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Report 1043: Luggage, Lattes and Lunacy

By Palma from California, Spring 2006

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Page 16 of 17: June 3: Pisa and the Final Lattes

photo by Palma

Coffee and Caramel Panna Cotta in Pisa

Ida was bustling around getting the house perfect for Bill and Chris. I was up early, dressed and trying to finish my book so I could leave it for Ida. I got all my luggage down the stone steps in front of the house and into the trunk. We stopped in Bagni to pick up another heater and fresh cold cuts for the family’s arrival. I was counting the hours until I saw Brad, warm weather, and my coffeepot. I usually get sad when leaving Italy, but I was really looking forward to the comforts (physical and emotional) of home.

We arrived at the Pisa airport at 11, and Ida went to the arrival area to greet Bill and Chris. I went to British Air to see if they would check my bags, as my flight wasn’t until 10:55 p.m. They wouldn’t take them until three hours before the flight, but while I was there, I had the BIG one weighed. It was three kilos over the limit. Damn! I REALLY had to go to the bathroom, so I returned to Ida and asked her to watch my stuff. She was watching for her family and distracted. We asked arriving passengers if they were coming from Gatwick… not yet. I finally took all of my luggage with me and found a handicapped stall where it could all come in with me. I opened my huge bag, took out what I guessed was three kilos (a dozen pashminas and a purse) and crammed it into my carry on and a small tote bag I brought “just in case”. Ida called my cell phone as I was maneuvering everything out of the stall and said they were right outside the restrooms. By the time I came out, Bill and Chris greeted me. I weighed in again at British Air, and schlepped it all across the airport to the baggage storage desk, where I said good-bye to Ida and her family. We were crying by now, hugged, said “I love you” and they left.

I went through the steps of taking the luggage all back through security, then back to baggage storage, where for 7 Euro a bag, I would be free for the day. I kept only the tote full of pashminas and my purse. After a total of NINE trips back and forth across the airport, maybe I will remember this and learn to pack lighter. Allora, it was 12:15. I went to the airport caffé, had a crappy panino and a latte, trying to think of something positive. I wouldn’t be home for another 40 hours! After a few minutes of a pity party, I decided, “This is your last day in Italy… go have fun!”

I hopped in a taxi, and went into central Pisa. I walked around the area, away from the tower. I was pleasantly surprised. I stopped at a beautiful pastry caffé, Salza, (thanks, Gloria, for the suggestion) for a delicious caramel panna cotta and coffee. I sat there visiting with two English couples and later with two Italian women. When more of the shops opened, I wandered again for a while, and around 6:30, I decided to head back to the airport. The taxi driver had given me the number to call for “Radiotaxi”. This was more of a chore than it should have been. I walked several blocks to within sight of the tower area and grabbed a taxi back to the airport. I had a funny, entertaining driver to banter with during my last official opportunity to speak Italian. I had to get my bags out of storage before they closed, then waited an hour to dump them with BA. At 8:30, I returned to the caffé for a glass of vino and finally went to the boarding area at 10:30.

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