As Easter is almost upon us, I thought I’d do a throwback post on a trip I made to Florence and Pisa in Italy in 2012.
As much as I love travelling, the one thing I’d happily skip about going on holiday is the journey to and back from the destination…especially when it doesn’t go according to plan. Florence and Pisa was beautiful. The travelling to and from Italy, less so. Everything that could’ve gone wrong went wrong. This is how it went.
Outbound: London to Pisa (or what should’ve been Pisa)
1. I ordered my cab to get to Liverpool Street for 4.25am. It should’ve been straightforward… I mean who would’ve expected a traffic jam at 4am in the morning? Reason? Workers painting the road near Tower Bridge on the morning of Good Friday. *face palm*
2. This led to me missing my Stansted Express train by literally a minute. The next train was 30 minutes later (instead of the expected 15 minutes). On top of that, the train got in late into Stansted Airport. What were the chances?
3. The gate was near closing by the time I got to the airport. I might have been able to make it if Ryanair didn’t have that annoying rule about non-EU passport holders having to go to the check-in desk to get a visa stamp. What’s the point of checking-in online if you still need to go to the check-in desk? Also, where are the delays in budget flights when you need them?
4. With these series of mishaps, I missed my flight and had to line up to get a new ticket. The next flight to an Italian city which was near-ish to Florence (where our hotel was booked) was for 9-ish AM to Genoa. Perfect!
5. We were just about to book our places, when the last 2 tickets were taken from us by the person in the queue alongside us. Argh! No luck this morning! We therefore had to wait in the airport for 5 hours for the next flight to Italy, which was to Parma. The extra cost we had to pay was £110, to arrive in Florence at 6.30pm. My first time missing a flight was turning into a right cracker.
Return: Pisa to London
1. Learning from our mistake during our outbound journey, we got to the Pisa airport in good time. Ryanair however, decided to delay the flight by 2 hours. Awesome.
2. By the time we got into Stansted, it was 1.30am. And as luck would have it, because it was Saturday, the trains were not working. This meant we had to take the coach which was really annoying as I had already bought my return ticket for the trains – what a waste of money.
3. There were no coaches to where I needed to go until 2.30am. I therefore had to take the coach to Victoria Station and then get a cab from the station to home. London black cabs during normal hours are expensive. London black cabs at 3am on a bank holiday weekend are ridiculous. By the time I got home, it was 3.25am. I was shattered and starving.
On the positive side, Italy itself was really awesome. It was beautiful and just the perfect country for taking photos. Unfortunately, the friend I went with couldn’t care less about photography, which meant that I had to take the majority of my photos on the fly. This was not ideal, but as we were on a bit of a time-pressured trip, I didn’t have too much choice in the matter.
If you’re thinking of visiting Italy, I’d highly recommended dropping by Florence and Pisa at some point.
1. Staying in an amazing boutique 5 star hotel, right in the centre of Florence at a significant discount (we wouldn’t have been able to afford it otherwise!)
2. Eating gelato twice a day, fitting them in alongside other Italian delicacies
3. Eating amazing homemade pasta (of melting in the mouth variety) and sampling other homemade goodies at local markets
4. Seeing the Leaning Tower of Pisa and taking ridiculous photos next to it
5. Exploring the small side streets of Florence
6. Walking along the Ponte Vecchio bridge (and hoping it doesn’t collapse beneath you!)
7. Milling about with other tourists at the Piazza della Signoria by Palazzo Vecchio, photographing nude statues
Wishing you all good travels over Easter (with significantly less time spent in airports than I did!)