It feels like we missed out on an entire day when we finally arrived home a little after 11PM on Monday. We left Sunday evening from San Francisco around 7PM and arrived at the Pisa airport on Monday at 10PM. Luckily, I was able to sleep for a few hours in the plane, which made me feel a little better about an entire day lost in flight.
We got to London in the afternoon on Monday and had to switch airports by bus. Our plane to Pisa wasn't until the early evening when it was already dark. There were probably only about 30 people on our Boeing 737. One woman wanted to move seats to the front of the plane before taking off and the flight attendant told her that she couldn't move because the seating has been set up to properly distribute the weight on the plane. Upon hearing that, I got a little nervous. They didn't weigh any of us and it seemed that most of us were concentrated in the wing section, which I hoped was a good thing.
We got off the ground as normal and I felt a little more comfortable. Towards the end of our flight, Dave and I were a little concerned about the landing since our arrival into London in the 747 was far from smooth. It was so noticeably rough that the pilot got on the loudspeaker afterwards and said jokingly that it was the co-pilot's fault.
When we arrived at the Pisa airport, we walked down the moveable staircase that was propped up against the plane. The air was warm and quite humid even though it was already 10 in the evening. I forgot how humid Italy can be.
When we got inside of the baggage claim area, we paid 2 Euros to get a cart for our luggage. We only had 3 Euros in coins, so we got one cart and put as much as we could on it. I felt sorry for anyone who didn't already have any Euros because there is no place to get change in the baggage claim area.
On our way out, we walked past a few policemen, one of which was holding onto a dog on a leash. The policeman with the dog tapped my suitcase and a young policeman in plain clothes came up to me and flashed a picture ID that was covered with plastic and said, "Documenti per favore." (Your documents please). For a brief moment, I was a little surprised and I pulled out my passport from my small carry-on suitcase. "Da dove viene?" (Where did you come from?) he asked. I hesitated as I wasn't sure if I was supposed to speak English or Italian. If I speak Italian, will I get in trouble for smuggling in Cheddar cheese? I said, "San Francisco," pronouncing it for him in Italian. He flipped through my passport, handed it back and said, "Thank you."
We got outside around 10:20PM and the last train and bus had already left. Luckily, I looked it up on the Internet a few days earlier because I was able to contact our friend Richard who came and picked us up. If we weren't able to get a ride, we would've had to either spend the night in Pisa or take a taxi to Florence.
We arrived at our apartment and dumped all of our luggage in the living room. We were both exhausted, but at almost midnight, I began to unpack by putting away all the goodies we bought in the States. Besides two 2-lb. packages of Cheddar cheese in our suitcase, I brought back some chili powder, tubes of Crest toothpaste, deodorant, pure vanilla extract, dried cranberries, green tea, chocolate chips, and a large stack of books.
I wanted to bring back a few other things that are either not easy to find here, like pecans, or much more expensive. Always after I unpack everything, I think to myself that I could've stuffed in a little bit more. We did have two suitcases each, with each one of them weighing 50 pounds or more. Luckily, my brother-in-law let us borrow a couple of suitcases that we use to bring things back. They'll be using them to take their Italian goods back to the States when they come in April next year.
We didn't see much of Italy when we drove home and unfortunately drove around the city so we didn't see any monuments. We did, however, look down the Arno from near Le Cascine to see the Ponte Vecchio and the top of Palazzo Vecchio. I'm hoping that I'll go outside for a walk around some time this week while the weather is nice to visit all my favorite places.
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