On our trip back to the USA, it took us twice as long to get home as we had anticipated. Everything went well up to trying to get out of JFK on our flight to Syracuse. We arrived on time in the middle of a rain storm and then decided that we just didn’t want to leave apparenlty. After our first delay, we all found a spot in the middle of the airport where we could sit/lay down and wait out the delay. That is the picture that you see above of a group of us hanging out in the airport.
The second delay came and that is when a lot of us started to get restless and many Starbucks trips were made. The third delay was greeted with a lot of tired looks and sighs from us all, and another trip to Starbucks. I think you have officially been in an airport too long when the Starbucks cashier remembers you and asks you why your still there.
Finally, we were allowed to board our flight after being delayed for close to five hours. As we were boarding, delta cancelled our flight. They say it was due to weather, but we were also told it was due to our pilot timing out. They started bringing pillows and blankets out for us and giving us free food and water because apparenlty that makes sleeping in the airport better. (the water was much appreciated though)
After working hard for over an hour, the Compeaus told us that we were going to ride on a coach bus to syracuse airport with our luggage instead of waiting for another flight in the morning. Everyone was relieved to finally be getting out of the airport and getting closer to home. The bus ride was okay and besides making a couple stops for bathroom breaks on the side of the road (no but really on the side of the road) we made it to Syracuse!!!
I can’t begin to explain how thankful I am that I was able to go on this trip with all of these wonderful people. I will miss every single one of them and as far as I’m concerned, they are all a part of my Italia family.
On the last day before we departed, our whole group spent the day with each other on the top of the mountain were our last hotel/hostel was. We were unable to go anywhere becasue our driver can’t drive for eleven days in a row without a day off. We all enjoyed the time to relax and get everything ready to go for the next day, and many of us used this as a packing day. We also really enjoyed playing kickball against eachother in the rain. This is a picture of some of the girls and boys practicing for the kickball game. It was a close competition, but in the end the team Inter won! (that was my team) Our last dinner was also on this day and we all had fun laughing and recalling some of the little things that happened throughout the trip. Our last day proved to be a great way for our Italia family to end the trip together.
We went to a winery in the middle of Tuscany and were able to do a wine tasting. The grounds of the winery are beautiful and this picture shows the holding containers for the wine. The tasting went well and we all learned a lot about the different types of wines and what makes each one unique.
Today, we traveled into the city of Greve where we had a wine tasting opportunity and a lovely sit down dinner at a restaurant owned by our current hosts. The wine tasting was a great experience for many of our group members and the lunch was delicious.
This picture is of one of the wine (vino) machines which were a very cool design.
Yesterday, we traveled to Siena where we had time to explore the city. This picture is of the Duomo in Siena and it is a beautiful building. This is also the city where the horse races in the street twice a year.
Our last hotel is more of a villa on the top of a huge mountain. This is one view from a little bit lower on the mountain. We are sleeping in hostels with the boys on the upper floor and the girls on the lower. This style is promoting a lot of bonding and character building. The family that owns the land are very nice and can cook a mean meal! It’s a little colder up there than we were ready for, but it is a truly beautiful place.
This is the view from right outside of San Gimignano where we went on Thursday before heading to our new hotel. San Gimignano is a city inside a wall, which made it feel like a castle to me. The view of Tuscany was beautiful and we all really enjoyed spending a couple hours there.