Day 19 – Farewell Florence

“We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go,
we take a little of each other everywhere.”
Tim McGraw, American singer, songwriter and actor 1967 -

Yesterday I was up quite early to finish packing and tidying up the apartment before I left.    I did allow enough time to go for a final macchiato and brioche at my favourite pasticerria.  As I was leaving I said goodbye and in halting Italian I said that I was going back to London.  This caused a flurry of ciaos, and what I took to be good wishes as I left promising to return.  What a lucky find that little place was and how friendly all the staff were – the owner spoke not a word of English and two of the staff knew enough to understand what I what I was asking for but I did feel a genuine rapport with these people.

Packed ready to leave

Packed and ready to leave

Then back to the apartment to await the taxi.  At 10.25 the neighbour knocked on the door to tell me the cab was due any time.  We took out my bags (note here what started as one bag morphed into two because of all the Italian leather goods I bought as gifts) and waited on the pavement for the cab.  We had a pleasant conversation and then he left having kissed me on both cheeks, shaken my hand and telling me that if the cab didn’t arrive to come and knock on his door so that he could sort it out.  I marvel at how two people who don’t speak each others language manage to communicate.

It reminded me of one time when we were in Hong Kong staying at a friend’s apartment the air conditioning didn’t work.  My friend’s Amah and my late husband managed to communicate and we were told that the maintenance man  would come that afternoon to fix the problem.  I would think that understanding Chinese is rather more difficult that understanding Italian.

Taxis waiting at The Duomo

All roads do lead to The Duomo.

Anyway back to Florence. The cab duly arrived and the cheerful driver made some comment about ladies not travelling light and humped my suitcases into the back of his cab.

When we arrived at the airport he went off and got me a trolley.  I would never have found one if left to my own devices.

It was quite warm 24 degrees Celsius and the airport was awash with people.  I had to purchase an extra bag because my ticket only allowed for one.  So 70 Euros($NZ116/$US96) later I joined the long queue for bag drop off for Air France.  I am glad that I arrived at the airport early because this took a loooong time.

And my partner says my bag is too large

And my partner says my bag is too large

There are no air-bridges at least for these short hop flights and so we were taken out to the plane in a bus – standing room only.  We then had to climb a flight of stairs.  A really beautiful young French steward took my in flight bag and then asked if I was travelling alone.  When I answered in the affirmative he gave me a seat in the Business Class section.  He had the most beautiful smile and a wonderful accent.  I think I am in love.

So I had s very pleasant flight to London.

On arrival the customs hall was empty and so even though I had nothing to declare we went straight through.  Simple, easy arrival.

London taxis

Next job find a cab.  This was easy as there were many Black London cabs lined up.  I got into one with a garrulous Cockney driver.  Unfortunately, he didn’t know where my sister’s address was and his satnav was no help.  Eventually after driving around for a time, I saw an intersection I recognised and directed him from there.  His satnav was still telling him to turn left when we turned right.  My advice to him was to throw the thing out of the window.

After a reviving coffee accompanied by laughs and catching up what we had each been doing for the past few weeks, we had dinner – fish and chips as only the British can make them.  Great.

Then it was time to visit Marianne’s family who were all at the local hall enjoying a children’s Halloween party.  Noisy, rambunctious, over excited children and their mothers, but what fun these people were all having.  I have never been involved with a group of like-minded but very different people.  Some travellers (read gypsies) live locally and they apparently join in with all the activities.  The party was supposed to finish at 8pm but the mothers decided they wanted to dance and dance they did.  Then some of the fathers arrived and some of the boxers (the party was held in the Pedro Youth Club which supports local youth and promotes and encourages boxing).  Please click on the link – my two nieces are involved in the club, one does all the administration on a volunteer basis and the other is also a volunteer.  It is a worthy cause in a deprived area and James Cook who heads the club is a well-respected person in the area.  The party finished around 10.30pm after all the mothers helped to tidy and vacuum the place ready for another party today, Saturday.

So another busy day ended. My sister’s “recycled” but shy cat has decided that I am alright and is sitting watching me as I type.

“Women and cats will do as they please,
and men and dogs should relax and
get used to the idea.”
Robert A. Heinlein, American novelist and
science fiction writer.  1907 – 1988

 

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17 responses to “Day 19 – Farewell Florence

  1. Happy times, Judith! Enjoy the family :-D

  2. Lovely to read about your having such a delightful time in Florence, and now London. Enjoy the rest of your holiday.

  3. Glad you got back to the UK safe and sound and with such fond memories. Enjoy!

  4. I’m glad you had such a great break and will carry many memories. I’m even happier you had such a relatively easy and safe journey back to your sister’s for fish and chips. May whatever you do next be as memorable.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

  5. Recycled cat–too funny! Glad you’re back with family.

    • My sister calls her Sophie the Recycled Cat because she was abandoned by her owners when they moved. She is now a permanent resident with my sister.

  6. Glad you had an easy trip back, I’ve loved spending time in Florence with you. :-)
    After Hubby saying he didn’t like Italy I pursuaded him to go to Venice where he had to agree it was good and now he’s agreed to read through your Florence posts so who knows one day I might visit there too. :-)
    In the meantime, I’m sure you must have taken loads more photos to share with us. :-D

    • Oh Sallyann I have so many photos and wonderful memories of that lovely city. Do get hubby to take you there. You (and your camera) will love it,
      Again apologies for the delay in responding.

  7. seems that, from beginning to end, you were surrounded by lovely smiles. The youth club has quite an amazing history, doesn’t it?

  8. I am glad that you made it safely back to London with family and a cat to keep you company.

  9. HELLO FROM MY NEW “HOME AWAY FROM HOME”, NANAIMO, B.C. Added: 10-08-2006After I left the office on Friday, I went home, got my clothes out of the dryer, packed them in my carry-on bag, and rushed back to the pier. I re-boarded the ship and started right away to deliver “welcome aboard” letters to all of the cabins in my group. I had 204 people in my group from October 2 – 6 but in this group I have 238! I finished just in time for my desk hour. That was followed by the boat drill which was followed by my second desk hour. Afterward we started visiting all of the tables on the first seating as we were sailing away from Seattle. I always forget what a beautiful city Seattle is. Its so nice having the cruise ships leaving right from Seattle! After visiting all of the tables on the second seating, we finally had a chance to sit down and enjoy a great Celebrity dinner! Since then things have been much calmer! Everyone is having a great time. Since I was already aboard the ship, I was able to meet with the maitre d’ and confirm all of the dinner tables in advance….exactly as everyone had requested them! On Saturday we docked in Vancouver at the Canada Place Pier. It was a beautiful day…a bit cooler than the last time but the sun was shining! We had an evening sail-away from Vancouver…another very beautiful city! Today we are in Nanaimo. This is my 3rd visit to Nanaimo in 20 days! Nanaimo is a great little town. The locals are very excited about the cruise ships coming in to visit and they really go “all out” to make it a nice day for all of their visitors. There are volunteers on every corner giving out maps and directions! Tonight everyone will be back onboard for another one of my famous Travel With Alan cocktail parties! It will be great to have all 238 people in one room having a great time. Tomorrow its back to Seattle and we’ll start all over again!

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