Off to Italy (By Plane)

After leaving the boat in La Rapida Marina, and saying goodbye to Jamie, Lucy and Nick who were staying on for an extra day, it was off to Palma airport for a slightly different European adventure.

The first surprise was Palma airport itself – it was huge. Half of Europe seems to descend here for holiday season. We got there in plenty of time to catch our 29 euro Ryan Air flight to Girona, which is an hour out of Barcelona. We’d bought Ryan Air flights from Girona to Pescara much earlier when we thought we’d be near Barcelona, so we just got flights to the same airport from Palma.

What we didn’t realise was that Ryan Air have this thing about their on time arrival record, and to keep their record intact they close the gates a good 30 minutes before the flight leaves. Being in the dark, we were the very last ones to get to the gate as it closed and we were in the air 15 minutes before the scheduled flight time.

Other than that we found Ryan Air to be pretty good and were highly amused when they got to Girona on time and played the horse racing tune you here all the time when placings are confirmed. Then everyone on board clapped. Hilarious.

Cas’ research on google suggested that it was a petty that lots of people flew into Girona without actually visiting the city itself. We thought about going to the coast but in the end we’d done a lot of coast and an inland city sounded like a pleasant change.

So Girona it was and we weren’t disappointed. We had two nights – one on the way to Pescara and one coming from Pescara. The old town is quite beautiful, with its narrow streets and outer wall overlooking rolling green hills.

The politics of the place was equally as interesting. There were Catalonian flags everywhere, with big posters proclaiming Catalonia as the new European State. There was not a Spanish flag to be seen. We chatted with one of the waiters at the restaurant we ate at and he made it clear that everybody around these here parts thoughts they’d be better off without Spain. Especially with the European financial crisis as their take on it was that they made all the money and funded Madrid. Now, where have I heard that one before???

The next morning, we hoped onto Ryan Air once again and headed off to Pescara. 2 hours later, we were collecting our bags and being greeted by Stefi and Min – Cas’ two partners in crime, going back 25 years ago when they gathered on a beach in Pescara.

Steffi and her husband, Adriano have a beautiful house and land in the hills overlooking Pescara, where they grown their own produce and make their own wine, and rarely have I encountered better hosts. Cas and I stayed 1200m down the road at a cute little guest house that Steffi had arranged for us – but most of the time we were up at the house or out and about with Steffi and Adriano. Min and Matt and their kids stayed at the house.

We had a whirlwind few days sampling some great restaurants, hanging out at Steffi and Adriano’s house, eating beautiful food and drinking wine and beer, swimming in the pool and spa, visiting the (private) beach, and doing a bit of shopping. And listening to the First Test on the internet. The highlight for me was undoubtedly the dinner we had on the beach, where the beach gets transformed at night with carpet laid down and tables coming out to seat 2000 very well dressed Italians for a beautiful meal under the stars, with the sea lapping on the beach just a few metres away.

It was good to see the three girls reunited and it will be good to get back to Pescara on La Mischief in late August and hopefully take Steffi sailing to Croatia which is only 60nm away. It made saying goodbye much easier knowing we would catch up in a month or so.

Back on Ryan Air, we jetted off back to Girona and this time we picked a hotel right in the old city. We had another nice night there, albeit Sunday when everything was shut, and headed off to the airport at 10am in the morning.

What I should have said was headed off to the airport with the passports at 10am. But I didn’t because it would not be a true thing to write!!!! We made it all the way into the actual airport before it dawned on us that the passports were still in the safe at the hotel. Ooooops!!! Into another taxi and back into town – 20 minutes away. A phone call to the hotel ensured the passports were waiting at reception. Another phone call to the local city council would have been good saying please don’t sweep the narrow laneway in front of the hotel until after we’ve left. And please don’t get someone on foot to sweep in front of the street sweeper with a broom to really slow things down. Three corners later, after what seemed an eternity, the taxi driver and myself stopped swearing at the slow-moving sweeper as we got on the main drag.

Meanwhile, Cas was at the airport doing what all good girls do in a crisis – shop. One handbag later – and hopefully no speeding tickets for my very helpful taxi driver – we managed to check in with minutes to spare and made our plane back to Palma.

For photos of Girona see

For photos of Pescara see

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