And so, with the weather improving and the rain fled uphill, we set off with our trusty tour guide for a final wander around the back streets of Florence.
The river was swollen after yesterday’s rain and the upstream weir was sploshing relentlessly. The fishermen we saw the other night would not have been standing there today.
According to our tour guide the first public library was opened in Florence though it wasn’t the one we passed. The one we passed is the largest public library in Italy and very important in the whole of Europe.
But all good things, as we know, must end and so, while Mirinda waited in the cafe downstairs, the rest of us waited for the lovely Rosita to check us out of the apartment. This she did easily and without fuss and then very helpfully, ordered us a large cab to the airport. She then announced it would arrive in three minutes.
There was a sudden rush for the stairs, the lift and the front door. As Denise pushed the latter, there was the taxi waiting for us. There was a quick scramble and I went next door looking for Mirinda who needed some cash for her coffee. Then, as Bob and Denise piled into the cab along with our luggage, Mirinda announced she needed the loo.
Behind the taxi appeared a bit of a traffic jam – the street was only one lane, one way and quite narrow with it. The taxi driver would probably have waited there except the car directly behind him was a police car. I suggested he drive round the block and pick us up on the next turn.
According to Bob and Denise, the block was very big and they were worried he was actually taking them to the airport without us. But, there was no problem and he returned to the cafe and whisked us ALL away to the airport.
Arriving at the Amerigo Vespucci airport, we found ourselves third in line for the check-in desk. After waiting for the desks to open, we were through in no time. Then security was a breeze with only us making our way through. The same was true of the other side with us reaching the cafe with minimum fellow humans. I was thinking this was the only way to travel. But I thought too soon.
40 minutes before we were rescheduled to take off, we found ourselves in a very long queue (of two) leading to our gate through border control. And there we stayed for almost the entire 40 minutes. The border guards were taking an age. People in the queue were asking if they could push in because their flight was leaving soon. They were only assuaged when told that we were all on the same flight.
As we neared the border, a chap in the other queue (he’d actually already proceeded beyond the guards) was taken away by a group of official looking fellows, his wife and child along with him. They returned without him and sat in the waiting area looking rather glum and confused.
Meanwhile we managed to reach the gate only to find the bus had gone and we were the only ones there. We were told all was well and another bus would soon arrive for us…and the rest of the queue. This duly happened though we sat/stood on the very cold tarmac for ages before the driver was found to take us the ten feet to the plane.
The plane then hung around while the luggage belonging to the man and his family was located and taken off the plane.
Eventually we took off and the flight was fine. We landed late at Gatwick but Carol was there and drove us home through the freezing evening.
It’s always great to be home but we’ll miss Florence. It was beautiful and well worth many more visits in the future. Even Bob claimed he would happily live there.
A final Florence video, featuring Isadora Duncan in a sleeping bag: