Our flight from Boston was on Lufthansa, and the trip in was smooth and uneventful. I had never flown Lufthansa before and was impressed with their service, the size of the seats on their planes, and how they break up the time to try to preserve some sanity for those of us who hate sitting still for so long. I liked the hot towels! The movie was a first run “Finding Neverland” but I had already seen it. Great choice though!
The change in Frankfurt was no problem. It was amazing at one point to look out the plane window and see the snow covered Alps! Although I did have a momentary panic thinking about the soccer team in the Andes…
We arrived in Florence at about 9 AM and picked up the car we had reserved through AutoEurope. The only glitch there is that the sign next to Europe Car (the actual vendor) says AutoEuropa, and my husband thought that was the place he was supposed to be, but the Europe Car clerk called him over (no one was at the Auto Europa counter). Can be confusing if you don’t know. Now I know that the voucher says the vendor on it.
The car was great with one minor glitch, again, that cost us at the end. You’ll read about that later. It was an Alfa Romeo Crosswagon, a one car class upgrade, and it was perfect for us. It fit four people and six bags comfortably. It was a little tough rearranging everything so my husband could see out the back, but we accomplished it. It was a manual and took diesel fuel.
The drive from Florence to Ferrara took about an hour and 10 minutes. The A1 from Florence north is winding and very curvy through the mountains. There was a post in the message boards recently that said that Italian drivers, for all of the jokes you hear about the driving, drive quite sensibly. Meaning, the fast lane is for fast drivers, and if someone is driving faster than you, you get out of the way. You don’t stop to be nice to let someone go at intersections, because it messes up the whole flow and creates more traffic. I never saw any of the phenomenon of “letting someone go” yet people managed to go all the time!
Anyway, we found our B&B;, Locanda Borgonuovo with no problem, the directions on their website were very clear and specific. Driving into the “City of Bicycles” we were amazed at the number of people on bikes, and of course the number of women in high heels and fur coats on bikes! We drove by the Castello Estense and its moat.
We noticed that although to us it was very warm (50’s) and quite comfortable compared to what we’ve had in our area this winter, many were still wearing either fur or big quilted long coats. We were told that we were very lucky because just the week before our arrival it was cold, raw, foggy, and snowy.