We are nearly at the end of our first week in Italy. On arrival, our new landlords kindly gave us 2 free nights accommodation in an apartment in the same building as our's wasn't available until the 3rd. It did the job for a couple of nights until we got into the 'real one'. To be honest, the pics of the apartment on the internet we're actually a fair representation of the real thing (what a relief) and the actual bonus is that it appears much bigger in real life.
My only small gripe is that there is 'Tuscan' and then there's 'Tat' and there is a very fine line between the two!!!!! It's amazing that in a fairly sizable city like Florence, shops only sell food, clothes, shoes, wine and cigarettes, and you can't find boring but albeit essential things like clothes airers, washing bowls, cleaning utensils or anything useful for the home for blood nor money!!! I guess Italians prioritize being fed and looking good above all else!!!! Who would want to do anything so boring as mop a floor? So failing to find anything useful, we jumped straight in a taxi and in our best Italian asked the driver "Ikea per favore!!!!!!!!! (Note to self, avoid using taxis like the plague, it would probably be cheaper to charter a helicopter).
Being limited on the housing options, we opted for an open plan-ish loft apartment, so our baby will be sharing our room for the first few months until we know exactly where we want to put down some roots. Unfortunately that means we don't have all the fun of setting up a nursery, however we have spent the day buying exactly the same things for the baby 'zone'. Feels a shame not for them to have their own room, but we at least know we made the right decision, we could fit our old Hong Kong flat into our new apartment about 8 times, so the lack of dividing walls is a small price to pay for the most space we have had in years!!!!!! The dogs are freaked out by having so much space in comparison too. And they are loving the more scenic walks. Florence is surprisingly full of dog lovers, and they do seem to enjoy being the only Pekingese dogs we've seen here so far.
But the most amazing part of the week so far has been food!!!!!! Although quite obvious, all our favorite European treats (ham, cheeses, nice wine) were all imported in Hong Kong and outrageously priced (ie US$15 for a small block of imported cheese, parma ham was pretty much the same price as a second hand family saloon car, a decent bottle of wine possibly the same price as a year's school fees, I severely exaggerate but you catch my drift.... so we pretty much deprived ourselves of tasty European treats for 3 years), so by comparison, the supermarkets here are pretty much giving the food away for free!!!!!!
So our first week in Italy has been surprisingly relaxing, although it has mostly been spent in Ikea!!!! We just booked our flights to Delhi as we've been advised to plan to arrive around 37 weeks going into week 38. That in itself feels like a very proud and exciting moment!
So now it's time to open a bottle of wine, grab an alan key and start putting some furniture together.