91006..–Stuck in “FLO” (?) Because RyanAIR takes the Pisa..! ;)
Grass Routes Notes = Stuck in "FLO" (?) Because of RyanAir taking the Pisa..! 😉
Theres a good chance being "stuck in Florence" being an erotic experience <smile>, IF that was the name of one of the very attractive curvy young ladies I met in "FLO" – in fact the city reminded me of my old "Aunt FLO" i recall as a kid, she was old, (everyone is "old" when U are a kid!) but with a lot of stories & character 😉 ….yes folks another "story" of mishaps & (dark) humour from the travelling RED…(Fiorentina CL away 29 sept 09)…
Sunday (27 sept 09)
Dix had booked my RyanAir flight via Maastricht =-planning to be away until an early return from Sunday until Wednesday…this seasons CL games give us 3 new venues ; Fiorentina (Florence) Lyon & Budapest..all of which I was looking forward to the trips; new stadiums and, perhaps new friends & experiences…I left Zw (NL) early by road to Maastricht, just as well, as (again) the Dutch closed the motorway …(tip = travel early if U go to a dutch airport on a sunday)..I parked the Zbus in the long term, and proceeded to check in, I had noticed that the printout didnt comply with my passport so I wrote the correction on it, & pointed this out to the girl & she told me "ok go to boarding" ( no "penalty" delay, or extra charge) …however she couldnt change the POisa checkin copy (in fact I discovered that once printed it is IMPOSSIBLE to rectify computer glitches or online check-in errors @ RyanAir)
They are happy though to sell bus transfer tickets on the flight, and although I had to wait over an hour (in the sun) at the small Pisa airport for the next bus to FLO..I was happy that I had "reserved" the ONLY overnight bus return for wednesday morning…(Tip = Ryan Air offer "terravision" bus transfers, – Pisa to FLO single = e10 & return ticket e16..but during normal times it only costs about e6 by train, which runs almost every half hour DIRECT to the airport to/from S. Novella train station)
Graham & other REDS were booked at (tip) CIAOhostel so I reserved abed by email & Massimo confirmed it on the phone), in the next street by the station, it was clean, cheap (costing between e15-19 per bed P/P per night..)nice kitchen & 2 bathrooms for every section & max 4 persons per room, and IF you get a room at the rear you WONT be kept awake by the busy traffic noise outside the FRONT of the building. I went off fto a nearby Pizzeria , prices were "ok" & met room-mates (aussie) SH & (Kiwi) Niel…before having a re;atively early night..
The next morning went "walkies" & a "capu" with Niel (tip be aware of tourist prices on piazza giovanni or anywhere by the Duomo coffee cost e5 each) – they were seperately touring Europe..I left several messages with "Eric" the receptionist to ensure Graham (who had my match ticket ) would know which room I was In, however, Eric (who at first seemed bright…but…) couldnt understand my annoyance that he had let Graham checkin & go out without mentioning it.
as Graham is XL size and there were probably only 1 or 2 guests passing through the small (1 door) reception every hour ..its almost impossible to miss him..but Eric did…so after a meal in the kitchen invited the 2 room-mates to go "walkabout" in FLO…we had a couple of bevvies (or colas in Niels case) @ "Jolly caffe" (via S. Gallo) and a chat with cheery brazilian waiter who i shall call "san pauli" 😉 …& the guys helped me find Finnigans pub (although closed) in the same strada, after midnight I got a bit more sleep but had to wake earel;y to find my ticket-mate.
08.30h I reluctantly banged on their door and Steve answered and about half an hour later with ticket in hand but a hangover in his head…the 3 of us headed off to see "David" & "Ponte Vechio" (Flo’s old bridge & major tourist attraction) and my next priority was to find a place to store my bag (as the station lock-up wasnt open between 24h & 06h – my departure time!) ..(tip= I have previously left my bag at local irish pubs where our fans have "partied", if U are a RED its a possible solution) however due to the police ban on alchohol (*** see foot notes for FSE) the owner (Scot & Celtic fan Simon) & barman Toby told me they would be closed match day/night…but thanks to Fiorentina/LFC releasing tickets only a week before (& some "fan points collectors" there were enough "spares" (cost GBP25) for both SH & Niel to be able to join me (for their first ever major european footy game) and thus I could leave my bag in the room that night..
The 2 guys forget their passports & we yet still met LFC fans Dave & his son, Rory at the Piazza S. Novella where a LFC "official" told us that the police were arranging buses to come to ("find us") and pick us up directly where a few hundred REDS had spontaneously assembled (outside the other Irish pub, whose mafia connections must be fine, as they WERE open) …we packed the bus & started singing and then 2 italian bizzie-cars (polizia) and 2 behiind wizzed us to the stadium at almost full speed through the old city, with amused locals wavbing or clapping us all the way…the match (see http://www.liverpoolfc.tv for reports or http://www.redandwhitekop.net for opinions) was a rare defeat as our team (dressed as R. Madrid?) didnt turn up until the 2nd half by which time Fiorentina, in violet kit, had scored 2, we still "dominated" possesion 40-60% but failed to trurn one of our many shots into goals…although I always felt if we had got one goa, we would get 2 or even 3…their fans had WELCOLMED us off the bus, and with a traditional flag display, free pasta & water, were hungry to swap scarves & exchange compliments with us,,their banner (in front of a mosaic on their main end stand that the KOp would be proud of read" WELCOME REDS, FOR US YOUR STORY IS LEGEND"…and it was the fastest EXIT from a stadium, as instead of the expected "holding period"we usually get treated to, within about 15 minutes we were on a police escorted bus back to town ..with their fans again waving & applauding us all the way…(although we had a short 10 minutes "cooling off" walk back to the centro citta)
Niel accompanied to pick up my bag & we met the others at a (murphys) irish bar ..and I stayed until closing time (and beyond) joking with (yes!) barladies FLO (tiny girl who danced with me) , Lara & a girl customer called Anna-Lisa..by the time they locked up & finishe dchatting with the (local) bar manager & other custoners , it was time to catch my 03.35 (reserved seat) bus to Pisa…however..
