lillibet: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] gilana and I just had a lovely mid-winter getaway to Las Vegas! She brought her camera (mine was at home recording [livejournal.com profile] daily_alice, which I’ll update soon, for all the baby-junkies out there who are jonesin’) and you can check out the full gallery here or click on any of the thumbnails below for larger versions of specific images.

We did so much every day that I think I’ll do this by category instead of chronology.

Transportation )

Weather )


Hotel(s) )

Shows )

Attractions )

Shopping )

Food )

Overall This was a really nice trip. Gilly and I turn out to be good travel partners—we have similar interests, both are willing to take the lead and make decisions and roll with whatever actually happens, and we communicate well about what we need.

This was my first time away from Alice and it was strange not to see someone I’ve spent time with every day for the past two years, but at the same time nice to have a break and to know that I can go away if I need or want to. She asked about me and missed me and seemed very glad to have me back today, but never got upset about my being gone, which is excellent. Poor Jason was sick as a dog the whole time I was gone—shades of his trip to Toronto last year, when I got summer flu—but the family and [livejournal.com profile] muffyjo were happy to help him through, as they do me.

Vegas is a great place for a short trip. After a few days the constant stimulus begins to be wearing—if I stayed longer, I’d definitely spend a day out at the Hoover Dam or the Grand Canyon, or just laze around the hotel pool for an afternoon—but it is a great place to be a tourist. There are so many nifty things and beautiful uses of glass and light and interesting architectural features and new uses of technology and outrageously tacky bits that just wandering around is an entertainment all by itself.

Oh, right! Gambling )
lillibet: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] gilana and I just had a lovely mid-winter getaway to Las Vegas! She brought her camera (mine was at home recording [livejournal.com profile] daily_alice, which I’ll update soon, for all the baby-junkies out there who are jonesin’) and you can check out the full gallery here or click on any of the thumbnails below for larger versions of specific images.

We did so much every day that I think I’ll do this by category instead of chronology.

Transportation )

Weather )


Hotel(s) )

Shows )

Attractions )

Shopping )

Food )

Overall This was a really nice trip. Gilly and I turn out to be good travel partners—we have similar interests, both are willing to take the lead and make decisions and roll with whatever actually happens, and we communicate well about what we need.

This was my first time away from Alice and it was strange not to see someone I’ve spent time with every day for the past two years, but at the same time nice to have a break and to know that I can go away if I need or want to. She asked about me and missed me and seemed very glad to have me back today, but never got upset about my being gone, which is excellent. Poor Jason was sick as a dog the whole time I was gone—shades of his trip to Toronto last year, when I got summer flu—but the family and [livejournal.com profile] muffyjo were happy to help him through, as they do me.

Vegas is a great place for a short trip. After a few days the constant stimulus begins to be wearing—if I stayed longer, I’d definitely spend a day out at the Hoover Dam or the Grand Canyon, or just laze around the hotel pool for an afternoon—but it is a great place to be a tourist. There are so many nifty things and beautiful uses of glass and light and interesting architectural features and new uses of technology and outrageously tacky bits that just wandering around is an entertainment all by itself.

Oh, right! Gambling )
lillibet: (Default)
Arlington's Farmer's Market started today. It's a cool, grey day with intermittent, misty rain, but we bundled Alice up and set out to see what we would find. It's not a huge market, but it includes a reasonable variety of stalls and products.

Our Haul )

We also stopped at the Little Red Barn, a new produce market here in town. They didn't have much that looked exciting, but we got a tiny little watermelon that I'm excited for--I haven't had any watermelon yet this year.

Now I'm very excited for dinner!
lillibet: (Default)
Arlington's Farmer's Market started today. It's a cool, grey day with intermittent, misty rain, but we bundled Alice up and set out to see what we would find. It's not a huge market, but it includes a reasonable variety of stalls and products.

Our Haul )

We also stopped at the Little Red Barn, a new produce market here in town. They didn't have much that looked exciting, but we got a tiny little watermelon that I'm excited for--I haven't had any watermelon yet this year.

Now I'm very excited for dinner!
lillibet: (Default)
On Monday night we introduced Steve and Trish to the joys of YMing and to
our friend Jo, who joined us for dinner. Afterwards we raced home to watch
our new addiction, _Waking the Dead_, a BBC show somewhat like CSI.

