A couple of tube rides brought us to Finchley Road, but we must have also just missed the National Express coach we’d intended, as we had to wait 15 minutes for one to arrive, driven by a typically curt and unpleasant lady, a prerequisite apparently for National Express drivers.
The journey seemed particularly slow, and we began to get nervous, I’d never missed a flight and having come across some of those voyeuristic reality shows on ITV, knew airport staff made National Express drivers look like helpful cooperative Cub Scouts in comparison.
My worst fears were confirmed when we eventually reached the Check-In desk, 2 minutes late, and was told with all the compassion of a French Revolution Executioner, NON! We were not travelling to Ancona today.
After investigating options we chose to fly to Pisa, £200 lighter for the pleasure and 2 hours later.
On arrival we found the Terravision coach only to be told it was cash only, so while Silvia ran off to find a Bancomat, I waited with the bags, having secured our spot, or so I thought. When Silvia got back it turned out Terravision had, though fully aware of our situation, gone ahead and filled the bus, bar one slot, and despite my growing frustration I decided not to leave Silvia behind, especially knowing how useful she can be in Italy.
Our next option was train, or to be more precise, trains. We had to get a number of connections from Pisa station, via Florence, and some further unpronounceable Italian locations, to eventually get us to Perugia where Paolo, Silvia’s Babbo was going to be waiting to pick us up.
Pisa to Florence was fine, a peasant journey through the Tuscany scenery, but then on arrival our problems continued. We didn’t know which train was going to take us to our next connection, so spent a few minutes hunting it down. Finally we found it and started walking up the platform, just as said train started pulling out the station.
By now I’ve gone beyond fed up and reached resigned.
Having waited another half hour we got the next train, but to add to the economic fun of this scenario, this was apparently a special ‘Inter-City’ train, so although we’d already bought tickets, we had to buy a supplementary ticket as well, don’t ask, I never worked that one out.
By the time we’d got to our next change, Paolo clearly realized another potential journey via public transport might push Silvia and I over the edge, so instead of waiting in Perugia he’d come to meet us directly.
A couple of hour later we eventually got back to Cerreto d'Esi, at 8pm, a full 7 hours behind our usual schedule and about £250 worse off.
All this for missing a tube at 7am by 20 seconds.