After 24 hours on the road it can start to become a challenge to see the lighter side of situations. I like to laugh instead of getting angry, but sometimes your nerves get frayed from crying babies keeping you awake and one too many hurdles to overcome. This is when a great travel book comes in handy. Sometimes it is enough to know that someone had it worse than you. Even sweeter, if the travel book is also full of humor.
It was serendipitous that on the afternoon that my travel plans dissolved like sugar in hot tea, I discovered Bill Bryson has a new travel book. If you have never read Notes from a Small Island or Walk in the Woods (or any of his dozen books), then you have many great days of reading ahead. Just one warning: do not read in public because you will laugh out loud so hard you will snort embarrassingly. I had no idea that it has already been 20 years since his memoir of tramping around the UK was published. He did some more long walks to celebrate and captured his misadventures in The Road to Little Dribbling.
I was in the Gatwick airport bookstore and it was already past the 24-hour mark since I departed from Sacramento when I discovered Bill Bryson wrote a new book. My flight had already disappeared from the marquee, and I knew it had been rerouted to Pisa and was delayed 2 hours. I was going to miss dinner with my cycling fan friends but still had hopes of getting to the Villa I Barronci before midnight.
As soon as I boarded the sauna like Vueling flight and wedged myself in the middle seat, I cracked open the Bryson cure. If anything could inoculate me from grumpiness, reading Dribbling would. Sure enough before they could circulate the air in the cabin I was smiling. I did not worry about my fellow passengers noticing my mirth as they were so absorbed in their electronic gadgets that they did not even acknowledge me.
I am so glad I had taken the cure because as we stepped off the plane and onto the tarmac it began to rain in Pisa. I made friends with Janet from Cambridge, England and we helped one another figure out where to catch the bus to Florence. As she predicted, there was much faffing around before everyone collected their bags, and the airline provided us buses, and we loaded on, and they counted people and we finally began the journey to Florence.
I was punchy by the time I collapsed into a taxi at midnight and gave him the Villa’s address. I thought if my mom was with me we would have been side-sore from giggling as the GPS sent my driver on U turn after U turn. I called Jacinta my tour guide when we turned on the road to Rome. Once she put us in touch with Leonard from reception to speak to my driver in Italian, we course corrected and arrived about 30 minutes after we should have. The driver took 20 Euros off the bill, which was very decent of him.
Leonard was handsome and welcoming and made more attractive by bringing me a plate of Italian ham and cheese with bread. My room is so comfortable and this morning I discovered the views just shout “Tuscany!”
We cannot control very much when we travel. We do get to choose our attitude. I am so glad Mr. Bryson gave me a much needed assist so I could see the brighter side of the situation.