Culinary Institute of Tuscany – Day 1

January 30, 2019

Last night my mom and I went to Hamilton the Musical. It was an incredible show and to my surprise lived up to the hype. The cast was amazing and I was blown away by the stage theatrics and how it all came together with the music. Definitely worth the price of crazy high admission. It was also a great way to kick-off what would be my week long trip to Italy.

Twelve days earlier, my VP stopped by my cubicle to ask me a question. She asked what I was doing on January 30. When I responded, “nothing to my knowledge,” she asked about a week starting on January 30.

I was intrigued and besides for a yet-to-be-confirmed work trip to Chicago, I replied again, “nothing that I’m aware of.” She then offered me a trip of a lifetime, Olive Garden’s Culinary Institute in Tuscany. A week-long trip eating and cooking through the ancient parts of Tuscany. I was blown away, not just at the trip itself, but that I had earned the opportunity to attend.

Well, today the adventure begins. I was able to get a good night’s rest and arrived at the airport early enough to drop my checked bag and ensure I had my TSA Precheck. A cup of coffee, oatmeal, and banana from Starbucks and I was on my way.

Flights were delayed or cancelled due to an extreme winter storm slamming into the Midwest and soon eastern seaboard. Our first flight is to NYC via JFK. We have a decent layover so I’m hope we will get out before it gets too bad. Our flight was about 30 minutes delayed leaving Orlando, but won’t impact our connection to Rome.

There are at least two of us on this Orlando flight, but all of us are on the same flight to Rome. I’ve already met up with the other known traveler, Julie. She’s a director in HR so I will have to be on my best/better behavior, haha.

After a short walk outside to a bus transfer across the tarmac (it’s cold), we made our way to Terminal 4 and found a nice little bar. Not cheap but we had a great view of the snow storm that rolled in.

Our flight was on time to Rome the rest of the day. We boarded and not only did I get my extra leg room exit row, but I guess because of a missed flight, the window seat next to me is also empty.

We are, however, more than an hour late leaving due to cargo loading, resetting the main cabin door (what?), and now de-icing the plane. There is apparently dinner at some point, maybe around midnight local time, haha.

A very nice orthodox Jewish family is in the section next to me. Mother and father with infant boy and toddler girl. The next eight hours may be interesting.

Our actual take-off time was 9:35 with a schedule of 7 hrs 10 min in the air. Estimated time of arrival will be 10:45 a.m. local time to Rome … maybe.

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CIT, Culinary Institute of Tuscany, Hamilton the Musical, Italy, Olive Garden, Tuscany,