Monday, April 16, 2007

To Tuscany

I sit at my computer, peacefully, in the quiet of the late 'summer' English afternoon, for despite the calendar reading April, this weather feels more akin to June, and think back to the weekend. This is the first chance to reflect today, a day which started at 6am BST. We were stirred by first one alarm, then another, followed by Pierro knocking on our door. We awakened and I stumbled into the kitchen, to drink esspresso and eat biscotti and chocolate pannetonne. It was a mad scramble to pack, to load the car, to decipher and negotiate the road signs and customs of the drivers of Firenze and to make it to the aeroporta at Pisa in time for the flight. Then the small matter of parking the duck egg blue Fiat Punto in the tiniest of bijou spaces in the carpark and say a quick prayer that the 6 bottles of wine packed into the suitcase would not break en route (nor be denied check-in if the bag were too heavy) before boarding the flight. And then home to Gatwick, to London and to work this afternoon. One long rush but one amazing weekend.

A weekend which begun on Thursday afternoon. We met, like lovers, at the entrance to the Gatwick Express. Only given away by the fact that I was late and we had only one suitcase, which had to be re-packed on the train. It started so promisingly, we were on time to the airport, check in was smooth. We drank tea watching the other planes depart for foreign climes in the pink-orange glow of the hazy afternoon before leisurely making our way to the departure gate.

Where we sat. And waited. And waited.

Eventually, they let us onto the plane. Exit seats; lots of leg room. I fastened my seatbelt and waited for the engines to start. Waited and waited.

"This is the Captain speaking... we are currently having issues with air traffic control in France."

"It seems that the French have gone on strike. With no notice. French airspace is closed. We are working to try and find a slot (for takeoff)"

"Ladies and Gentlemen, I am sorry to announce that we have been given a slot at 10pm. I have turned off the seat belt sign so please feel free to walk around the aircraft and use mobile telephone equipment".

So we sat there for 2 and half hours on the stand, more than the length of the flight, finally arriving in Pisa at midnight. We had arranged to hire a car, but for reasons far to dull to elaborate, but involve obstructive Europeans, we eventually opted to get a bus to Florence.

1 comment:

lain said...

I will wait until the rest of your update to hear more, but definitely want to get your views on where to go and what to see as we are going to Tuscany in September...