Travel

Flying to Pisa: Italy #1

14:51 (Italian Time)
So I’m on a plane right now, around 7000 miles above sea level and watching the beautiful view of the mountains below, by the time this is uploaded it’s probably much later as I don’t currently have any internet this high up in the sky, but still. I’m flying on my own, for the second time, and I think it’s my third trip abroad via plane. I’m quite excited but I’m still a little scared that my friend won’t be able to pick me up at the airport. Which is a bit silly, but the idea is daunting. I also was very nervous going through security. I had no idea what was going on and I just copied the Chinese couple in front of me… that’s generally how I get through these solo trips abroad.

We’d got up at around 8 so that we had enough time to eat a tea cake, drive two hours to the airport and get through security before boarding my 12:15 flight. We left about half an hour late so dad had to drop me off at the drop off point instead of going in with me. Again I had no idea what was going on because the entrance to the airport was about 5 minutes walk away and all sight of it was blocked by great building constructions. Dad joked that we’d accidentally driven a building site as opposed to the airport, and I couldn’t disagree. I stood around in blank mode for a while until I realised that I could follow the crowd instead of looking for the invisible direction signs… which were probably there… somewhere… behind a pile of debris or something.

I stumbled through the entrance of the airport (finally) and rushed to put my liquids in a sealed plastic bag. I had no idea if my unsealed bag of liquids would have been okay, but I was still scared that I would get stopped or something. You know that feeling where you’ve done nothing wrong, but you think you’re gonna get caught for doing bad things? This is exactly the feeling I get whenever I go through some kind of security, it’s so daunting. So many big metal frames of death and boxes upon boxes of your dearest possessions. Beady eyed men stare beady-eyed at your frilly lace panties, deciding if they could kill a man or not. That being said, I get why security checkss are there… they just terrify me. The first time I flew abroad my bag got pulled aside to be checked because I’d forgotten I had suncream in my bag. I don’t think I’ve ever feared for my life more then at that moment. Luckily it was decided that my bright blue hair wasn’t a threat to Pisa and let me into the airport.

I plodded further and further away from the comfort of my father’s car and reached the customs area! Is it called customs? The bit where they let you take out loans to buy a packet of wine gums. I kid you not, there were no signs to the terminal. Food this way. Clothes this way. Buy an overpriced tourist gift for the friends you forgot about, this way! I was so bloody lost and confused at the fact that there was no sign anywhere saying ‘TERMINALS’, I double checked this time. I had to delve deep, past my social anxiety, to build up the courage to ask a lady where the heck I was meant to go. How hard can it be to put a teensie little sign somewhere obvious saying ‘TERMINALS’. Jesus, airports are hard to navigate.

By the time I found my way, I only had to wait 10 minutes for my flight to start boarding so I listened to a little bit of ‘A Mighty Long Fall’ by ONE OK ROCK and ‘Highway to Hell’ by AC/DC. Good motivational songs for the two hour flight. My flight gate changed twice before I could figure out where I was meant to queue, this happened when I went to Russia last year… am I cursed or is this normal? I’m laying bets on being cursed… plus a lil’bit of normality as well.
The queue to the flight was a little cramped, for some reason a group of Italians decided that they would get on the plane quicker if they stayed close to the other people in the line. I doubt this method works, but it did leave me squashed against a wall with little space to breathe. I definitely prefer the polite method of queuing the English use. This cramped theme didn’t end at the end of the line. Somehow my plane seat was right at the end of the plane, in a corner, next to a big black guy who not only took up the armrest… but over the course of the flight has angled his arm further and further into my tiny corner, smushing my against the side of the plane with a twisted spine. I’m sure he’s a lovely guy, but I’m too polite to asking to budge his arm… 60 minutes left. 60 minutes left. Deep breaths. 60 minutes left.
Queuing and personal space are two things I’m starting to treasure on this journey. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as excited as heck to be travelling to a new country… but it’s a little uncomfortable on the way there. I shall have to persevere. At least I’m not claustrophobic.

This is as far as my story can go so far, I will update it later when I have a spare minute. I’ll publish this after I arrive, but wish me luck upon arrival. I don’t know the address or telephone number of the human retrieving me… great planning me.

15:50
My spotify playlist started playing Cantina Band as the plane started going down. I don’t know if it’s worth blogging, but it made me giggle.

OMG FUCKING MOUNTAINS EVERYWHERE IT’S SO PRETTY

19:32
I am safe and cosy with a nice full belly~
I got off the plane and followed the crowd into the building. The temperature was warmer then England, but not by much, I still wore my scarf to be warm. On the ground the impressive view of the mountains was hidden by buildings, so the overall impression from the floor was… average. It looked pretty much like a small English airport. No men with moustaches waving pasta in my face, or yelling Italian words towards my unsuspecting self. Not that I was expecting that, but if it had happened it would have been amusing.

