MOMENTS IN THE TIME OF PANDEMIC - NO. 2

I was booked on a flight to Italy in Early June which, for the last 5 months, I doubted I would be able to take...

I live with one foot in the two worlds of America and Italy, traveling back and forth between Cortona and Southwest Virginia. It is not an easy life but recently with the Covid-19 pandemic it has gotten significantly more difficult.
My solace in staying in America, far from my husband, has been the fact that I could hop on a plane any time I wanted to come home.
The situation of the world has changed however and that is no longer the case.  I have had to re-evaluate the way I am living because my options have disappeared.
I was booked on a flight to Italy in Early June which, for the last 5 months, I doubted I would be able to take.  In fact, I experienced everything that you never want to experience as far as unforgiving travel companies, long waits on the phone, actual hang ups by the agents, etc… (don’t ever book with WOW Fare) and in the end I am still trying to get money back for a flight that was cancelled and never reissued although I was assured that the ticket would be arriving in my email box up until the day I was supposed to leave.
Recently, I was able to find a flight to Italy  through a major airline which was more expensive but I was assured that all rebooking fees were waived.
In any case I learned my lesson.
I arrived at the airport at Dulles and was met with agents who were very respectful but inexperienced with Italian Permessi di Soggiorno to the point that they were using Google translate to figure out the writing on the Visa. I served as translator and customer, pointing out where their errors were and in the end after a few calls to superiors and photocopies of all of my paperwork, I was allowed to  board a plane with a stopover in Frankfort in the hopes that the Germans were more familiar with European visas.
The American airport was empty up until the time we boarded. No duty free, no Starbucks, no magazines, no bars.  The whole terminal was served by two restaurants of sorts, but at least there was a source of water and food. Everyone kept their “Social Distance” easily because there were so few of us and every few seats were taped off. Every few minutes announcements were made reminding us of the Covid pandemic and that we should continue to social distance from one another and to wear a mask the entire time we were in the airport.
On the plane I found every other seat was left empty.  Gone are the plush fabric seats replaced by vinyl. There was no choice of food, everyone got the same, no hot beverages, but all other services seemed intact.
We were told to keep our masks on during the entire flight save when dinner was served and I slept most of the way. Upon arrival in Frankfort, I found my way easily to the next gate although I had seven hours to wait until my flight took off.
My previous flight had been a non-stop but those too are on hold for now. I made it through security with no problem, the German officials were more familiar with my Italian visa, thank goodness. The terminal was much like the American  airport. Duty free was open but little else. I found a bakery and had my first coffee since I left America the previous day. After waiting for literally hours, I finally boarded the plane flying to Rome. I found the flight only about 1/2 full but our seats were not as separated as the first flight. I was seated immediately next to another person but there were rows and rows that were empty so I moved into an empty row.
As we were in the air, the flight attendants passed out declaration forms for all of us entering Italy to fill out, which I did, filling in the name and address of where I would be staying, a phone number and the fact that I understood that I was to quarantine for two weeks in case I contracted Covid.
I was expecting hard questions upon entry into Italy or at least that I was to turn in my declaration and have some kind of tracking. I did not however. I walked through the exit without a question, found no-one to give my declaration to, and realized that I was in Italy and my husband was there to meet me and carry me back to my home.
After all the stress of traveling with Covid, it seemed much easier than expected.
We dutifully registered my name on the Regional site for Tuscany announcing that I had arrived in Tuscany and would be quarantining at home.
In the meantime, I am enjoying quarantining in my Tuscan house overlooking the Val di Chiana relaxing and getting over jet lag. There are far worse situations to be in.
Rebecca Ghezzi, 18/06/2020 17:38:27
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MY CORTONA

MY CORTONA WAS DUE TO BE LAUNCHED DURING EASTER 2020. UNFORTUNATELY, FOR EVERYONE, COVID 19 MADE AN APPEARANCE.


Our blog had been intended as a central hub for Cortona lovers world-wide, bringing you useful information, profiles of the many interesting people who live & visit the town, up-dates on local news, special stories & upcoming events

With the world still reeling from the pandemic, we have chosen to suspend some features & have decided instead, - at least for now - to bring you a limited version of our blog by introducing a series called MOMENTS.

MOMENTS is about sharing a special moment, a significant experience or even a thoughtful reflection that took place during or post-lockdown. We would love you to contribute!

We also thought that in the absence of an imminent visit, you might enjoy a little Local news and a few Tips for (future) Trips
We look forward to seeing you soon!

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