Our last evening in Firenze was very relaxed. We had supper at the Colonnine. It’s the corner café that we go to often. It’s on the via Benci and has a very welcoming atmosphere. They also make a bang up plate of spinach: this is a fave of Grams and mine. We combined that on our last night with another fave, calzone. We had a calzone with spinach and ricotta.
After a double espresso and a little dolce (cicolatta), we went for a walk along the Arno. The moon was full and it kept scudding between clouds. The night air was very comfortable. All of the tourist groups had gone back to wherever they go to at night. We had the Arno almost to ourselves with only the occasional scooter to disrupt our reverie.
We had already packed since we had to get up a 3 AM in order to catch the 4:30 AM train to Pisa airport, in order to catch the 7:15 AM plane to Paris. The Santa Maria Novella is always crowded when we go there, but at a little after 4 AM, it’s almost deserted. We’ve never seen it that empty.
Of course, when I travel with these two clowns, you never know what will happen next. What did happen was that we ended up in Livorno. We didn’t even end up at the station, we were still on the train when it pulled on to a siding to get a washing. It was then that the man with the hose helped us off and sent us off toward the station. Big Guy and I found a cab and we had Mr. Toad’s Wild ride to Pisa airport.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get there in time. Much gnashing of teeth and new arrangements followed. We had to pay a king’s ransom to get on a plane for tomorrow. Grams is in a foul mood. After we got the new tickets, she sat down and went on line. She found a hotel nearby that was almost reasonable and made reservations. Well, she thought that she made reservations. When we got to the hotel, the reservations hadn’t shown up yet. Nevertheless, the desk clerk took pity on us and let us check in early (4 hours early): we must’ve looked really tired.
After a wee 40 winks, we went for lunch. It turns out that we are not in an historic part of Pisa; rather we are in the industrial section. “It’s just like ‘Red Desert’!” exclaimed Grams. “Wots that?” I asked. “A film by Antonionni. It was a comment on the industrialisation of Italy.” “Whatever,” said I. Needless to say, we are not anywhere near the leaning tower this time; but we are close to the airport.
We actually had a nice lunch at a working class place – fabulous coffee too. Then, we went for a walk and I took this photo of a modern version of the leaning tower at a cement works. There’s a mix of industrial and residential properties all around our hotel.
Now, here’s what we learned: ask as many questions as you can about going somewhere where you’ve never gone before. Think as if you were a 5-year old. The more questions, the better. Evidently there’s a special train that goes from Pisa Centrale Station to the Pisa Airport. So, it’s necessary to get off the train from Florence. If you stay on, you will end up in Livorno. Livorno is a perfectly nice town, but not if you have plane to catch in less than an hour. Lesson learned.
Please give what you can to Médecins sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders).
And, of course
(hewa ni hataraki: work for peace)