Category Archives: overseas move

So, you decided to move to Italy…

I just put up a page, accessible from the top navigation, with a summary of information about moving and living in Italy. It is called “So you’ve decided to move to Italy”. I will constantly update it with things I learn that I think will be useful. Go to the page here.

Unpacking UPakWeShip boxes

Well I got around to unpacking our boxes. Actually I just went through them checking for damage as I can’t really unpack until the work is done. There were many things broken. Some of them were my favorites. Oh well.

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I did find some things we can use right now. For instance our cat tree!! The instant we brought it into the house the cats were ON IT! I am sure they remembered it and were happy to see it. Since then they play and sleep constantly on it. Happy days!

I also found the — da dum — bathroom scale. Oh joy! So I brought it over to the apartment and in due time I weighed myself. And… I have not gained weight! Hard to imagine but there it is. And it makes me happy.

Yesterday we met up with some people that my sister virtually introduced us to. They are from the Northern Virginia area and have purchased a place in Montepulciano in Tuscany. We have visited the town a couple of times on previous vacations here but only in passing and only to eat outside the walls. This time we went up into this hill town which is famous for the Vino Nobile de Montepulciano red wines. It took only about an hour and fifteen minutes to get there from our house.

Very pretty town. Lots of shops. We went early and toured the churches and some of the squares. One thing I noticed as well. The town is crawling with tourists. I heard more American voices than since we left the States. I would not want to live there.

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Lunch was fun. The food good. The conversation flowed. We went to see their apartment which they had completely renovated. Very pretty. They are right on the wall and have a view that goes for miles all the way to and past Lago Trasimeno. They have both a terrace and a garden. Lucky them. They made the two basement cantine into two bedrooms and two baths. Upstairs is a big open plan kitchen, living area and dining room.

We said farewell for now. They plan to come for about 12 weeks a year. She is not yet retired. They leave for the States tomorrow. On the way home we stopped at the Poliziano winery. It is a beautiful property, but they all are gorgeous over there. We got a couple of cases of the MUCH more expensive wine that we have in Umbria. And in my opinion no better than ours I might add.

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Soon it will be olive harvest time. I am looking forward to that.

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UPakWeShip shipment arrived

The good news is that the UpakWeShip stuff arrived with no real issues in the piazza. They had off-loaded it into a tiny truck. The British truck driver called it a “clown truck”. When they pulled up there were 2 guys in the front seat and another stuffed in the back with our stuff. Ha! They had to make two trips and carried everything up for us.

The bad news is that the shipment looks to be in terrible shape. I haven’t gone through the boxes yet but they have all been opened by customs and retaped. Most have been squashed and are ripped with things poking through the cardboard. The first known casualty was our Multi-system BluRay player. We had intended to use it so brought it back to the apartment to set up. Here is what it looks like despite it being packed in the original manufacturers box.

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Squashed literally FLAT! I did purchase insurance so will pursue that. I hadn’t intended to unpack things yet but if I am going to make a claim I’ll need to just to see what other damage there is.

Otto Cento

Well, it has started. We went out and checked out all of the town. People are all about, many dressed in 1800’s costume. I had it wrong. Although otto cento DOES mean 800 it also means the 1800s as in the century. Who knew!? Anyway, that’s why they dress in costumes from that century. There were all manner of costumes. From the serving wench, the whore, the tradesmen, the brigand, beautiful women obviously from high castes and their consorts in top hats and morning coats. Many of my pictures didn’t come out because it was dark and I tried not to flash in peoples faces.

They fired the cannons!

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Musicians.

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Ballerinas from the dance school.

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Beautiful lady!

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Handsome top-hat man.

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Mary from Bar Mary!

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One of the drinking and eating venues. As you can see they are quite elaborate.

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We came back upstairs. The most rowdy group were the Brigands and the brothel people who – WHAT LUCK! – were situated right beneath our bedroom. They sang and drank and shot off guns until around 2AM. Needless to say we didn’t get a lot of sleep. AND we have that to look forward to for the next 3 nights!

SO first order of business today was… buy earplugs! Which we did. We’ll see if they help.

Today was the day our box was supposed to get delivered and it would have been a good day. Yesterday I got a call from the company saying the truck had a flat in Germany and was stuck there. He wouldn’t get here until tonight or tomorrow. I told her tonight is out of the question. And that tomorrow morning is our market. I am hoping I can persuade him to come after the market. We shall see!

Remember those boxes?

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Well. We have had a couple of issues with these boxes. They sent a list of questions from customs. I had declared that I brought cat food with me and turns out that is a no-no. I think U Pak – We Ship should provide a list of dos and don’ts for shipping things to Europe. Once I googled it I found lists of things that you should not ship to include pet food. Link: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/customs/banned-restricted.htm

Customs first asked if it was meat based. Duh! Cats are carnivores. So I said yes and I explained it was prescription food because I was not sure I could get it here. Next they asked the weight of it which I provided. Time passes. Next we were told our shipment had been “selected” for a “detailed inspection” like it was a prize or something. Sigh. All I could think of was that all my careful packing was for naught.

