Friday, 12 August 2011

Our journey home - day 1!

Finally, finally, finally we are in Italy.  The past few days have been crazy to say the least.  We packed the luggage for our travels (so we could weigh it) and all our homeward bound belongings on Sunday and Monday. The stuff going to Australia filled eight boxes and we have sent them with a shipping company.  The stuff in the boxes will take a two month journey aboard a ship and will be delivered to our door in Hervey Bay.  On Tuesday we went up to visit Richard’s mum, Pat and said our farewells for now.  We took her our TV and set her up on Skype so that we can talk to her now from the other side of the world.
Wednesday we didn’t do much.  I am meant to be taking it easy and Richard has hurt his shoulder and so needs to rest it.  Thursday (yesterday) was a really jam packed day.  Richard’s second eldest son came to our house with a couple of friends and we packed up all the furniture, kitchen gear and household goods and he took them to his new two bedroom flat.  I have to say his timing in renting a place with a mate was impeccable.  We had to get rid of a two bedroom apartment’s worth of stuff and they needed to completely fit out a two bedroom flat – couldn’t have been better.  Once they drove off the big clean then started and at 6:00pm our landlady came and we handed back the keys for our Highgate home.
We are travelling light as this photo shows:

So we caught a taxi to St Pancras Station so that we could limit the need to lug luggage up and down stairs or escalators on the London tube system.  The train from there took us directly to Gatwick Airport and we stayed the night in the Sofitel North Terminal Hotel.  We were too exhausted to do anything other than have a shower and collapse on the bed watching TV!

Our plane left Gatwick just after midday today.  It was a two and a half hour flight and by the time we got out into the airport to collect our rental car it was close to 4:00 local time.  Here’s Richard and Harvey waiting to collect our hire car at the desk:

Unfortunately shortly after I took this photo Richard turned to me and said ‘Ali, we have a problem!’  ‘What’s that?’ I asked.  
‘The car is actually booked from tomorrow!’  
‘Well what can we do? Can we get one at all today?’ I asked.  The guy behind the counter said he could get us a car around 8:00pm tonight.  So here we are now sitting in the bar outside the airport having a drink and I am writing this to pass the time. 

So far I have spoken French, Italian, English and Spanish to the poor guy who served us!  It takes me a few days to get that sense of place and sort my smattering of other languages out!  I am sure you can tell that Harvey is quite relaxed about all of this!

Quite a few hours later and we have arrived at the hotel we are staying for the night.  Let's just say Italian drivers haven't changed in the past few years and the roads are still absolute shockers!  At least this time we have Portia , our Sat-nav and she was a blessing getting us here tonight.  Richard is doing all the driving and he was a tad stressed by the time we got here.  I think if I were driving, it would have been more than a tad! The hotel we are staying in is absolutely over the top! (click on the word hotel to have a look!).  We are just here for the night and will move into our apartment in the villa tomorrow.  I may not be able to post very much while we are here in Italy as we will not have full on internet access, but we will see how we go.


Jane said...

Hi Ali
Harvey looks positively fagged at the car desk! He will need a day spa (ala washing machine) when you get home. Glad to hear you have arrived safely in Italy. Your hotel.. hmmm. not very you is it. more like Zsa Zsa Gabor. I got a tear seeing you both having a drink killing time. You have seen and done so so much, and Richard is one of the most blessed men on earth to have found you. Love and happy days, and safe travels my friend. Jane xxxx

Coralie said...

woweeee! nice! I'm also very impressed that you can converse in 4 languages... mmmm!

Connor is off at a Venturers weekend... a night of map reading and getting lost and no sleep! I'm doing house work and school work... Robert is off scavenging in bins looking for metal things!

Nice you have escaptred the riots in London!

Ali said...

Coralie, don't be too impressed! I can't speak four languages, just a few words from each of them so that I can get by! Richard just saw this comments and said that we have now to contend with the 'riots' on the Naplese roads!

Jane, I am one of the world's most blessed women to have found him! We decided yesterday that poor have has had too much irradiation as he has been through too many airport scanners!