May 16, 2023
It has been an exciting day.
Lesson 1 learned today: Don’t wait for your bags to go through customs at Heathrow, London. Bags are automatically sent to your connecting flight, which is Florence.
I didn’t know this information and waited for my bags on the carousel in London. They didn’t come. I missed my flight to Florence.
Lesson 2: The airlines will not help you to get another flight. You have to book it on your cell phone. I can book a flight on Swiss Air that leaves in four hours. I had enough points on my Capital One card to pay for the flight. Swiss Air is in Terminal 2, and I am in Terminal 5. I will take a train to the next terminal. I have never been to such a huge airport. My flight arrives in Florence at 10:30 p.m.
Before I left Phoenix, Arizona I scheduled a driver to pick me up at the airport in Florence. I won’t be there.
My right leg aches as I walk through the airport to catch the train to the next terminal. I also have problems with my shoulders. They tell me it is arthritis. I walk slower than usual. What’s the hurry? I have four hours.
I arrive at Terminal 5 and go to the Swiss Air counter to get my ticket. They issue my ticket, and I ask about my bag. “It will be loaded onto the airplane and arrive with you in Florence.
On my flight from Philadelphia to London, Phoenix doesn’t have a direct flight with British Air; my seat is in Economy Premium. Wider seats, soft blankets, and dividers between reclining seats provide a more comfortable but pricier way to travel.
In terminal 5, I talk to a young lady from the Netherlands. We have a short conversation about her occupation and mine, which is retired. I like talking to young people. They are so full of great ideas and future dreams. I walk into a British Pub near the waiting area and order an avocado toast. Avocado toast in England is a lunch item, not a breakfast item.
I am tired. I haven’t slept for twenty-four hours. What time is it? What day is it?
I board my flight to Florence. I sleep most of the way. I arrive in Florence, and I have no bag. My bag was not loaded onto the Swiss Air flight. It stayed in London. I know that because I put an air tag in my bag.
It is midnight and very dark. There are not many people at the airport in Florence. I walk around the corner to the taxi stand. I show the address to the taxi driver and he and he tells me it will be 25 euros.
He drops me off in front of my hotel. It is not really a “hotel” but a room on the third floor of a very old building with a very big mahogany entry door. I think it was mahogany. I ask the driver not to leave until I am inside the building. It was dark, and there was no one around. I open the door and step into the corridor. I wave, and the driver leaves.
I enter the elevator, which looks more like a cage. I close the door, and the alarm sounds. I open the door, and the alarm stops. I close the door again, and the alarm sounds. “Hello, Hello” I yell. No one answers. An older lady walks in and enters the cage. She shows me that I must close one side of the door and then the other. She gets off at the third floor with me. “Thank you,” I say.
I preview my notes on how to get inside my room. I pushed in the numbers to open the door. I enter, and there are six rooms. I don’t know which is my room and I don’t have a key. It is 1:30 am. I look around, and there is a sofa. I will sleep on the sofa until the morning. No, I can’t do that because there is no bathroom.
I call the owner and wake him up. He tells me that I must find the “house” with the number 6 and enter the code he gives me. I open the box, find the key, open my door, and fall on the bed, fully clothed. I woke up at 12:00 p.m. the next day.
I have no clothing, toothbrush, or makeup. I wait two days before my bag shows up.