Thursday, February 09, 2006

Feb. 1, 2005 Hi from Rosemary

I arrived in Italy on Monday, Jan 30th. David’s boss, Dave Crane, drove David to pick me up at the airport. Then they had me wait in the break room in their Field Shop for what was to be about an hour, but turned into 3 ½ hours. As we were leaving at 7:30pm, David told me the drive to our hotel would be 1 ½ hours! Somehow I managed to still stay in a good mood. Dave C. drove quite fast, spending some time chatting on his cell phone to his wife and daughter who are in an apartment in Turin. I was a nervous. Once we got through all the tunnels David told you about, we started on the road up to our hotel. It was a long, steep, winding road…as we got closer it was raining, which then turned to snow. Some cars couldn’t make it up the road but Dave C’s car is all wheel drive so he was able to go right around them. The 2 lane road is not very wide and there is not much land to the right side of the road….you look down into valleys. Thank goodness there were guard rails or I would have had to spend the rest of the ride with my eyes shut. It was really pretty looking down on the lights of the buildings and churches in the valleys. We got here and had dinner at 9. I just wanted a sandwich but it was a 4 course meal and we had some language barriers with the waiters, who were very professional and dressed in short jacketed tuxes and very eager to please. Food was amazing. We didn’t get to bed until midnight, which was 6pm back from Madbury. I was quite pleased at first that there was a radiator in our bathroom, as most hotel bathrooms are cold, but the heat from that radiator made our room very hot which made it hard to sleep. We couldn’t figure out how to turn it down. David hardly slept and had to be up at 6am and then was driving, for the first time here, the1 ½ hours back to the Field Shop. I was worried about him, but he got there just fine. I slept in. I stirred at 10:30am at which time I opened the curtains – I was blinded by the sun and the snow on the mountains that surround the hotel. Mountains? OMG.. I am actually in The Alps! It is beautiful. I went back to bed till noon and then slowly moved about. I tried to tell the housekeeper about the room being too hot, but I think she thought I was too cold…ack.. do NOT turn the radiator up, I thought! Silly me, I should have searched the Italian phrase book I’d bought. I later found “My room is too cold” in the book…hmm, and then later found the word hot. I told a man at the front desk, who speaks English, about it but it wasn’t taken care of. I had lunch in the dining room and the waiter didn’t speak English so he got another waiter. I felt really bad then about not finding the time before coming here to learn Italian. I also felt a bit lonely – not knowing what was being said around me or being able to chit chat with the waiters. I spent the rest of the day in my room, reading or sleeping. We have a balcony, so I would leave the doors to it open for short periods of time to cool the room off. I did take a walk outside and it was beautiful out. David got back at 7:30pm and we headed to the bar where I got to meet lots of people working for NBC. Had another big dinner, which wasn’t as good as last night’s. This morning we had an “American continental breakfast” the waiter informed me. There wasn’t much food - but there were some yummy filled croissants. I had poured some hot water over a tea bag and left the table to get some food. When I got back to the table, the tea was blue!! It is called Blue Mallow. Blue is my favorite color, but not what I’d pick for the color of my tea! It actually tasted ok but once was enough.

There are 3 TV channels in English at this hotel…all news stations, so at least I can keep up with the news.

We are moving to the condo today. We are excited about seeing what it will be like, since it is brand new, and only just finished being built. We’ve been joking that there will probably be sawdust all over the place. We are hoping their restaurant will be open.

David no longer has to drive to the field shop. His venue is right next to the condo we are moving to, which will be great! Take care, Rosemary

February 3, 2006 Hi again from Rosemary

Hope all is well with all of you. David has already told you in his daily info about our experiences of checking out of the 1st hotel and moving into the condo complex. I talked to the NBC liaison with the complex and she said they were about 6 months behind where they’d hoped to be by now. They have already done a lot with the excavating of one of the roads that leads to the hotel since we got here. The restaurant is open, thank goodness. I am considered a guest in our condo so I have to pay a fee – about $32.50 US a day covers my fee for being in the room, plus my breakfasts and dinners which I think is a great deal. The meals are buffet style and are plentiful and wonderful. The phone, internet access and TV services in the rooms have not been connected yet – should be any day now.

They have a large, 2 story, made-to-look- rustic lounge. They have a piano player in there The first night I was in there, he was playing “Over The Rainbow” beautifully. He really got into it with his facial expressions…I thought he was going to cry at one moment.

While having breakfast yesterday, the man at the table next to me asked me how I liked the place. Turned out that he was the owner! He is from Ireland. We had a nice chat.

Some one finally picked up our bags at the Venue David is at yesterday morning and brought them to our room. I unpacked everything downstairs and carried it up. Every time I went upstairs, I felt faint, so I ended up taking a lot of naps. I think I might have been getting altitude sickness. I put on the Seabands I wear when on cruises and have been feeling much better since.

I spent a lot of time with one of the managers on the first day, so she always waves or approaches me when I am in the main building. She came to check on me while I was having breakfast today and I told her I had a long list of questions, which I expected someone else to deal with, but she took care of answering them all for me herself. The staff is very friendly and helpful and many speak English. I try to use some common Italian greetings, etc, and whenever I do, I get a smile and a happy response back in Italian. When I leave here, I will miss hearing people saying “Buon giorno Signora” to me.

I spoke with some of the Carabenaira (Military police) who are staying here today. One lives in Rome and is not used to the snow or cold temps they are experiencing here.

There are 3 condos to a building and they are Chalet-styled. The windows have big, wooden shutters you can close completely over the windows and doors if you want.
Our condo has a hallway, kitchen, dining/livingroom, 2 full bathrooms and 2 bedrooms.
There are balconies off the bedrooms.

The advertised workout room and spa won’t be ready while we are here. I never use a workout room at a hotel, but had planned to use a treadmill this time and certainly had hoped to use the pool and get massages. Oh well. I do get lots of exercise walking up and down the hill to David’s venue, to the main building where the restaurant is, and around this complex. The community laundry room isn’t ready yet – good thing we each brought lots of the essentials! I fell on ice today and got my clean jeans all muddy so I hand washed them and they are drying in the shower.

Brian is flying here as I write this. He’ll get here tomorrow. We are looking forward to having him here.

Today, I spent several hours at David’s venue. I enjoy Willeta (the Production Manager), and their 3 Runners (gophers): 1 woman from Italy, and 2 college-aged kids. David took me along when he took Willeta out to the “Field of Play”, which is where the cross country skiing event will take place. I got to see things like where the commentators will be sitting (there are several booths above the grandstands, one for each country commenting on the event), where the crew will walk to get to the event, where cameras will be positioned, where the start and finish lines are and the warming huts where athletes will go to warm up.

Tomorrow will be the last day I’ll get to visit at the venue as it will go on “lockdown” on Sunday. Only people hired by NBC, or the other companies there, will be allowed in. I’ll miss my visits there.

I got some bus schedules today and will venture out someday soon to some other towns to get some groceries and check out stores, etc. There aren’t any “markets” for me to walk to here. I better get out and about before the spectators for the Olympics arrive and traffic will be crazier than it already is and busses will be packed. Take care, Rosemary


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