Pete said 'would I like to go to Florence' - yes please said enthusiastically I (a friend of his couldn't go so there was a flight ticket available...!!
Thursday finally arrived - we were off to Florence. An early start to get to the airport. We needed to find the car park - we had booked this online and were assured that the barrier would read my car number plate and issue a ticket. And it did!! woo hoo.. first item successfully completed.
We went through a very quiet airport and checked in baggage. No problems there either. Through passport control and into the departure lounge. Our flight finally called - we boarded. All the usual flight checks and we taxied out onto the runway. I'm not a great fan of taking off and landing. We wooshed along the runway and there we were - airborne! I could start to relax.
The views as we climbed into the sky were pretty fantastic generally;other bits recognised - the motorways stretched out like ribbons below and Hatfield Forest was sighted from the air. So much of our countryside is green and this is so apparent with an aerial view. It's fascinating watching the patterns of the fields and wooded areas unfold.
An uneventful flight out - the airline knows how to charge for all the extras though. A rather tasteless sandwich and a small can of drink... at least we had some Italian food to look forward to.
We flew over Zurich and Milan (according to our pilot) and across the Alps - wonderful views of the snow-capped mountains... out of this world scenery!
And then we were starting our descent..... 'Are you OK?' Pete asked me.... 'Yes I'm fine' I commented..I was looking rather tense it seems. Quite a steep landing and then... we were at Pisa airport.
Strode through; baggage was there immediately; the guy checking our passports wasn't interested so onwards to look for the bus. As we exited the airport the first sight... a ticket office for the bus into Florence which was about to leave. The ticket guy yelled to the driver 'two more coming'. The driver waited; we loaded our baggage and we were off driving through olive groves and large fields full of sunflowers. Lovely scenery ... we were on our way. The temperature around 95 degrees F.
On arriving in Florence at the station we walked through a myriad of streets to our hotel. Inside the air conditioning was working splendidly! Checked in (the hotel staff were very welcoming and friendly), dumped our baggage and went for a stroll.
Later on our first meal at the Museo Gucci... excellent. And after that... well we can't be in Italy and not have Italian Ice cream. A great first day.
And some pictures. Throughout the Italy posts I've tried to keep all pictures in the right order and hopefully I've identified everywhere correctly... I did take rather a few pictures so - here goes with Thursday's pics.
The courtyard outside our hotel
We were staying within a few yards of the of the Ponte Vecchio. Amazing!
Pete is abroad in Italy :D
The first of a couple of newly weds who had pictures taken in the Piazza della Signoria
These horses worked fairly hard in the heat giving tourists tours of the city
Both dogs (of the juggler) sound asleep in the evening heat.
The Duomo hidden amongst the buildings. Italian building are exceedingly tall!
The Baptistry of St John
One of the many restaurants that surround the Piazzas.
Ice Cream! The displays of ice cream in the shops were almost works of art in their own right... and very many of them.
Early evening and the day light is beginning to go..
River Arno was now glowing
House martins nesting high up under the eves..
Walking back to out hotel as the sun was setting - a golden globe in the sky.
Such an eventful day and one I enjoyed tremendously.