We made a smooth journey to Gatwick airport and ‘clocked’ in at the baggage check exactly 2 hours before our flight was to depart. Had a coffee and various free drinks that were on promotion and then made our way to the departure lounge. All was going well until minutes before loading time, we were turned back from the gate, and told that there were some technical problems. Minutes turned into an hour and the captain came and told us that there was a software glitch but not to worry as a plan B would be a new plane! After about another hour the engineer gave up on the job and we were told we would have another plane but we would have to go to another gate. We all trooped off and dutifully got into line, after about 30 mins we were told that the cleaning crews were having to clear up a mess, after another 30 minutes we were told there was a technical fault and 20 mins later that there was a chip in the windscreen! Not to worry, we were going to hijack another plane, in the meantime our luggage was being offloaded yet again, in the pouring rain. The cleaners did there job but guess what, we had to wait for refuelling. We eventually took off and landed in Pisa over 4 hours late.
Our Cosmos tour guide on the other hand is absolutely brilliant and what she doesn’t know about making olive oil and Guelphs and Giberlains, isn’t worth knowing. We had a halfway decent meal at the Hotel Minerva last night, which despite some decidedly dodgy, semi pornagraphic artwork on the walls, was satisfying and the breakfast was top rate. The rooms were pretty good too, only trouble was we had to leave Montecatini Term at 8.40 which meant getting up early!
Still, it was a bright and sunny morning and we went to San Gimignano before the other tourists arrived so we had it pretty much to ourselves. Took loads of pictures, had a beer in the sunshine, then set off for Siena. It rained while we drove along but brightened up on arrival. We had to park and catch a navette bus up to the town and then we went on about 6 escalators, climbing up to the town. We had a good length of time to see the sights which included the cathedral and of course, the campo and town hall. We had a slice of pizza for lunch and I had an ice cream.
Our hotel that we are staying in for 5 days is ok and the rooms are quite pleasant but the food so far has been far from good and the town, on closer inspection, seems to be suffering from the recession, with quite a few hotels and shops closed up. The other hotel isn’t much better although the food sounded like an improvement.
More tomorrow with some proper pis!