After 5 incredible days in Scotland for Ashley and Scott’s wedding, we packed up what we considered our “winter” gear and planned to ship it back to the States so we didn’t have to lug it around in Italy. We found a local market that gave us some boxes and we were able to stuff our jackets, boots, sweaters and jeans into two relatively small boxes. They were taped up and ready to go and our friends Bea and Leslie, also guests at Ashley and Scott’s wedding, had offered to take the boxes Sunday morning and ship them back for us. Paul and I (Kristin) were so excited because as we’ve #learnedthehardway, overpacking in Italy can ruin your day. (stay tuned for a post coming soon about some of these stories)
Paul did a little research online about the cost because we’d have to leave Bea and Leslie with some cash for the shipment. Well…. Paul found out it would be about $140 to $150 dollars to ship ONE box. So, at about midnight the night before we left out at 5am for the airport, Paul went on the hunt for a cheap suitcase instead. The price to add a bag on the plane was a fraction of what it would have been to ship, so we decided this was the better idea. You ask why we couldn’t just put it all back in the bag we had because it obviously all fit on the way over? Well, funny thing happens when you travel… your stuff seems to multiply.
Our good friends Steven and Charlie were our first clients to join us for a Destination Portrait Session. We introduced them in an earlier Scotland post because they were also guests at the wedding. So they flew with us on the same early flight to Venice. Because we had already adjusted to the time change, this time flying into Italy was such a joy. As soon as we landed in the Venice airport, we felt like we were home. Paul knows this airport incredibly well so he walked us right to a little cafe near where he’d be picking us up shortly in the rental van.
Now Paul was driving on the “right” side of the road again and these roads are very familiar to him. He LOVES the way Italians drive, I think I’ve shared that before… they are serious about driving. You’ll even see drivers wearing driving gloves. You get where you’re going and you get there fast. Or you get out of the way! I would honestly be a little scared to drive. Paul must be scared of me driving too because I’ve never been a designated driver on any of our rentals (I get the hint!). Paul asked a policeman one year how strict they are about speeding. The policeman answered in his thick Italian accent, “Well, let’s just say… police are a little different here.”
Our first stop after picking up clients is going to sound funny to you. Unless you’ve just gotten off a full day’s journey having missed lots of sleep and feeling much like a zombie at the moment you’re reading this post. But we stop at an AutoGrill on the interstate, or autostrade. With Steven and Charlie, our first clients this year, they happened to be flying with us because of the wedding. But with most, Paul will pick you up from the airport, put your sleepy self in our rental van stocked with soda, water and snacks, then head to the first AutoGrill and let you choose a yummy sandwich and anything else that may make you feel better at this point. What we love about this moment is watching our clients take their first bite into their sandwich of choice. We know what they’re thinking… “why are Paul and Kristin making me eat a sandwich from a rest stop? I’m starving and tired and this is my only option?” Haha! Within five seconds of your first bite you’ll look at us is disbelief and utter joy. You see, these sandwiches are on fresh bread with fresh Italian meat and ridiculously yummy fresh Italian cheese. What we’d pay $15 for at a restaurant in the States, you’re getting from a rest stop for maybe 5 euros. There are so many reasons I love this country!
For Steven and Charlie, they got to experience their “first yummy Italian sandwich moment” at the cafe in the airport while Paul got our van. We headed off from there to meet Dario, the marketing director at GraphiStudio, for the keys to the Castle! Steven was actually interested in a short tour of the GS plant. You see, years ago before we opened Footstone, I worked for Steven with Herff Jones Yearbooks. Steven has worked in the book printing industry for decades and has heard me rave about my obsession with the quality of GS books. He had to see it for himself and Dario was happy to show him around and share some of the key components of their printing process. After our tour, Dario took us next to the the Ceconi Castle!
Here’s a short video of us pulling into the Castle for the first time this year. Wow does this place never disappoint!
After we got settled into our rooms in the castle, Dario treated us to dinner at our favorite local restaurant down up the mountain where we were excited to see our host, Davide, who remembered us from last year.
Our Destination Portrait Sessions this year were planned where the first day we spent the afternoon at the Ceconi Castle, a private castle owned by GraphiStudio. Our wedding and family albums are all printed here and because of our close relationship with them, we have the incredibly opportunity to bring clients to stay in the castle. Our second day we spent exploring the magical city of Venice and our third day included a wine tasting and tour of the extraordinarily beautiful Fruili wine region. Of course, our clients will be the first ones to see their portraits from their session so I can’t share them yet with you today. But I can say that our time with Steven and Charlie was incredible. Steven commented at one point that his favorite part was that he didn’t have to think or navigate. He and Charlie could sit back, look around, enjoy themselves and not have to worry about directions, trains, transitions, the time or anything but what they’d be eating and seeing next.
Our second family to join us were Lem and Dana along with their young daughter Cakki. Lem and Dana are friends and clients of ours and we’ve had the honor of photographing their family portraits every year for the past few years. This year, for a special birthday present for Dana, Lem surprised her with this trip to Italy. Our next post will be sharing a few behind the scenes videos and pictures of their trip plus the fun the kids had playing at the castle!
For information on our 2017 Destination Portrait Sessions, email email@example.com