To Firenze

What a day! By the end of it, we were all ready to just collapse. There had been stress and adventure, beer and wine, a plane and a couple of taxis. We started in Farnham and ended up in Florence. Worlds apart and yet so very, very close.

Of course the day started quite easy going and chilled. Denise and Jenny, rather than keep up the hectic pace of the last few weeks, decided to have an easy day, visiting our castle then a few of our shops, going somewhere nice for lunch and shopping. Jenny returns to Oz tomorrow so it was her final chance to get a bit of serious sterling spent.

We, on the other hand, spent the morning packing extremely slowly given we weren’t being picked up until 12:30…or so it was rumoured.

Anyone who regularly reads my blog will understand that Mirinda is a bit picky when it comes to our holidays. She has been known to change accommodation at the drop of a hat (usually mine) but it’s generally not a change of plane. This came very close to happening today.

There’s this thing called the API (Advanced Passenger Information) that, these days, is required when booking flights. It used to be optional but these days it’s obligatory. Something I was completely unaware of, however, is that Australian passports are not on the list of countries that you can enter API for when trying to check-in online. I found out last night when I checked-in.

I knew Mirinda would get awfully stressed if she thought there was a possibility of not sitting with me and head instantly for a panic attack. I figured it wise to hold the truth from her. This worked perfectly until I told Bob and she overheard.

Okay, I’ll admit, this was a first class schoolboy error. It’s very easy in retrospect to see just how stupid it was. However, there is not a lot that could have prepared me for the avalanche of stress and anticipated panic attacks that flooded the house for a couple of hours prior to our leaving.

Then, of course, the taxi was late which pushed the edge a little bit closer. It even blighted Mirinda’s usually jolly chat to taxi driver, Martin about his extension plans.

She was threatening to catch another plane, one with reasonable seats (?) and which didn’t have a problem with Australians. Tempers seethed as we wandered around South terminal, looking for the check-in counter. Of course the only way up was by lift so we lost Mirinda for a while but eventually we joined a very long and winding queue.

The plane was almost completely full and, subsequently, all three seats could not be together. I had already booked my precious aisle seat (being British, the API stuff worked for me) but the other two couldn’t be next to me. Bob and Mirinda did, however, have two seats together albeit the centre and the window. There was nothing else for it but for me to take Bob’s seat and he mine.

By the time we were airborne and heading out over the English Channel, Mirinda was fine again, almost completely pleasant. And the divorce proceedings had been cancelled.

I spent the flight watching two episodes of The Walking Dead while she chatted about greenhouses before drifting off on my shoulder.

And so finally, with feathers unruffled and nostrils looking normal, we landed (with an almighty thump) in Florence. We managed to find the taxi rank and sat in a cab for a good half an hour before he dropped us at the front door of our apartment for the week.

And what an amazing place. Most people will know that I always dread the bit where Mirinda first sees our accommodation but this time was just fine. It’s a brilliant place. The view over the roofs and of the towers and the cupola of the duomo is amazing.

The view by night

I’m sure (and Rosita assured me) it will look brilliant in the day.

As soon as the aforementioned Rosita had shown us around and made sure we knew everything we needed to know, we set off for groceries before heading to a very close trattoria for a delicious dinner. My marinated sardines were superb and the egg soup a lovely reminder of days gone by.

By the time we headed back to the apartment, all was well again.

The very short stroll home

Tomorrow will be a bit of a wander day, waiting for Denise to arrive. We are also quite tired after all the angst of today so a sleep-in will be on the cards.

However, before I go, just a little something for Fiona. This is some of the art along the corridor of our apartment and, for some reason, it made me think of you.

Seven Dwarfs?
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