Italy, baby!

In the optimistic spirit of celebration, rather than commiseration at the turning of another personal decade, Maria and I decided that the ideal way to commemorate our 30th birthday year would be to return to Sorrento, where we had a fantastic holiday nine years ago.

As I have the family to think about, and she has a big important grown up job, neither of us could go for the two weeks that we enjoyed last time we were there. We settled on a five day trip, and found a slightly more luxurious hotel than we stayed in last time!

We booked an airport hotel at Gatwick, as our flight was reasonably early in the morning and, having driven through the night before flying before, we don’t ever want to do that again! We stayed at the Gatwick Mercure, which was very nice and had good room service at 11pm. However, if you ever stay there, make sure to request a room away from the lift shaft. Our room backed onto it, and I didn’t get much uninterrupted sleep in between each occupant of the lift trundling suitcases in and out all night! However, the journey to the airport terminal in the morning was short and straightforward, and we had plenty of time after check in to find ourselves a good breakfast. Which was just as well, as it turned out.

Maria has coeliac disease, as I may have mentioned before, and so when we were booking the flights with BA we made sure to request gluten free food for the flight (there was a long list of tick boxes to choose from regarding food options in the booking process). However, when we were on the plane and the snack was being delivered by the stewardess, on requesting the gluten free snack, a cheese sandwich was offered rather than the ham sandwich. NOT helpful when you are allergic to gluten and are therefore unable to have any sandwiches at all, unless specially made with gluten free bread. However, as we had already had substantial breakfasts in the airport, we put it down to lack of knowledge on the part of the stewardess and declined the cheese sandwiches without further comment. However, on the way back, Naples airport didn’t have the catering options that Gatwick did, and so Maria was extremely hungry by the time we boarded. On being offered a sandwich again, I explained that we had ticked the ‘gluten free’ box due to food allergies, and couldn’t eat the proffered sandwiches (I had put myself down as gluten free in a gesture of solidarity with my friend, and also in the hope that fresh fruit might be offered rather than the yucky airline bread rolls!!). The steward on this flight at least did understand what gluten was, but told us that gluten free food is only offered on long haul flights. Well how chuffing useful was that. This should have been made far clearer during the booking process. If no other dietary requirements are catered for on short haul BA flights, the options tick boxes should not be a part of the booking process. I was (and still am, as you can tell!) really annoyed about this lack of service, and it will definitely make me think twice about flying with British Airways again. Rant over!

There was one very good part of our flight to Naples; flying over the Alps. I’m a bit of a sucker for trying to take photos out of the aeroplane windows, and I couldn’t resist trying to capture a picture (or twelve) of the Alps as we flew over them into Switzerland. Their peaks were standing proud above the cloudline, and I wa imagining what it must be like to climb those mountains, ostensibly in bad weather only to suddenly emerge above the clouds and be able to see all the other peaks rising up as well. We had been told that we would be passing close to Mont Blanc, but it was only when I got home and looked it up on Google Earth that I realised I had actually managed to take a half decent photo of it as we flew past. And this was it;

Mont Blanc

Isn’t it beautiful? Just the way it stood proud of the other mountains captured my attention, and I was so glad that this picture, of all of them, came out well.

The flight arrived in Naples on time, and we found the transfer to Sorrento easy, as there was a bus going directly there, waiting just outside the front door of the airport as we stepped out.

And that’s all you’re getting from me in this post. I’ll tell you more about the main body of the trip in other posts, but I think my rant about British Airways has taken up all of my available time today!

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7 Responses

  1. At least food was offered. The last flight I took there was none to be had so I was quite glad I had a couple of granola bars in my purse.

  2. Well luckily Maria had had the foresight to bring some gluten free biscuits in her handbag, but even half a packet of gluten free shortbread is no substitute for a meal, and by the time we arrived at Gatwick and got through security (6.30pm) she hadn’t had anything decent to eat since breakfast at 8am and was starving. My main objection was that her dietary requirements are a medical need and not a lifestyle choice, and so I was really disappointed that their food policy was not made clearer. I would have been even more cheesed off if no food had been offered though – who did you fly with last time then?

  3. I believe it was United Airlines–cheap bastards.

    I’ve decided that I won’t fly until they become more service oriented again–like that’s going to happen any time soon, if ever.

    I think I’ll try the trains when my books are published and I’m doing book signings–gee, don’t I sound confident? 😉

  4. Is she writing a stern letter of complaint to British Airways for their misleading at best / shoddy* at worst service?

    * It’s a family blog, you know what I really want to say….

  5. BA — the airline everyone loves to hate! Hope you had a fab time!

  6. What a fun choice! ^^ I’m sorry you had trouble along the way, but I hope that didn’t spoil your vacation. Can’t wait to hear more!

  7. It was such a shame to have that disappointment in BA’s service, because otherwise they were fine. On time, clean, polite (if not the most knowledgeable) staff etc etc. However, bad things do tend to stick out a little more!

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