All great trips have their travels days and this one was a doozy!
Mum and I awoke bright and early to pack our bags again. Luckily they hadn’t been too unpacked so we had time for a quick stroll to a nearby cafe and bakery to get supplies for our journey. We wound our way back to our hotel via the Arno River to bid it a final arrivederci. Although the distance wasn’t far, our bags were heavy so we hopped in a taxi to the train station for our quick trip back to Pisa Airport.
I once spent an entire day at Pisa Airport which is impressive given its small size and lack of distractions. Turns out it was good practice for today because we had a few hours to kill before our flight. Mum indulged in a little retail therapy buying a beautiful white wool shawl while I worked away on writing assignment with a fast approaching deadline. We had one last coffee at the boarding gate before it was time to say Ciao Ciao Ciao to Italy.
A quick flight back over the Alps (today shrouded by cloud) and we touched down at Heathrow’s lovely, modern and entertaining Terminal 5 only to discover that we had to transit to Terminal 1 which is a complete dump! Not only that, it seems we had to travel half way around London through a series of underground tunnels and a train ride to reach it. Unfortunately, we had even more hours to kill here than we had in Pisa without access to decent coffee! We carried out all the usual airport rituals of over-moisturisation in the duty free shops and an aisle by aisle inspection of Boots just for the hell of it.
Eventually the time came to board our Icelandair flight to Reykjavik. Not only do I love Iceland but I love their national carrier and all its personal touches like naming each of their fleet after a different volcano and having Icelandic phrases printed on the headrests. It was a good flight but unfortunately, the long, drawn out day was taking its toll on Mum who was getting increasingly sick and restless with her cold. When we touched down at midnight, my excitement at being back in my beloved Iceland for the main event of this trip was eclipsed by my concern for Mum’s well being. I huddled her onto the awaiting coach which seemed to take twice as long as usual in the darkness while mum fidgeted in discomfort. We finally pulled up at the main bus station and transferred to a minivan which dropped us at the door of our hotel close to 1.30am.
From our room with a view in Florence to the aptly named Room With a View hotel in Reykjavik – we were more than ready to call it a day. I tucked Mum into bed, tended to some essential admin and turned in myself. We’re going to need our rest because the adventure of a lifetime has just begun!
Patches McMum: Last day in Italy (very very sad). We had breakfast at a nearby bar and bought some pastries and yummies to have on the train. After breakfast we started our long day of travel. First a train to Pisa, then a plane to Heathrow and at last we boarded a plane to Iceland – a three hour flight. We arrived at midnight absolutely exhausted. From there we took two different buses to arrive at our hotel by 1.30am. So good to see a bed, sleep and dream sweet dreams of Iceland.
BONUS CONTENT: Patches McMum’s Italian Overview
My overall view of Italy is bellisimo! Everything is so old, dating back several centuries BC. Coming from Australia where our oldest church is hardly more than 200 years old, it’s hard to comprehend the age of this here. I love the narrow streets and cobble stones – even the apartment we stayed in in Rome was just so old and charming – the front step was well worn by centuries of use.
By comparison the place we stayed in Florence which had previously been a palace (I felt like Royalty staying there) was grand and elegant – it really was a room with a view.
All the Italian people we met were very friendly, no bottom pinching which is something I had expected – not to say I’m disappointed… not much.
The definite highlights of the trip were: The Leaning Tower of Pisa, The Trevi Fountain, The Mouth of Truth, The Vatican, Piazza Navona (and the Four Rivers Fountain), The Colosseum, The Forum, All of Florence but the real winner was a toss up between gelato and limoncello… I think limoncello might be winning! Yum! Anyone got any good recipes?
Many, many thanks to my wonderful family for the travel fund and for the best guide ever. Love you all every day! xxxxxxxooooooo