This was another multi generational holiday that we took back in September 2014. The holiday party included my parents, my husband and my son (i was pregnant with son number 2). As the location we were going to was for my dad and husband to go cycling my parents decided to drive from Scotland to Italy in their car. They would take the luggage and bikes with them, which meant we just had to fly with hand luggage! Planning was left up to me (which isn’t unusual) and so as soon as I knew where we were going I started to plan our Itinerary.
I had pre-booked our hotel in Pisa and hotel in Bologna and also 2 out of the 3 trains to try and make it easier for us. I used booking.com for cheap deals of the hotels and booked our flights via the BA website.
Our itinerary was the following
– Fly from Edinburgh to Pisa
– Night in Pisa
– From Pisa by train to Riccione (changes in Florence and Bologna)
– One week at our bike hotel in Riccione
– Train back to Bologna
– Night in Bologna and plane by to Edinburgh
We were flying with British Airways from Edinburgh via Gatwick. I have to say this was the worse connection of a flight we have ever done. It was a tight connection time of 40 mins which we thought would be ok if that was the option they have at time of booking…oh how wrong were we. We landed late and the staff let us off the plane first so we could get there in time…only to be met by a bus! My husband asked the staff outside the plane if they knew where to go to get the plane to Pisa only to be told the plane to Pisa was the plane we had just got off! This meant getting the bus, going through luggage reclaim, back through security and then to the plane for boarding.
By the time we go to luggage reclaim we had 10 mins till the gate closed. My husband ran to find where to go through security and was told to go through the top security so here was me running 5 months pregnant with a 3 year old as fast as we can while carrying our hand luggage. Once we got to security we were told no it was best to go through the BA fast track security which meant running back down to the other end of the building…only to be met by a massive queue (fast track my ass!)
By the time we got through security it was already 10 mins passed gate closure time. I told my husband to run as fast as he could to the gate. My son was tired by this point so i had to run while carrying him. Signs in the airport were absolutely useless, you could hardly see which way they were pointing. I then had to run up and down the escalators to get to the gate. By the time I got to the gate i was a wreak. Luckily they were still boarding at which point i broke down in tears. I was in pain and exhausted from running…not the start of the holiday we were looking for.
Anyway enough of the rant! We certainly wont be flying through Gatwick again if we can help it. Upon arrival in Pisa I had to get a wheelchair as i was in so much pain. We then jumped in a taxi and heading to our hotel for the night. Our hotel was very close to Miracle Square so once settled and rested for a couple of hours we went for a slow walk (a very slow walk!), and looked around and had an ice cream. We found a restaurant to have dinner in and then headed back to the hotel for bed. (Read our mini travel guide to Pisa with kids)
Next morning we headed early to get some tourist shots at the leaning tower of Pisa and then hit McDonalds for breakfast (our hotel didn’t do breakfast) and then took a taxi to the train station. Our first train was the one we didn’t have tickets for as it was a regional train (you cant book regional trains on the trenitalia website unless you have an address in Italy). So we managed to get our tickets and catch the train just in time.
Once in Florence we had lunch and then caught the fast train to Bologna. Once in Bologna we then changed again and got our final train to Riccione. Upon arrival we waited for the hotel minibus to come get us. After sitting down in the hotel my parents arrived in their car! Was very good timing.
I think we were all just happy that our journeys were over.
As my husband and dad were there to cycle it meant from 8am to 2pm my mum and I had to keep our eldest son entertained. We went for walks most mornings up and down the beach front, go swimming, go to the beach and also visit a few touristy attractions.
These were Oltremare, and Cattolica aquarium. Oltremare we visited twice during the week as you can have 2 visits included in your ticket price (you just have to remember to get your photo taken after your first visit!) We also visited San Marino one afternoon when the boys were back from their bike ride.
During our holiday my husband and I had our 2nd wedding anniversary. The hotel owner is a good friend of our family and she actually came to our wedding. So she had a few planned items for us (one being a bottle of wine which being pregnant and a non drinker I didnt get to taste) which was very nice of her.
After our weeks holiday we took our hand luggage and took the train back to Bologna. We had booked a hotel for the night which was pretty close to the train station. Once at the hotel we got our room and then headed out to explore. We took a train ride round the city…though it was all in Italian which was pretty rubbish. After a few hours of exploring we headed back to the hotel for a rest (all that walking hurt our feet!)
Next morning we took a taxi to Bologna airport and flew with BA back to Edinburgh via Heathrow. We had no problems this time round with the connections and the staff were brilliant and very friendly (unlike the staff at Gatwick)
We were met in Edinburgh by the lovely Scottish weather aka rain! Makes you start planning the next holiday when you arrive home to rain and freezing cold weather!
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