Welcome to our trip to Rome and Florence!

It’s just you and I, dear reader. Mark has to work and look after the cats, so someone has to go on holiday! Don’t worry – I’ve left them all very well-provisioned. I am glad you could join me though – it’s like having a virtual traveling companion.

My driver’s name was Graham and he picked me up at 10:30 this morning. It took about 45 minutes to get to Manchester Airport – no traffic, a very easy drive, plus I was one of the first customers to travel in their new Mercedes people movers! Nice.

I am currently sitting in the British Airways Terraces Club Lounge at Manchester Airport trying to get used to this mini keyboard on the Macbook Air. There were direct flights from Liverpool to Rome but not with British Airways. We wanted to use up some of our frequent flyer miles.

Here we are! Those slanty windows in the centre of the room look down on the crowds below but I thought they wouldn’t want to see me having my food and glass of wine up here.

At the moment what they have on offer are olives, cheeses, biscuits and crisps (potato chips). They promise a selection of sandwiches at midday.

Ah – the sandwiches have arrived! Just in time for lunch. No hot food though – they must be cost-cutting. My plane doesn’t board for another hour but I always like to get to airports early. I checked in without waiting and then zoomed through security – I had to remove my belt but not my shoes. I wasn’t one of the lucky ones to get a full body x-ray scan  – I must look trustworthy.

I will need to connect with a flight at Heathrow so I won’t actually be in Rome until 7:00pm their time, 6pm in the UK. I’ll only be up in the air for about three of those hours in total. The rest is waiting, which isn’t too taxing. It’s good to get to the airport early if you have time to spend in the Club Lounge – you can have a snack and a drink, use the wifi and just have some time to ponder. I will listen to my Italian language recordings on my iPod in a minute. At Heathrow I will find the lounge there too. I don’t have to change terminals so it’s not a big deal.

It’s a bit grey and gloomy here in Manchester but the forecast for Rome says sunny and 29 degrees – almost too hot for me!

See you at Heathrow, or failing that – in Roma!