After another week we got the word that it had been cleared for shipment. We are not sure whether the cat food got confiscated or not. When it gets here we will know. They say in 7-10 days we should hear about when it should arrive. I have re-iterated that they CANNOT come on market days (Wednesday or Saturday) and MUST give me 3 days notice so I can let the police know. Living right on the Piazza makes things a bit more difficult not to mention every one sees all of your business but oh well!

Today we bought a microwave and a 30 inch TV so we can at least watch streaming movies. We also may look into a satellite account. We need to see if it is portable to our other apartment.

Ciao till next time!

The journey is accomplished!

Well, we are all now here in Umbertide. It was a “fairly” smooth trip. First here is a picture of our empty townhouse in Alexandria VA.

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I loved living there but I will not particularly miss it. I am happy a growing family has purchased it and it will be loved by them.

We had two suitcases to bring. They have a 50 pound limit. Turns out ours were both overweight on my sisters bathroom scales by a good bit. So we bought another suitcase and redistributed the weight. An additional bag costs $100. An overweight bag cost $200. You can do the math. When we checked them they weighted 46, 48 and 45 pounds! Once we got rid of them we were better. We had the cats in soft carriers that we could sling over our shoulders plus a carry-on for each of us.

The trip through the TSA security at the airport turned out to be pretty smooth. I got lucky and got a Pre-Check so didn’t have to remove my shoes or computer. Luther was not so lucky. We each had to remove the cat from the carrier leaving the harness on and walk through the detector. We then had to have our hands swabbed. Not sure why. But the cats remained pretty calm in the chaotic atmosphere. Whew!

We went to our favorite wine bar and brought the cats in their carriers in with us. No one knew they were there. They were very quiet. Ha Ha. I bet we would have been chucked out should they have known.

We boarded the plane and stuffed the boys under the seats in their carriers. They remained quiet thru the night. The calming medicine we gave them at 6 hour intervals seemed to help. I chuckle to remember the faces and comments of our fellow passengers when we were waiting to debark. We had pulled out the carriers and let the cats stick their head out. Everyone was so surprised they had traveled across the ocean with a pair of cats and had not known they were there. They all said they were so good.

Arrival in Italy was on time. We retrieved the ginormous bags and went through passport control. Just as I expected they didn’t even look at our visas or cat papers. An interesting aside, we paid fare to take the cats on the United flight but no one ever even noticed we had them. Or they didn’t seem to.

The car was a different story. We were supposed to call the Renault people, which we did. We were told our car was lost in transit. No one knew where the truck was. They would not send the shuttle to pick us up. We should stay at the airport. OK this was just not what I wanted to hear with two cats who hadn’t been to the bathroom in 14 hours. Luther called them back, he said they said the car was there. Finally we got a call and the shuttle van picked us up. We had had to wait about an hour and a half in the airport. Much tension. But in the end all was well. We got there and picked up the Renault Megane stationwagon – our auto for the next 3 months. I was still suspicious because the car was in the middle of a bunch of other cars and not at all clean as were the rest. Go figure. I didn’t care as long as we were on our way.

We drove the 2 hours and met up with our friends who took us to their apartment that they generously loaned us. The cats were freed, the litter box was filled, the food and water bowls were filled and they very quickly took care of business.

To be continued…

Last car sold! Tomorrow we leave…

It is hard to believe after all we’ve done and been through to accomplish this move it is finally here. I am finally allowing myself to feel a little excited.

We left my sisters house on Sunday June 22 and arrived a few miles from Dulles Airport at a pet friendly hotel. We are staying two nights here.

The reason for this is that we needed to sell our last car which we did today. We are now officially carless and homeless, at least in the USA. We decided to use CarMax because they were simpler. Interestingly they offered us a LOT more than we expected. We had expected trade in value and they gave us even more that we had been asking on Craigs list to sell it ourselves. I do recommend them.

Our flight out is tomorrow evening. We are carrying the cats aboard the plane in the cabin. We will see if this was a good idea or not after we get there :-{ I am nervous about TSA and getting the cats through Security. I have no idea how this is done. I am sure we will have to take them out of the carriers. I have little harnesses for them. I hope they don’t want us to take them off. I am terrified they will get free in the terminal. I know how hard it is to hang on to a frightened cat with claws when he wants to get down. I do have some medicine which is supposed to help but my test run on that didn’t make me feel really confident.

So more tomorrow…

Shipment is gone!

We finally finished packing our UPak cubes and following all the instructions got them wrapped, strapped, stickered and ready to go!

Friday the UPak people picked them up at our house and they are on their way. In 4 to 6 weeks they should arrive.
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I have arranged to have them unpacked remotely from our apartment and loaded into a van and then the team of movers will take them to our apartment.

SO final steps. Our nephew Dave and his girlfriend Shira came by yesterday and packed up what they want to take. Their moving truck comes Monday afternoon. Then the house will be empty except for a couple of boxes and some carpet that goes to the storage unit.

We have an appointment Monday afternoon at our Vet to get the cats checked over and the Italian forms filled out. This must be done no more than 10 days before departure.

We go to Settlement on the house on Tuesday morning. Then we have to pack up our enormous suitcases along with the cats and head to my sister’s house at the Wintergreen resort until Sunday.

Finally we sell our car Monday and and fly out Tuesday.

Next thing for me to worry about is getting us and our cats through TSA. I will report back once it’s done. We have purchased little harnesses and leashes so they can’t get away in the terminal.