17 June, 2012

A jumble of holiday thoughts

We're now back from holiday -- have been for a few days, actually -- and before succumbing to a full attack of back-to-reality blues, I'll cheer myself up by setting down some thoughts about our travels. I don't have a complete story to tell, so a handful of observations and anecdotes will have to do...

I noticed a difference with my kids and the pool this year. They're both now fully competent swimmers, which leaves my husband and I free to read and relax by the pool, rather than sitting tensely at the edge, ready to jump in and save a life at any moment. Hurrah!

We were in Tuscany and visited some of the most heavily touristed places there -- Florence and Pisa. What amazes me, though, is no matter how busy the place, you don't have to go far to get away from the crowds. In Pisa we admired the Leaning Tower and the Duomo along with the masses, but we also visited the cemetery (the Camposanto), which is literally next door. It was absolutely beautiful -- wonderful frescoes on the walls, a tranquil inner cloister -- and we were pretty much the only visitors. Bliss!

Guess how much we paid for a soft drink at a cafe in the heart of Florence? Five euros! Gulp! The pizza that we had to accompany it wasn't much more expensive...

And a couple of updates:

As predicted, our BA flights were much better than the no frills alternatives in many ways. However, I have two complaints. Both our outbound and inbound flights were delayed. Not BA's fault, you might say. True, but a one-and-three-quarter hour delay can become a problem when you're stuck in the plane on the tarmac and the complimentary food offered by the airline on a lunchtime flight turns out to be a drink plus a bag of crisps or a cereal bar. To make matters even worse, they'd run out of crisps by the time they reached us.

And finally -- I can report that holidays during the summer half term are much less hot and sick making than those during August. My kids didn't throw up once. Result!

Roll on the next half-term holiday, I say. 

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