After a day of travel, two hours of wrangling car seats, exchanging car seats, and re-wrangling car seats we were finally on our way. Needing strength for our first continental European driving experience we exited the first big roundabout to the first restaurant we spotted. Thus our first dining experience in Italy began—at the golden arches. Yep. It was McDonalds for our first Italian meal. Irony is a funny thing. Uninhibited by nostalgia Caid was none too impressed even if it did include a toy. Bridger was stoked. I pretty much felt sick before I’d even finished my last bite, but a family’s gotta do what a family’s gotta do.
Our strength revived and my navigational skills intact we headed for the hills. With no sat nav and no map it was definitely a “look how far we’ve come” sort of moment. Two years ago the directions that Gil, the owner, sent would have meant about as much to us as Egyptian Hieroglyphics. Gil is English, and English directions crack us up. “Go straight on here. “ “Go through the roundabout.” “Take the left turning there.” “After the second tunnel go left on the roundabout then past the narrow bridge with the tricky left hand turning carry on going 4 kilometres or so until you reach the Mill on your right hand side then take the sharp right hand turn and park where the road opens wider under the trees.” WHAT?!? Our American compasses were prewired for directions more like, “take University South to Arapahoe and turn left. Go six blocks and take a right. Take the second right and it’s the 4th house on the left.” American directions seem so much more specific. Where we grew up in Montana if you took one wrong turn you might end up in a whole other state! Italy was more like the English variety. We revelled in our new “we’ll get there eventually” paradigm and enjoyed what a mere 2 years ago would have certainly caused a huge fight and sent me into hyperventilating hysterics. Italy could be chalked up as a success right then and there and we hadn’t even arrived at our villa yet.