Sad to leave Florence today. We were up and packed, then took a nice long walk around the neighborhood after our coffee knowing we’d be sitting for the 15-hour plane trip home. We said our goodbyes to Claudia at the BNB, and Maria (Antimo’s cousin and artist). Maria’s husband Ciro drove us to the airport and we were grateful he did. That helped us with one less detail to manage.
Florence airport. There is major construction going on at the Florence airport – I think they are making accommodations for the airplanes to taxi right up to the terminal. Right now, the airplanes deplane the passenger out on the tarmac and then bus them into the terminal – and vice versa. So we had to go upstairs to depart, except once you’ve gone upstairs and walked and walked and walked, the signs point you back downstairs to board the plane. So back downstairs we went – no elevator of course and towing luggage.
Aside from this little airport detour, all went smoothly until…. we were boarding the plane. They put everyone in a large bus – it was hot and sunny – and we had to wait for the latecomers. We waited on the bus for at least 15 minutes and then took off to the plane… which was about 10 feet away. Seriously! In a country where people walk miles and miles each day, I couldn’t believe the airport personnel put us on a bus to go 10 feet to the plane. We saw this plane on the tarmac right outside the window and said wouldn’t it be funny if that was our plane and they bused us out to it. We all had a good laugh as we got off the bus.
Frankfort airport. Have I mentioned before how much I loathe this airport? I thought this year might be different, but no. First, we get off the plane from Florence and were told we would find our connecting flight on a reader board. Well, of course that didn’t happen, so we walked up and down the airport looking for someone to ask where our connecting flight was located. Most airport personnel didn’t know and just waved us on. Then, we finally heard some people speaking English who happened to be going to Portland on our flight. They found an airport employee who was able to look up the gate numbers of flights that were not showing up on the reader boards.
We now had a destination! But first, we had to go through passport control. That done we moved on to find our departing gate. Well, as organized as the Germans seem to be, this area was chaos. Passengers were all over the place trying to get checked in. Once we checked in, we were told to wait in line to check in again. Really? After a half hour, we were processed through another check-in and THEN had to go through security again!
I was the lucky one that was chosen for the “pat down.” Not only did the airport lady assault me literally – I had to take some clothing off, and she went under what clothing I had left to poke around. I was NOT happy. Then, they wouldn’t give me my purse and passport back. They were trying to give it to another passenger. They had all my identification including my passport and airline ticket and would not give it back to me. A supervisor finally came over and looked at my ticket and passport that was put together with two other travelers I did not know and he was confused. OMG!! Another supervisor type came over and they discussed the situation and at last I was able to get my things back and go to the boarding area to wait for the plane.
Now, what do you usually want to do while waiting for a plane? Drink water and pee – of which we could do neither. If you wanted to visit the toilet, you have to go outside security – well that wasn’t happening. And water? This waiting area was closed off from the rest of the airport. It had three vending machines of which only one worked. If you didn’t have exact change or a credit card (which we didn’t) you couldn’t get water.
Once on the plane, we wanted to settle in and just get home! But no, the French people in front of us were rude, smelled awful (no deodorant!!), and put their seats back so far they were sleeping in our laps, and at one point jostled their seat so much they spilled the water on our lap tray – and we’re in premium plus seats. I did find one solution – I put the eye blinders they give you for sleeping and put it over my nose and mouth like a hospital mask so I wouldn’t have to spend the entire trip smelling those stinky French!
Home at last and glad to sleep in our own bed! Dick can’t wait to eat an American breakfast. We have a lot of catching up to do.
First things first, check out the garden! Well, maybe it should be to call the dentist to fix the broken tooth or the banks to straighten up the stolen credit cards, or get Dick a new license since his was stolen, or, or, or, but the garden is important too. Thank you MaryLou and friends who picked and enjoyed the fruits and veggies while we were gone.
Here are today’s pickings.
Scarlet runner beans. Grapes – I told Dick he would have to wait a few years to crush our grapes for wine. He acquiesced and ate them instead. Cherry tomatoes and San Marzanos. I see pasta sauce in our future! Our apples finally matured – tasted one and it was good. A zucchini – who knew this would be the bumper crop year? A few peppers. Trombolini squash – Paola do you see this? Your seeds produced some great squash. We have a few more on the vine I hope they make it to maturity. Green beans that we’ll have for dinner tonight with a Costco chicken – that’s about as much cooking as I’m up to doing tonight. And hopefully, someone we know picked the figs. They weren’t any on the tree when we got home.
Thanks for following along with our Italian journey this year. We had a blast and hope you enjoyed the pictures and adventures as much as we did.
I’ll resume the food blog next week. I have a few fabulous Italian dishes I learned to cook while in Italy that I’ll be sharing with you in the future. I need a little time to restock the kitchen first. 😉