On Tuesday I roasted the beef that had been taking up most of my freezer.
Jo was home all day awaiting builders and Jason's friend Lauren. The plan
had been that Lauren would arrive in London on Monday, spend that night in a
hotel with a friend, see the friend off to Greece, then stay with Jo for a
few nights until our guest room freed up. No word from her on Monday. No
word from her all day on Tuesday. Jo came over for dinner, figuring that
Lauren had her mobile number and our number. Still no word. We were really
beginning to get nervous when Jason got email from Lauren explaining that
she had suffered from a major panic attack and would not be coming. That
alleviated our concern on one front, at least, and got Jo off the hook on
housing guests with no kitchen. The roast beef turned out well, too.

Having decided that a big joint anniversary present would be more fun than
individual ones, and that this was the perfect occasion to use up the
Harrods gift certificates that Jason's cousin gave us as a wedding present,
we went down to Knightsbridge on Wednesday afternoon. Jason had never been
upstairs in Harrods, so that was half the fun, just wandering through the
miles of showrooms--who buys their refrigerator at Harrods?! We looked at
many pretty things, but quickly decided that a clock was the perfect gift
for ourselves. It's a very traditional, round wall-clock with a rim of
polished wood and brass, and on the face it has the maker's name and
"LONDON," so it will always remind us of our time here.

That decision made, we went downstairs, first to the Harrod's gift shop,
where Jason decided that he should have the Harrods 2002 bear, "Giles," in
his wooly jumper, and I got the peacock tin that has stuck in my head since
I was there with B. in July. Then we moved on to the food halls, where we
picked up various tasty bits that appealed to us including smoked wild
venison, spicy salami (spinata calabrese), smoked Spanish ham (jamon
serrano), herring in sour cream, squat lobster tails in brine, a selection
of pakoras and samosas (Indian dumplings), chicken fried rice, Thai
stir-fried vegetables, smoked trout and swordfish, cornichons, oak-smoked
cheddar and aged Emmenthal, a couple of baguettes, a roll of salmon stuffed
with minced prawn, a couple of lychees and a mangosteen, a box of chocolates
and a selection of single-serving tartes (raspberry mousse, fruit tarte,
chocolate cake, and caramel-apple cheesecake).

We hopped on the tube to come home, but there were massive delays on the
Picadilly line, so at Picadilly Circus we ran upstairs and jumped in a cab,
so we could get home to feed all our goodies to Steve & Trish, along with a
jar of lobster bisque from our Christmas hamper that we've never found
occasion to eat before. It was all delicious and there was plenty left for
lunch the next two days.

Trish's birthday is the 21st, but she would be home in Seattle by then, so
we decided that Thursday--their last day in London--would do as a stand-in.
We sent Steve & Trish off to the matinee of _Stones in His Pockets_ (which
they enjoyed very much) and met them afterwards at the Congress Centre on
Great Russell Street to see a reading by Iain Banks in the same venue where
we'd seen Neil Gaiman read last month. (Speaking of whom, did everyone hear
that he won the Hugo for his novel, _American Gods_?) I'd never seen Banks
before and it was a real eye-opener. He's very like many of the
40-something, shaggy sf fans I've known, but Scottish. Very Scottish.
Talking thick and quick, he took us through two bits of his new book, _Dead
Air_, and then answered questions for about an hour. It was great to hear
explanations of the structures of his works and his intentions and
inspirations. The overwhelming impression, however, was that I will have to
read his books faster in the future!

After the reading we grabbed a train from Tottenham Court Road up to Chalk
Farm and walked over the tracks to Odette's. It was noisier there than I've
ever known it to be, but the food was wonderful. They had substantially
changed their menu since our last visit, but still had the fried-oyster
starter with tuna and makerel sashimi, duck prosciutto, and small dabs of
pureed melon--it's such a wonderful combination of flavors and textures that
I couldn't pass up one more chance at it. Part of me really wanted the
fillet of beef, but I'd had so much red meat this week that I let Jason talk
me into the sea-bass, which was served on a "compote" of prawns and
lettuces, with a scoop of fresh, course tomato paste on top. For dessert I
had the grilled peaches with a slice of French toast (tho' they didn't call
it that) and a scoop of fresh pistachio ice cream. Steve & Trish asked what
we would recommend and we confessed that it's hard to know because nothing
we've had there hasn't been fabulous.