I was in good time for the flight (still almost 2 hrs before) and being reasonable, I (again) pointed out the error on my online checkin ..THIS time, a humourless RyanAir checkin girl told me it was "unacceptable" (company policy!) and I must PAY e40 aqt the ticket desk!!..I went there to argue, and met a brick wall in the shape of a humourless & impolite local woman, (i speak some itlian due to my wine trade time in Trentino 20-odd years ago) ..I thought "ok I could pay it and try to claim back later"(although RyanAir usually ignore complaints of this kind) …
There was only one ATM upstairs and my dutch card didnt work!…so I decided (as far as I was concerned I had the right documents to go through to security) they passed me through to the boarding gate, and then, we started boarding almost an hour early the TWO RyanAir staff blocked me…one italian woman & an uptight english tw*t..they were prepared to hold up everyone whilst stopping me,…I was told I could only get a decison from the (feemale) "supervisor""(no name , only "number 300") whom I found in her office with a face from hell..she wasnt interested , didnt listen to me, didnt care , just repeated no & I was given a RECEIPT for the extra charge, as they arrogantly already prepared it without hearing my claim..I said, "please, if U could be so kind to help me, (their strict new check in policy only came into force the next day!?) as the ATM isnt accepting my card & I will be stuck here if U dont let me on", she said (rudely) NO, ANYWAY, the gate is closed"…I disputed that with a smile.."surely U can let me on, theres still more than 20 minutes to scheduled departure, the plane is only parked a few metres from this building, and I only have carry-on baggage ( Ryan probably hates guys like me, because I usually dont pay ":extras" by taking only carry on baggage & booking flights at the cheapest time, ) she was a brick wall…(wow have I had a summer-full of b*tches)…
I went back to FLO and the eurlines bus ddint leave for hamster until friday (cost e96) & the train cost e200, (compared to the e300 ryan tried to land me with)…luckily SH & Niel still there,I just had enough cash for the hostel that night, so, I asked SH to book me (online!)on the next Ryan flight (also friday from Pisa) it was still less than 60 euroes (one way) back to Maastricht..I offered to transfer from my account as I still didnt know if my card was working …it did work in FLO, (although I remembered I could have withdrawn from the italian bank, anyway..) Niel left & I had a snack with SH before he took his train to Rome, I went back to the hostel and they changed my rom to the (quiet) rear..and there was Texan BU having problems getting online..(CIAO has "wifi") ..that evening I cooked in the kitchen and told BU that I would get an early night…no party…!
Its had been between 25-30 degrees and I had worn shorts all week, and even though there was some clud this day, it was still warm enoug, and I went to the old bridge getting ripped off by an old cafe owner on the way (should clone him & his shop & compete globally with starbucks <smile>) – there I spoke in a mixture of italian & english with a nice girl (Tara, working for vox netwroks -audio for tourists)..before going for a pint of (draft) Kilkenny at Finnigans,,,a siesta then BU and I went to eat @ "Yellow bar & restaurant" (promoted by a street actress when I was talking with Tara earlier) ..food ok, a litre of vino da tavola only e8 ..(cheap for FLO!) ..and we did a tour of Finnigans, Jolly Caffe before getting back to the "josua tree"..where Lara, Anna-Lisa & a group of ladies from OZ were in party mood, BU left me there to once more be the last client to leave the bar <smile> one lady (Rach?) was getting close and in my earlier days I might have taken advantage, but I told her mate (Mandy) to take her back to their hotel, ..
Friday 3rd October 09
a young couple (more aussies; Loughlan & LIbby) woke me up TOO early, and I showered, had a tea & BU & I went off to catch a train to Pisa (I had told BU of Ryans cheap flights, and @conditions..but…) we both decided that a visit to the leaning tower" was a "MUST SEE" (I took e700 cash out just @pisa "in case" for the coming month) …and did that before having a coffee at the airport, BU was off to visit a friend in Strasbourg (via Frankfurt) and I hope that I will one day meet the staff of the irish bar, (especially Lara <smile>) ,other room-mates of last week, BU (& his chinese girlfriend) one day…(i-a)…on the poisitive side – although I broke my budgetr by about 200 euros it meant I had an extended stay in "FLO" ..<smile> …not erotic, but not bad either, even the match result & the airline ***** didnt put me off – although I must say I was happy to be driving towards tçabin & Tom’s farewell party @ the cafe in ZonderEigen before he goes off with his 2cv convoy to BongaTanga(Ghana) for the winter, so I am once more staying in "without me" for the winter…
p.s. this is an extreme time of the year, the REDS lost @ Chelski sunday, which is also the day , 29 years ago, that I married my deceased 2nd wife (Jacqui) ..the events of 1986, 1989, 1996…were "dramatic" ..(as mentioned in my blog and the "book too" ("you’ve got to get in to get out…")