Arriving in Italy and making our way to our apartment involved getting to the train station, walking to the hotel, and staying overnight. We had heavy bags and the weather was very cold, so we regretted the 17-minute walk. Finding dinner on New Year’s Day was not easy, but we did find a decent restaurant not far from the hotel. The next morning we took a cab to a train station – many people buy tickets from vending machines, but for us to be sure of our schedule we bought tickets from the counter. Even second-class Italian trains are comfortable. We got off at Chiusi-Chinciano Terme station. Locating the place to buy tickets took some effort, and we found that we needed to buy tickets at the restaurant in the station. Many times, ticket sales at the local restaurant in the station or are in tabacchi shops (sort of a convenience store) or at newspaper stands.
We had email the day before leaving announcing that our landlords were quarantined, but a friend would meet us with the keys. Fortunately, the bus arrived early, and we could walk to our apartment (about three blocks) in time to meet the fellow with the keys. In addition to jet lag was some uncertainty, and it was exhausting. It was so good to get into the apartment. We unpacked much of what we had, and then went to the supermarket. Unfortunately, it closed early. We then wandered into the main part of town and found a restaurant that was open. We found Montepulciano was busy with a Christmas festival (12 days of Christmas) and many people were out and about. We also observed a line of people going into the area COVID vaccination center.
Monday morning, after some extra sleep, we made our way to the supermercato, Conad. We had list of basic food: bread, milk, eggs, vegetables, fruit, cleaning supplies, pasta, pasta sauce, salt, pepper, etc. We had to consider how much we could carry back to the apartment in backpacks and grocery bags. Cooking added to the list of things we needed or wanted, but some things were not available (like a cheese grater). Some things we waited to buy for when we have a car and can go to outlet malls and other stores in the region.
It was good that we packed two towels – there were no towels for the shower. On Monday, we did find a linen shop and were able to buy more towels and a bathroom mat. There is no dishwasher, so we bought dishtowels for drying dishes. The cookware was limited to pots, so we bought a skillet at Conad. There were cups for tea but no glasses, however we were fortunate to find a set of four small glasses and four wine glasses at Conad. There is no microwave, but there is a toaster oven. We heat leftovers the old fashion way, as appliances that Americans commonly have are not present or operate a bit differently. It takes some getting used to.
Italy is on 220 electrical with round plugs, so we spent some time setting up converters and adapters in order to use our electronics. The outlets are not always conveniently located or plentiful.