Ready for a big adventure!
So we’d flown to Pisa, had spent a day in Florence and a morning exploring the sights that Pisa had to offer; now we were on to the next part of our adventure which was making it to Elba by train.
Taxis in Pisa seem to be few and far between, getting one was a challenge and we were against the wire.
With a taxi finally booked, we hopped from foot to foot, looked up and down the road and willed it to come. The seconds ticked by and with them our chances of making the next train on time were slipping away.
Eventually, after a second phone call, the taxi arrived. It was a short ride to the station but it felt like an age; we piled out as fast as we’d piled in – every second counted as it ticked by. We divised a plan: I and the children headed for the platform in a bid to speed things up while Mark bought tickets. We were seriously up against the wall now, with mere minutes to play with, making this train was looking less and less likely but we did our damnedest.
I developed a human convoy system to get the children and luggage up and down the station stairs to the platform – the train was in but Mark was not on the platform and nowhere in sight!
Tickets in hand and holding two suitcases( doing his best Delboy impression) he hurtled to the platform as the train sloped out of the station without us! Damn we’d lost it by seconds.
The next train was more expensive but still direct, we hauled everything back to the ticket office to pay the difference. After a chat, we were directed to another non-stop train to Piombino at no extra cost; it pays to speak the lingo.
This gave us some time to get a few refreshments before heading back, yet again, to the platform.
Tickets stamped ( do not forget this most important of tasks)we boarded the train and located our seats. Baggage stowed, I watched the children slip into technology-induced comas. Mark went to sleep and I enjoyed the solitude of a book as the rhythmic sound of the train soothed my stress, I watched the Italian countryside ramble by enjoying the halt in physical movement. Two and a half hours pass relatively quickly when everyone is calmly occupied.
Hurray for modern technology and WIFI on trains.
We were fortunate in that the train went directly to Piombino port, we had been expecting to have to get a bus from the town and, we would have done just that if the inspector ( see they do check your tickets) hadn’t told me that we could stay on the train all the way to the port. This became a tad unnerving when everyone, bar us, got off in the town and I doubled checked to be sure I had understood correctly.
A further fifteen minutes and we arrived at the port. Four ferry companies serve Elba: Tormar, Moby line, Blu Navy and Corsica Ferries. We paid €41 for the four of us for the twenty-minute crossing to Cavo.
There was something strangely captivating about rolling off that boat, maybe it was the sea air coupled with the stunning view, or maybe it was the sense of walking in my grandfather’s footsteps, seeing the world of his early childhood; whatever it was Elba had me from the off.
It was early evening when we arrived, the heat of the day had gone but the humidity remained. The sun was getting hazy as it slid into the evening, hire boats were making their way back into harbour and a few hardcore sun-seekers still languished on the beach.
As we rolled single file towards our apartment, I knew it was going to be a good week.