After dropping my bag all over the floor and almost accidentally running over a small child, I finally embraced my friend at the arrivals area with great relief. I love travelling to me countries but the uncertainty is a little scary. We got on a bus to Florence, despite so odd looks at my bus ticket (it was meant to be a single sheet but my dad cut out the tickets separately) and I got to examine a bit of the Italian countryside~ The ride was just over an hour long and I saw various different scenes. There were quite a few old buildings along the road, worn and used with holes in the roof, some even had walls falling down. Other scenes I saw included small villages and browned vineyards… well they were what I would imagine a browned vineyard to look like… I also saw an encirclement of mountains as we moved further away from the sea, mountains are not something you normally see in England. The closest you’d get would probably be the Peak District which, although I admit is pretty, doesn’t quite measure up to these majestic mounds.

We got off the coach after an hour of conversation about our family and moans about teachers we hate. My friend, we shall call her Lizzy, is Russian with English and Italian as her second and third languages, yes I know I’m jealous too, and she is studying English literature in English and writing her essays in Italian. Confusing I know, she’s very clever even if she denies it. Anyway, she was talking about how her English teacher doesn’t give her, or anyone else, a grade higher then a 7 (I’m guessing that’s around a B in English terms) and how frustrating it is. Plus we also discovered that her English teacher isn’t very good at English. Lizzy tried explaining see of the things she’d been taught in English which were wrong (she’s basically fluent) and I agreed. Not sure where this tangent is going… I’ll go back to my story.

After escaping the coach of doom we walk a little bit with my suitcase flying everywhere, it has a mind if it’s own, until we get to a train station. Here I followed my mummy duckling to a ticket office where she babbled away in Italian to a nice men with a moustache. I don’t know if he was nice but he did have a kind face, he may have been swearing like a sailor for all I know. The ticket man passed a ticket over and we walked past a loud barking dog to the tram lines. Tram lines are such useful things, we went on them in Moscow as well, I don’t know why they’re trying to get rid of them in England. After tripping over a few more bags and people, hobbling over cobblestones with my temperamental bag, and hauling it up 4 flights of stairs we finally arrived, greeted by a flying ball of fluff she likes to call a dog. It’s cute but even with fur it’s only as big as a foot ball, I keep almost stepping on it… Oopps.

DSC_4303.jpg

I was presented with water, a delicious piece of chicken, some lovely seasoned potatoes and a single fork. I was slightly to awkward to ask for a knife so one was only presented when Lizzy realised I was having trouble cutting my potato without the proper instruments. In hindsight I could have just used my fingers. Sorry Lizzy. I’d not eaten since my tea cake 10 hours previously. Man it was good chicken. And then we had some sort of dense poppyseed cake with a yogurty type topping, it tasted Russian and it tasted delicious. I swear anything which Lizzy’s mum (let’s call her Natalie) cooks is delicious.
Since then we’ve just been fussing her fluff ball of a dog and flipping through Lizzys English text book, apparently Italians study Wordsworth and Shelley in literature.

21:02
Natalie just walked through the door, God I love that woman. She’s legit the sweetest person I know, plus her cooking is awesome. After eating some dinner the lovely lady starts offering me food in a mix of Russian and Italian, with the odd English word. I believe she knows a few English words but not many, which will prove interesting when Lizzy (our translator) goes to school during the mornings. I know that ‘No.’ and ‘Niet.’ are not words she can remember if she offers you food. I love her so much. I some how ended up with an ice cream in one hand and a yoghurt drink in the other whilst being offered pizza. What more could I need at 9 o’clock at night?

23:47
She went out to a night class a little later, leaving Lizzy and I to begin watching Stranger Things. People’s have recommended the series to both of us and neither of us have watched it so we blitzed through episode 1 &2 before Natalie got back. It was alright, nice story so far but a bit predictable. I’ll admit I like the setting, 20th century America is beaut. Plus the whole sepia theme going on is quite nice. I hope it isn’t as predictable as I’m seeing it and it has some nice twists. We plan to finish season 1 before I leave!

Whilst watching the latter half of episode two, Natalie arrives back home and says hello. She then reappears with a bag of crisps and a bowl. 10 minutes later she wants to know if I’d like any pancakes (the savoury kind I think, a bit like crepes crossed with small tortilla wraps). I say no because it’s a little late to be eating too much. She’s such a nice host though, I aim to be like her if I ever have guests or children with friends. She’s so warm and welcoming into her family. We’ve only met twice since the wedding, and we met her for the first time AT the wedding, and I don’t think I know anyone who has been as enthusiastic or excited about having extra people in the family. I hope I can return the hospitality and love she has shown me over the last two years. She needs to win an award or something.

I have gifts for them and I totally forgot… I’ll pass them on in the morning, I’m tired now.
Good night~

Question of the day: What exciting things can you recommend for me to do whilst I’m staying in Florence? 

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