Quickly around the rest of the table: Jason started with the soft-shelled
crab and smoked salmon, followed by the lamb with rosti potatoes, with the
apple tarte fine (no crust) for dessert. Steve & Trish split the native
lobster salad, then he had the lamb and she the Dover sole. Dessert was a
bit rushed, because unlike the 20-30 minutes it has taken in the past for a
taxi to arrive, this time--since I remembered to ask them to call when they
brought our desserts--it arrived before we finished our coffee or had our
bill. But it was nice to make it home so quickly and easily and we enjoyed
giving Trish the book of _Artists' Gardens_ we had found for her before
seeing them off to bed.

They spent Friday morning packing and preparing to leave and then we all
shared a last lunch, making sandwiches from the Harrods goodies, before it
was time for them to head toward Heathrow for the long journey back to
Seattle.

On Friday afternoon we got the final estimate from our contractors for the
work we need done on the house, which also included a lot of work they think
needs doing that we can do ourselves. It was a lot like the experience of
being swarmed by souvenir vendors in Egypt--you just have to keep saying
"No, no, no, no, no!" So we spent a while stressing about it all and
deciding that we can live without re-doing the bathroom and all will be
well.

We spent Friday evening with Jo, meeting her friend Justin, seeing her newly
re-ceilinged kitchen--the plaster is brown!--and going to see _Bourne
Identity_. We thought it was a fun chase, nothing to do with the book,
really, but streamlined and well-shot. Afterwards we picked up chicken
doner kebabs at a shop near the cinema before saying our farewells--Jo was
off to Boston the next day--and heading home again.

On Saturday we were lazy. The only thing we did was watch TV. Jason had
found two different pilots for Joss Whedon's new series, _Firefly_ (the one
Joss made originally, and another episode that FOX picked to show instead),
so we watched both of those and then one of the two episodes of CSI that we
missed the first time around. We ordered pizza and I talked to various
people and it was a generally relaxing day. Sian Gramatis came by for about
five minutes to drop off her bag--she's in England for meetings and with
Lauren bagging on us, our guest room is available for Monday and Tuesday,
when Sian gets back from Oxford, so we'll see her more then.

Having indulged our laziness, I was raring to go on Sunday. Once I got
Jason up and going, we went down to the Museum of London, which takes up the
corner of the Barbican Centre near St. Paul's. It's a nifty place--a very
modern building, set around an inner courtyard with a lovely garden and
looking out on various remaining bits of the old city walls--that traces the
history of the city from the time of the Romans. They're in the process of
setting up a gallery that will examine the pre-Roman settlements in the
area, but that won't be finished until Summer 2002, according to the signs
:) We started out slowly in the Roman galleries, moving more and more
quickly as we proceeded through the Saxon, Medieval, Tudor, Stuart and
Hanoverian sections. Near the entrance to the museum are markers denoting
the site of the "evangelical conversion" of the Wesley brothers, John and
Charles, the founders of the Methodist movement.

We had skipped lunch and the museum cafe held nothing to tempt us, so we set
off toward Holborn at a brisk pace. That end of town is pretty dead on
weekends (the City of London itself has only about 8000 residents, though
weekdays find over a million people there), so we walked quite a
ways--getting caught in a brief downpour along the way--before finding a
Cafe Pasta where we could get a bowl of mussels and some pizza. We had
thought about seeing a movie, but the one we most wanted to see had already
started by the time we finished our late lunch, so we went home and watched
the other episode of CSI that Jason had downloaded and I made a tuna
casserole for a late supper.

So, a relaxing weekend and only two more to go. Now it's time for me to get
going on the various tasks awaiting me. Without the need to pack for
ourselves, there's not a lot of pressure to this move, but there are still
things to accomplish before the appointed day.
lillibet: (Default)
Jason's parents have been with us this week, going and doing while Jason's
been working hard and I've been mostly resting and trying to recover
completely from my medical adventure earlier in the week. I did get out
with Steve & Trish on Thursday morning to finally visit the Sir John Soane
museum, which I'd been eager to see. Soane was an architect in the late
18th and early 19th century. He bought and redesigned a block of four
houses in Gray's Inn Fields and filled them with his collection of
antiquities and paintings. The rooms are whimsical and charming,
interconnected to create a maze of wonderful spaces. The collection
includes the original paintings of the Rake's Progress and Election series
by William Hogarth, zillions of Roman artifacts and even a sarcophagus--that
of Pharaoh Seti I.

