I spent all of Friday at the airport again, once again being ignored then ultimately rejected for flights from alitalia. There was a bigger group of staff today, about 20 and only 3 got away! At the last minute I decided to give the delta flight a go - it was well oversold, in a different terminal and much more difficult to try for. Alitalia keep you landside and do not take your baggage or ticket or put you through security checks until you get a boarding pass. Delta are the opposite, they take your ticket (which you may need to reuse), your luggage (ditto), you go through security and wait at the gate to get on ( and if unsuccessful have to be rescreened and wait for your luggage which hopefully has not been put on the plane, get your ticket back and then take the train to the other terminal to try for the last alitalia flight with 2 hours spare). I got the last seat, only after they closed the bridge and flight but did a seat recount before takeoff. I was so happy to get on that plane!
Oh the joys of travelling in economy in the middle seat on an overnighter - don't think I slept. Arrival procedures in Rome - get off the plane walk through passport control who don't look at your passport no documentation no customs, get your bag and go. I look a local train to tiburtina, then a local bus for a 3 hour journey to Siena. I have only seen bad rome - graffiti along the trainlines and very ugly concrete jungle apartment blocks, but am sure the old city will be very beautiful.
The road journey went through beautiful countryside, soon enough you were seeing ancient hilltop villages, aquaducts and stone villas. Once I got into tuscany proper the landscape softened with rolling countryside and grapes, and more tidy stone villages. I got to Siena at 1530 and the girls arrived shortly before me, having picked up the car and driven from Pisa. I have met up with Karen, Kath and Katie to stay for a week in a stone farmhouse outside of Siena. The picture is of the farmhouse, it is rustic and charming, exposed beam roof, white interior, antiques and rustic farm furniture, a vegetable garden and the most amazing view! We have a fully equipped kitchen and I am thrilled to be able to cook Italian food with Italian ingredients in Tuscany. A supermarket shop got me ingredients to cook steak with a spice rub, asparagus and baby potatoes, salumi and cheese (the selection and price were amazing) and a monstor 1.5 litre bottle of local red wine for €4. Rocket, lemons and herbs from the garden rounded off our first meal just nicely. It is so good to be in Italy, it is as beautiful as I imagined and I have a fun week ahead with the girls.