Trip: London to Florence


The flight from London to Florence was on Meridiana. One could interpret the service as being brusk, but I think you have to take some cultural differences into account. On an Anglo-Saxon airline, everyone waits to be asked whether they want coffee or tea. On an Italian airline, everyone speaks up. The flight attendants roll the cart up and down the aisles as quickly as they can, hoping no one screams at them too loudly. If you really want something you can grab them.

The flight was only two hours, so there's not a lot that can happen good or bad. Most of the people on the flight were also going to the IT conference. While my neighbor on the left read PC Week, I studied the guidebooks and the phrasebook. Probably the most interesting reading material of all was a crooked, staticky Xerox they passed out, imploring people who came from areas with "Food-and Mouth Disease" to stay away from Italian animals. Food and mouth is often a problem in Britain, and with all due respect, no one had packed a roast (or soggy chips) in their luggage. If food was going to go in any direction at all, it would certainly be going the other way.

The airport in Florence was tiny. We got a bus from the plane to the terminal, though we could have walked just as easily. It was more to avoid liability for passengers getting stuck in the turbines than for their own convenience, since the driver didn't move until the bus was overstuffed. Florence Airport was in the process of being refurbished, and even at that late hour, there were painters on scaffolds touching up the walls. This was our first introduction to the great Florentine painters, who worked prolifically through the centuries, as well as around the clock.

With the two hour flight and the one-hour time difference, it was midnight when we finally got where we were going. The torpedo-shaped sandwiches on the plane were pretty dismal, but they did have mass and volume. It was a shame that the first meal in Italy wasn't that night, but at least I didn't go to bed hungry.