We had hoped to take Steve & Trish to YMing, but they were booked on Friday
night, so we ended up back at The People's Palace. The food was amazing, as
always. After choosing his favorite starter--spiced smoked herring--Jason
decided to branch out and try their slow-roasted belly pork with clams and
turlu turlu (a South African inspired roasted ratatouille--listening to the
waiter describe it was a real treat), but I stuck to my standards, while
Trish had carrot soup with lemon thyme and creme fraiche followed by the
salmon with tomato and fennel, and Steve went with the baked goat cheese and
their fantastic rump of lamb with chorizo and black bean salad. For dessert
we shared the selection of raspberry desserts (a mousse, a jelly, a creme
brulee and a sorbet) which made a light sweet bite to top off the meal.

On Saturday morning the three Merrills picked up a rental car and headed out
to the Salisbury area. They spent that day around Stonehenge and Sunday in
the Avebury area, tramping about the plains and hills and exploring the
pre-historic remnants.

Meanwhile, I stayed home, caught up on some chores, talked to various folk
and generally took it easy. The highlight of Saturday night was watching
_Josie & The Pussycats_, a very silly fluff of a movie. It was a weekend
for light entertainment, as I joined Jo on Sunday afternoon to see _The
Guru_. That was also fun, but left me wondering who pulled what strings to
get it made.

After the movie, Jo and wandered down Oxford Street and found some fun
clothes at Evans before stopping by Tootsie's for burgers. I came home to
call Beckie on her birthday and before I knew it, Jason was coming in the
door, having taken the train back and left his folks to explore further on
their own.
lillibet: (Default)
Life's been pretty exciting for the past week.

We had a wonderful visit from Linda Branagan, a friend from San Francisco.
Her husband had intended to come with her, but his father's sudden death a
month earlier had impacted his work schedule and he needed to stick around
to finish a project before joining his wife in France. So instead of seeing
John, we got to meet Linda's cousin, Jo, who lives here in London. The four
of us went out on Tuesday evening to see the RSC production of _Pericles:
Prince of Tyre_ at the Roundhouse. Built for turning trains, it is an
enormous round barn. For this show, set in various locations around the
eastern Mediterranean, they created the atmosphere of a huge tent, with
incense-scented fog filling the air, oriental rugs piled on the floor, and
about fifty different lanterns hung from the ceiling that were raised and
lowered as appropriate.

This is not one of Shakespeare's best plays--in fact, its authorship has
been debated and it is now considered to have been a collaboration with
George Wilkins. Its dramatic arc is weak, the language doesn't have the
majestic ring of the Bard's greatest works, and it is filled with even more
absurdities than usual. Our favorite moment came when the protagonist's
daughter, about to be murdered by her foster mother's henchman, is suddenly
kidnapped by pirates. None of the acting was especially stellar, although
everyone did a serviceable job and we'd be interested in seeing more of a
couple of the actors. What made it a real treat was the spare-yet-effective
staging of various scenes to create a real sense of the place and
action--the previous suitors' severed heads, the billowing sail of the storm
at sea, the bored belly-dancer in the brothel, the throng of starving people
in Tharsus. The best of these was the goddess Diana's visit to Pericles in
a dream; so often the deus ex machina is the cheesiest moment, but having
her descend on an enormous scarf like one of the aerialists from Cirque du
Soleil was beautiful and appropriate.

After the show we tried a new restaurant nearby. Odette's is an
unpretentious place with whimsical paintings on the walls and a cozy back
room. Together we killed a bottle of delicious champagne and another of
Chenin Blanc, while we worked our way through a succession of delicious
dishes. Our appetizers included: mushroom risotto with thin slices of
truffle; a selection of crab salad, breaded softshell crab, and a slice of
seared tuna; cold potato and leek soup; and a fabulous warm rabbit salad.
Our entrees were equally spectacular--pan-seared crispy halibut for Jo and
me, slices of grilled lamb for Jason, and duck with foie gras for Linda.
Then came the desserts, of which I remember baked figs with marscapone for
me, the chocolate fondant for Jo and the panna cotta with fresh berries for
Linda.

