Day 3: Bologna

Our third day involved a move from Florence to Bologna before heading home. Fortunately we had become familiar enough with Florence following our exertions yesterday that we knew the journey from our apartment to Santa Maria Novella very well and so weren’t in a rush. And so we had a 15-minute stroll to the train station, bought our tickets from the machine, and began our journey to the hometown of spaghetti bolognese.

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Day 2: Florence

We had a whole day to spend in Florence today, but we knew that that wouldn’t actually be a lot of time because there is just so much to see and do in Florence. Our apartment was located on the southern side of the Arno, so we decided to spend the morning exploring that side of the river and head to the main town centre in the afternoon.

We starting strolling along the banks of the river. The apartment is very near the Ponte Vecchio, a medieval bridge which is filled with (mainly expensive jewellery) shops. It had been difficult to walk across last night because it was so busy with people, but this morning we had a beautiful view back towards it.

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Day 1: Pisa

When I unexpectedly found that I had an unused day of annual leave a few months ago, the opportunity to slip in an extra trip abroad this year seemed like too good a chance to pass up. It would be November before I had chance to squeeze in a day off and we weren’t sure where would be good to travel to at that time of year when it’s no longer summer but not yet close enough to Christmas to be festive. A search of the Ryanair website soon revealed that there were cheap flights available from Stansted to Pisa on the first Saturday of November, as well as reasonable flights back from Bologna the following Monday. Tim had the idea for a route from Pisa to Bologna via Florence. It sounded like fun, and we invited my sister Helen to come along for her first full trip to Italy as well 馃檪

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Afternoon 4: Valencia

It was guesswork as we pulled into a train station in Valencia. I could see that it wasn’t the one I had read about but it didn’t feature on my map. So the question was whether to get off at the outskirts, or risk staying on board and potentially not encounter another stop until Alicante. I had a flight to catch and a little bit of mystery wouldn’t do me any harm, so I got off there and then and then walked in what I hoped would be the right direction.

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Morning 4: Tarragona

The sun was shining when I awoke, although it had been so wet the previous evening that the pavements were still glistening. I jumped out of bed, packed (= trying to force all the books I’d greedily bought into my hand luggage), and dashed downstairs for the breakfast I’d ordered yesterday on the spur of the moment, my first of the holiday. My train to Valencia was set to leave at 10:55, so if I wanted to see Tarragona, I’d have to do so quickly.

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