Friday, 30th October 2003
Our time in Florence was at an end; time to pack our suitcases and hump them back over the cobbled streets to catch the next available train to Pisa. We caught a train that left at 8:41am, going through Lucca to the airport. The carriages were packed, despite having two floors. The only available space left was by the door where we walked in.
We stood, rocking from side to side with the motion of the train, for 75 minutes until we reached Lucca where a large crowd left and finally some seats became available. But to prolong our inconvenience there was no room to store our luggage. Strangely the overhead shelves could hardly fit a pizza box let alone a suitcase!
We sat down with our legs resting on top of our suitcases, which was quite uncomfortable but an improvement on the hour and a quarter of train surfing we had endured. We were just glad of any chance that took the weight off our feet.
It gave me an opportunity to inspect my mushroom and was alarmed to find that it was getting seriously sweaty in its little paper bag. I feared for its survival and resigned myself to having to buy dried up porcini for my risotto tomorrow!
We pulled into the platform at the airport at 10:45am. It had been a tortuous two hour journey. It would have been much better if we had waited for the more direct route that went through Empoli. Nevermind; we'll know next time.
After checking in our luggage we found the Lost Property office and asked if they had been handed a Gameboy. Julie had left hers on the plane last Monday. We were taken through to the back room and shown a large cupboard full of lost properties. It was bizarre what people leave behind! Shoes, handbags, prosthetic limbs! But no Gameboys!
We had lunch, and trust the Italians to serve the best airport lunch we've had! (Memories of the nuked veg lasagne from Moscow came to mind as our worse!) With grilled aubergines, grilled red peppers, mozzarella and tomato salad, olive oil and balsamic vinegar I was saying goodbye to Italy in my favourite way.
The theme continued once we boarded the plane after Julie's monumental struggle against her premonitions of doom. Safely onboard we were served a delicious sun dried tomato ciabatta. Julie's battle to stay put on middle earth had left her without an appetite which meant double helpings for me! Buon Appetito!
Arrivederci Firenze, Arrivederci L'Italia, Ciao Gallese!