SARAH’S FLORENCE TRAVEL DIARY, DAY 1
It is 3:50 pm and I am sitting at Gate 28 in the McNamera terminal of Detroit Metro. So far, everything has gone very smoothly. We dropped Alexander off at the Piziks’s. He is excited by the prospect of a week of brothers and sleepovers. We had to stop off back home, because while making sure nobody else forgot anything, I managed to forget my carryon bag. But we hit the airport in good time, found a parking spot easily, checked in sans problem and even made it quickly through security. Evidently late on a Saturday afternoon is not prime travel time.
The only thing which is not making me happy is the flight has just been delayed 15 minutes. I REALLY hope this is not a sign of things to come. We’re going to have to go through customs in Amsterdam as that’s our EU entry point, and we only have 3 hours to make the connection.
Still, we shall keep a good thought. Tim has gone off to find an electrical outlet. There’s a man next to me passing the time sketching the various scenes. The couple across from me is speaking Russian to each other and the man is reading Vonnegut’s PLAYER PIANO.
Travel is the time when stories intersect and are born.
8:35 pm Central European Time
Well, here we are at the gate in Amsterdam airport. The flight was smooth. There was occasional turbulence but it tended to vanish before I had a chance to get thoroughly worked up about it. In-flight entertainment is very good these days and I was even able to catch something of a nap.
The trip through the airport was smooth too, which was a pleasant surprise. I have friends who have had great difficulties with their connections at this airport. I don’t know if we were lucky in our choice of destinations or airlines, but we got through security in good time and found our gate sans hassle. We are told our luggage is checked through. We shall see. But so far, all is right an it is clear and sunny outside.
9:10 pm CE Time
We have arrived and a little bit more. We had a lovely, smooth flight down from Amsterdam. The alps are gorgeous from a height and it made me want to see those valleys and lakes close up. we got in early. No problem with retrieving baggage. Customs was really non-existent. We found the taxi rank and by doing as the guide book suggested and fixing a price with the driver ahead of time, we got a ride straight to our B&B for 25 euros.
Our street, Via Faenze is a narrow side street solidly line by buildings with those beige facades that would be at home anywhere in southern Europe. The B&B door, however, was closed, and locked, and nobody answered the buzzer.
Eventually, an old lady, one of the building’s permanent residents, came out and we snuck in. The foyer is…gloomy. The stairwell is grey painted cement and the B&B is on the 3rd floor. Oh joy. However, we tried the elevator and found it serviceable, and smooth, if so small that we had to ride up one at a time with one suitcase each.
So, we arrived outside the B&B’s inner door, and we rang and we knocked, and no one answered.
Tim got out the confirmation. Yes, the dates were correct. ‘Kay. Fortunately, we also had a phone number and these nifty EU standard mobile phones we’d rented ahead of time. So, we called.
Blessedly, Our Host, Matteo, answered and said he’d be there in five minutes. Note to Self: When staying in a B&B in unfamiliar city, call from airport to make sure Host knows you’re on your way.
A young couple from UK also showed up (they had not been able to get the elevator to work and had to schlep there cases up the stairs) & were very glad to hear the host was on the way. Oh, good, it wasn’t just us.
Matteo duly showed up and we checked in. The room is very basic, but it has a private bath and a comfy bed and AC and everything is clean. We showered, changed, rested and then hit the street.
MORE NEXT WEEK