Sofia and Marcello enjoying the views from their new home...

Sofia and Marcello enjoying their new home…

We apologize for disappearing for a while, but we have officially moved to our new home in Italy!  Actually, we have been here for almost two months – never underestimate the amount of time it takes to set up a new home, especially in a foreign country!

We left Cleveland on May 22nd and the weeks before departing were really bittersweet.  Although we were very excited to begin our new adventure in Montepulciano, we knew doing so meant saying goodbye to so many loved ones.  We don’t believe in “goodbyes” and tried not to say it because we will be back to visit everyone and hopefully they will come visit us, but the reality was that there were many hugs, kisses, and tears…

With the tears all dried up, it was time to leave our home in Rocky River for the final time.  Ok…there were a few more tears and goodbyes doing this but we’re going to skip over that part.  We spent the night before our flight at our dear friend’s home, Rich and Georganne’s…along with Sofia and Marcello – our two fur babies.  They were so welcoming to all of us, but we secretly thought it was also a ploy to cat-nap Sofia and Marcello.  Rich and Georganne grew very fond of them and threatened to keep them!

The airport lounge tradition continues...

The airport lounge tradition continues with a glass of Prosecco…

It was now morning and we awoke very nervous.  We had taken all the necessary steps to ensure that Sofia and Marcello had their travel papers in order and we spent a great amount of time with the airline to ensure that we had the shortest flights possible.  Thankfully Sofia and Marcello were able to come on the plane with us.  However, they would be trapped in their travel carriers and placed under the seats in front of us.

Our dear friend Norman drove the four of us to the airport (more tears and more goodbyes).  He has been along this journey with us from the start and has taken us to the airport many times, but this time was really difficult…

There have been many horror stories with pets travelling on airlines recently, but we must say the airline was wonderful.  The flight attendants acknowledged that we were travelling with two cats and asked if there was anything they could do to make it easier for us.   To them, a big thank you.  To mother nature…there are no words.  We encountered many storms, which caused so many delays.  What started as a very short travel time of about 12 hours from Cleveland to Rome turned into almost 18 hours.  Again, not the airlines fault, but we planned our flights so carefully because of Sofia and Marcello.

Sofia and Marcello after the long journey...

Exhausted after a long journey…

We finally landed in Rome, retrieved our suitcases, and now it was time to go through customs.  This would be our biggest hurdle.  As mentioned, there was a lot of prep work to reach this point.  Sofia and Marcello needed all their vaccinations to be valid and current, we had to have them microchipped, and we had a seven-page EU health certificate that had to be completed by our vet and then USDA certified – all within 10 days of travel.

As we approached customs, our nerves were on edge, especially after being delayed and exhausted.  What was at risk is that Sofia and Marcello could be placed in quarantine if everything wasn’t perfect.   We approached the customs agent and handed him the EU health certificates for Sofia and Marcello.  He looked a little confused at first and ask if we had two cats.  We said yes and then he grabbed what looked to be a scrap piece of paper.  He wrote some info on it – their names, dates of birth, where they came from and where they were going.  No other info – no microchip scans, not vaccination info, nothing.  He said “ok” and we promptly left…No incidents and a big relief!

Sofia and Marcello enjoying their new home...

Sofia and Marcello enjoying the views from their new home…

We retrieved the rental car and began our drive “home”.  We haven’t seen our new home since March 9th but we were really excited to get there so that we could finally let poor Sofia and Marcello out of their cases.  Our plan was in place for when we arrived: David would check and secure the house to make sure when we let them out, they were safe.  Toby immediately set up the litter boxes and we both got them food and water.  We have to say, for being trapped in their travel carries for over 18 hours, they did not have one accident.  However, we could see the expression of relief on their little furry faces once they saw their litter boxes.  After eating a little, it was time to explore this new place they were in, and boy did they explore.

Much like them, we are also getting settled into our new home.  Our furniture was shipped over from the US and thankfully arrived about three weeks after us.  In the first few weeks, we didn’t have much.  We only had a couch, TV, and mattress that was on the floor – but most importantly, we had each other and we are in Tuscany.

The adventure begins…