Mr. and Mrs. Michael Campo (can't remember her name); he originally founded the Trinity College programs in Italy.

Our table companions during dinner were John and Susan Jewett (VT), Ted and Bobbi Reifsteck (NY), Brooks and Linda McDaniel (IL), and Howard Meeks (FL). The food was excellent, as we would discover it to be throughout our stay in the hotel. We had salad, then pasta carbonara (always a fave with me), then roast pork and potatoes, followed by strawberries. Yummy.

We were in bed by 9.