It's been a couple of weeks since we went away. The journey there wasn't easy to say the least. In theory, we would stay in a London hotel for the night, before catching an early flight with British Airways, dropping us in Florence at around 11am, where a hire car was waiting, and then a comfortable arrival at our castle for lunch.
Stuff rarely goes as planned, and we adjust our thoughts accordingly. However, while sipping a coffee mid flight on our way, the captain informed us that we must turn around and land back at London City Airport. It was supposed to be a quick fix, we re-board, and then head back on our way a couple of hours late. That didn't happen, as a flight attendant refused to work over his shift time, and so the flight was cancelled, and the entire group of passengers had to somehow re-schedule.
To cut a long story short, we moaned, we complained, and eventually the airline put us in a private car to Heathrow, a one and a half hour drive away at that point, and just in time for a connecting flight to Pisa. We arrived, only to find that one piece of luggage had been mislaid, along with other passengers luggage it appeared. We thought 'ok', inconvenient, but went to re-arrange our hire car, only to find that they had no more cars available, except for a huge people carrier at a price that made even me, lets just say 'exclaim'.
We discovered at this point, early evening by now, that the missing baggage was arriving on the next flight in. Texts to apologise and help had never told us this, and we found out by badgering and talking to another passenger from our flight, but they arrived and we were intact at least. The other car hire company, now 9pm, hire us a car at five times the price of the original, but fuel was included, and insurance covered everything, and I mean everything, and so we were sorted. I must add that we were at Pisa airport for about six hours, and due to Amanda's current health problem, had spent a lot of it in the car park feeling pretty desperate and hopeless, and almost gave up and returned home, if indeed we could.
It was a very tired me who drove to our destination that night. Events meant that it was much further than planned, and all we had to go on was to look for a pair of rusty gates on the road in the middle of nowhere. Tricky in the day, more tricky when it's dark and we are over tired. It was a fractious drive. Italian motorists not giving any leeway as usual, me over-compensating in unlit mountain roads, and Amanda shouting at me when her life was quite frankly in danger........but we got there.
The owners had left a light on in our place, a bottle of their own wine on the table, and two glasses with a note telling us to drink the wine with indulgence. It was 11.30pm now, and we just hugged each other....really, and nearly cried.....really. It has been a tough year in all sorts of ways. We stood outside with our glasses of wine and looked at this view of Florence as we drank with indulgence. It felt like home. Then we slept for a long time.
We had planned to do a few things on our first whole day, but because of the travelling stuff and health things the day before, we enforced a day of rest.
The village was at the end of the drive, and we introduced ourselves to the locals, bought all manner of things to see us through for the day, had a coffee and chatted with a German couple about Harley Davidson and Triumph motorcycles, politics, Brexit, luxury hotels, work and Porche....as you do. Strangely one of those special moments in life. We returned and spent the entire day in garden chairs, eating good food, drinking good wine, reading, sleeping, and looking out on the view.
The 'castle and it's history are extraordinary. It has been the the same family for generations, and now the current member of the family Majla, along with her husband Marco, let out a couple of areas within it.
We made friends with four cats, and 'Emma', a very old Jack Russel. She was on a special diet for her heart, and I only found out after sharing a couple of lunches with her......sorry Majla! Emma was beautiful.
We have been to Florence before, but had to return, and will do again next year. It's an extraordinary city. I could post so many things that are experienced there, but let's just say that on this occasion we slowed down, walked the streets endlessly, enjoyed the smells, people, food, graffiti, history, flowers.
And daily cocktails at our 'local' at the Piazza della Signoria, as we people watched and giggled at the various 'selfies' being taken.
Can't wait to go back yet again