I had warned the others that we were expecting a phone call from Beckie, who
was out that afternoon looking at houses with our fantastic realtor, Polly.
The call came as we were finishing our puddings, conveniently, since
B. wanted to know how quickly we could get home to see her pictures of a
place she really thought we should buy. We hopped in cabs and scurried back
to the flat--arriving before Neil actually got the photos to us in email.
When we looked at them and heard B.'s report on the place, we had to agree
with her assessment of the place. So she put the offer in on our behalf at
11:00pm--apparently the sellers woke their lawyer up to find out if our POA
was acceptable.

Jason went up to work on Tuesday and Linda went off to see more of London
(and Martin McDonough's latest, _The Lieutenant of Inishmore_), while I
spent the day scrambling around, making arrangements for us to get to Boston
the next day and coordinating with Beckie to be sure that everything was
happening--she was doing a stunning job of herding all the different
professionals into line to make things happen on our timeline.

We flew to Boston on Wednesday morning--got upgraded to bigger seats, always
nice--and headed to the house as soon as we landed. Polly met us there and
we walked through the whole place. It's really a wonderful house. It's not
huge, but the space is broken up very efficiently and in ways that we think
will work for us. The sellers are an architect and an interior designer and
they have decorated the place very simply and nicely and kept it very clean
and beautiful. It's on a corner lot, with lots of trees and a small pool.
It's currently landscaped to require almost no mowing and very little
maintenance. The ceilings are fairly low, which will take some getting used
to after the enormous ones in our flat here, but high enough that Jason
doesn't need to worry about bumping his head and that's what matters.
Overall, while there are things we'll probably change, we liked it very much
and think it will make a good home for us.

After seeing the place we drove down the hill to Mass Ave. and along there,
looking at what will be our local shops and restaurants. Then we picked up
Beckie and Neil and took them to Tea Tray for a celebratory dinner, in
thanks for the great job they'd done. I couldn't resist the seared fois
gras starter, while Jason had a salad of arugula, walnuts and smoked
cheddar. Neil had the salmon tartare and Beckie tried the sweet corn and
lemongrass soup with lobster toast. It was Jason's turn to have the Three
Shakes of a Lambs Tail (lapsang souchong marinated lamb served with greens
mixed with lamb sausage and a lamb reduction). Neil went for the all-salmon
meal, trying the grilled fillet with apples and bacon and deep-fried
oysters. Beckie had the soft-shelled crabs, while I picked the steak--the
chef there is a dab hand with the grill. None of us were terribly excited
by any of the desserts on offer (although B. kept threatening to order the
fois gras), so we just shared a plate of cookies to go with our hot
drinks--B. had the raspberry cream tea, Jason the "Creme de la Earl Gray,"
and Neil a lovely cardamom tea. I tasted all of those, but opted for coffee
myself.

Even with the coffee, by the time the meal ended jet lag had taken over, so
we dropped Beckie & Neil at their place and headed back to 10K. Jason
called his folks and I was asleep before he hung up. We had planned to
visit Tom, steve & Linda that evening, but were simply unfit for human
consumption.

On Thursday we spent the morning going over what we needed to do and looking
back at the pictures Neil had taken, with an eye toward decorating. I went
over to MIT and had a nice lunch with Anne. In the evening we went over to
Fern Street, where Tom, steve and Linda had agreed I could invite people to
hang out. An eclectic crowd showed up and we ordered pizza and had a fun
time together that lasted late into the night.

Despite that, we had a very productive morning. I picked up Beckie and
breakfast and we had just collected Jason from his errand in Harvard Square
when B. got a call from our lawyer saying that he had a draft of our P&S
ready for us to review, but he was leaving in an hour. Since his
home/office is between Harvard and Arlington, we managed to stop by and pick
it up on our way. That also gave us a chance to actually meet him, which
was convenient, and to see his fabulous home. All that and we still arrived
at the house before Polly. The inspector, Scott, was already on the scene,
so we got started immediately.

While Scott identified several areas that he would recommend modifying--more
ventilation in the roof, re-grading the front yard, fixing some electrical
weirdness--overall he described the inspection as "uneventful." No problems
with the roof or foundation, no signs of termites or other bugs, and no
major problems with the plumbing or electrical systems. It was very good
that we were there to walk through with him, not only to hear his comments
and concerns, but to get the hands-on explanation of how to drain the
boiler, where to have additional outlets installed, etc. and to get his
off-the-record comments on things like the appliances that don't fall into
his official purview. It was also good to identify the various switches,
find the thermostats, etc.

