A few years ago, I had the privilege of traveling to Italy with a group of crazy women who had or were turning 50 that year. You can imagine the memories we made as we toured Tuscany, seeing the famous sites, meeting new friends, attending wine school, and enjoying as many new experiences and foods as we could stuff into our journey. One of the “crazier” adventures happened on the night of our arrival.
As with any trip to Europe, the journey was long. We left from Tulsa, stopping in Chicago (where I met up with my Silly Sister who hopped on our plane), flew overnight to Frankfort Germany, and then on to Florence, Italy. But before we could declare “arrived”, we had yet to jump in our rented vehicles and find our way to our villa. Unfortunately, it was much farther than any of us hoped for.
Hours later, we drove up a gravel road, and beheld the beautiful villa we had rented, nestled in the hills of Tuscany. Even more exciting was that it included meals prepared by the family that owned it, AND I WAS HUNGRY. We opened the large wooden door to be greeted by our host family, a warm fire, and a bottle of something delicious and bubbly. Within minutes we were toasting and attempting to chat with our new friends as our first wonderful Italian meal was being prepared for us.
With full stomachs, the exhaustion was catching up with all of us. Bedtime was sounding very inviting…until, one of the young men from the family suggested we go to the hot springs bath house that he claimed “wasn’t too far away”, for a relaxing dip. Just about everyone laughed at the absurdity of leaving our warm quarters, except for me, my sister and two others…we wanted to know more. Who wouldn’t want to experience an Italian hot spring bath on a cold Spring evening? I don’t care how tired I am…I just can’t imagine missing an adventure like that. So we grabbed our suits and jumped in the van and let the locals lead the way.
“Not too far away” was about 45 minutes. Geez, I was tired, and I wee bit nervous, not knowing if this was a mud hole, or what – and our new friends didn’t speak a lick of English. But it was so worth the trip. It was a public facility with several pools, both indoor and outdoor. The hot mineral water felt amazing after the incredibly long journey. We relaxed in the pool, and listened to the Italian chatters around us – Silly Sister and I just giggled. I looked up at the stars and said a little prayer of thanks. It was one of those moments that felt like God had blown me a kiss. I felt so incredibly blessed.
However, there was still another 45 minute drive ahead of us before we could crawl into our Italian beds. Even though I think I could have fallen asleep standing up, I will never regret taking that “one more step”. And, I will never forget how I found my Silly Sister when we finally arrived back at the villa: