^ “Our Italians.”

My good friend, Joseph, and I have been planning to visit two of our closest friends, Paolo and Alessandra, for some time now. We met them only a short time ago, relatively (this past summer), but we grew such a bond that we have all kept in touch almost each day, though they moved back to Italy about two months ago. We decided that we wanted to go to visit them around the holidays, since it must be a beautiful time to experience Italy, so yesterday we finally booked our trip! I’m quite excited; I haven’t been to Italy in years, so I will feel like it’s my first time again, and Joseph has never been, as well.

My itinerary is as follows:

  • 12/24 DL 70 JFK (4:25 pm) to AMS (5:55 am)
  • 12/25 DL 9571 AMS (9:55 am) to TXL (11:15 am)
  • 12/25 AB 8432 TXL (6:35 pm) to MXP (8:15 pm)
  • 12/30 Unbooked flight back to TXL (so far)
  • 12/31 DL 9518 TXL (6:00 am) to AMS (7:25 am)
  • 12/31 DL 9642 AMS (10:15 am) to LHR (10:45 am)
  • 12/31 DL 2 LHR (5:50 pm) to JFK (9:20 pm)

Though this is travel to a country that I barely know, I care not one bit to see the country. I miss these guys dearly and simply want to spend the holidays with them; our location is just a perk. We will leave on Christmas Eve from New York City’s JFK on Delta in the mid-afternoon, stopover in Amsterdam at Schiphol at the crack of dawn on Christmas Day, then land in Berlin at Tegel Airport right before noon. We will have a good 7 and a half hours in Berlin, so enough to maybe grab lunch and stretch, before getting back on a short Air Berlin flight from Berlin to Milan’s Malpensa Airport, arriving in Italy just after 8pm on Christmas night.

Once in Italy, Paolo and Allie seem to have an overabundance of travel plans for us, involving a couple days each in Turin (Torino), Milan, and Venice, and perhaps a day in Padua to see our other friend, Sara. On the 30th of December, I should fly back to Berlin to be in time for my 6 am flight on New Year’s Eve back home to New York, while Joseph will remain with them (I’m jealous already, trust me) for New Year’s, then head off to see Rome for a few days before heading to India for a week to visit family. I do, however, get about 8 hours to spend in London on a stopover before getting home.

For one sweet week, I will be able to see my close friends in person, rather than digitally:

Late night (especially for them!) Skype session with Paolo and Allie. I think it was around 8pm here in New York, so that made it about 2 am in Italy; true friends, indeed!

And for one travel at least, I plan to do very little sightseeing and note-taking; It will be a precious time if I can just sit and talk and laugh with these guys, so we can carry on like when our little group was whole, when we all lived happily together in New York City.

When our little group was almost complete, though my friend, Bob, wasn’t in this shot. Allie Feru had already moved back to Italy at this time, but she made it into the photo anyway, thanks to Skype
When the group was almost complete, with Bob, after he photoshopped himself into the photo. No, we don’t have a photo of him with a straight face.