The main purpose of our trip fulfilled, we hit the Greek Corner for gyros
and dropped Jason off to work while Beckie and I went shopping. I didn't
find much, but it was a fun break from the tension of house-buying. After
that we made a flying stop at Office Max to copy the inspection report, and
then B. went home while I went back to 10K to get Jason...only to turn
around and fly back over to B.'s on realizing I'd forgotten to give her a
very key item for the purchase. I made it back to the house, where Jason
had shoved the last few things in our bags and was ready to go. We had a
magical T journey--the route from Harvard to the airport is kind of complex,
with two line changes and a bus transfer, but at every stop there was one
waiting for us.

Arriving at the airport, we were confronted by a line at least 100 people
long (I think twice that, but Jason cautions me against hyperbole). I
parked him in line and went up to the First Class desk to ask if there were
any other options for people not checking bags. Turned out we could skip
the line and check in there! Boarding passes in hand, we went through
security--boy howdy were they unhappy with my solid-metal pocket watch
thingy--and arrived in the international waiting area two hours before our
flight was scheduled to depart. This is one of the most boring airport
waiting areas we've been in recently--one snack bar, a newstand and a
stall-sized duty free store focused on alcohol and tobacco. We grabbed
sandwiches--really tasty roast beef, I must say--and magazines and read
until boarding. No upgrade this time, but we did manage to sit in the
bulkhead row, so we had extra legroom. I sat next to a guy suffering from
what looked like MS--couldn't walk and didn't have use of his right hand at
all. I volunteered to help him with a couple of little things (cutting up
his meat at dinner, unwrapping his silverware, helping him to put away his
tray table, etc.) and we had a pleasant chat. He had just been back for a
visit to the camp in the mountains of Vermont where he had spent several
summers as a counselor, "back when I was alright, y'know."

Our flight was smooth and we managed to sleep quite solidly for at least
three hours. On landing we were confronted by long lines at immigration,
but they had a lot of staff on duty and moved us through very quickly. With
no bags to claim, we made it over to Terminal 3 in no time and found a nice
table at which to sit in full view of the arrival door. Susan & Daniel
arrived in a timely fashion and we all got on the tube together. It was
rather strange to be just as jet-lagged as our guests, but at least it put
us all on a similar schedule.

Back at the flat, we showed them around and then all went to bed for a nap.
I'd planned to be up in two hours, but it was more like three. I pulled
together some lunch and we sat around and noshed for a bit. Then I insisted
that we should all conquer our lethargy and get out in the beautiful day, to
help ourselves adjust. None of the London Walks were conveniently
scheduled, so we took the bus to Camden Town and wandered through the market
and down the canal to Regent's Park. We strolled around the lake there and
then back out onto the streets. It was a gorgeous day, warm and sunny, and
everyone was out enjoying it after the recent spate of cold, rainy weather.

We walked down Great Portland Street to Oxford Circus and then down Regent
Street. Our feet were starting to give out by then, so we cut through Soho
to YMing. They actually had a table for us this time and were pleased to
see us and we had a very tasty meal, as usual. Susan ordered the chicken
with mango, a new dish for us, and it made a nice counterpoint to the strong
savory and spicy flavors of the other dishes. By the time the meal ended,
we were pretty tired, but ice cream still appealed, so we skirted the edge
of Chinatown and went into Leicester Square to the Haagen-Daz place there.
Oooh--their toffee creme is amazing!

After a brief detour back to the restaurant for Daniel's camera, we got on
the tube and managed to stay awake long enough to get off at the right
stop. I was asleep before 10:30pm and had every intention of getting up at
my regular time today, but instead played snooze-tag for three hours--and
was still the first one up!

Jason has gone off with Susan & Daniel for a boat ride on the Thames and
possibly a short visit to the Tate Modern before meeting me for dinner at an
old favorite--Pierre Victoire. I'm taking the opportunity to catch up on
house stuff and the things I would have done this week if we hadn't suddenly
gone to Boston.
lillibet: (Default)
We managed to get up early, hang the laundry we'd done the night before out on the line to dry (no dryer), have breakfast and still be on the way to Firenze by 8:20am.

Read more... )

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