|Ancient tower - Praiano|
Neither one of us wished to leave Praiano but sadly it was too late to change our plans. We were resigned to leave as planned, far too early on Sunday morning - by taxi at 6 a.m. to catch a 9:20 flight from Naples.
Getting up at 5 wasn't as bad as I thought and Izzy awakened easily. It was getting the hotel staff up to help assist with dragging our luggage up the stairs that proved challenging. In fact, when I told them of our early departure, they seemed quite surprised that anyone would consider leaving so early. They made our early departure seem unheard of and were unsure as to how I would manage. One suggestion was that they carry my baggage up the steps in the late evening, leaving it near a locked gate (no thanks). I was baffled as to their response and as I was recounting this tale to some other hotel guests, a kind fellow from Australia offered to wake up and carry our bags for me. He said he was going kayaking and needed a wake-up call anyway. Ah the kindness of strangers. With that settled, Izzy and I went off to our room. On our way, N., one of the hotel family, stopped me to let me know that HE would be getting up to help with our bags. I was skeptical but he insisted...so I canceled with the Australian and we went off to bed.
The morning of our departure, Izzy and I put all of our bags outside of our room, walked up to the reception area (locked) and peeked around for someone to help us. Nobody was there but I figured N. would arrive shortly. Meanwhile we walked up all of steps in search of the car service - not there either. We walked back down and still nobody had arrived to help. I sent Izzy up and down a couple of more times in search of the car service and still nothing. At that point I began to fear we would miss our plane. I also began to see the error in taking an early flight from Italy. I had no signal on my phone so I couldn't contact the car service and there was no sign of N. to help with our luggage. Little by little, Izzy and I inched our luggage up a few stairs at a time, until we got it to the reception area (not even halfway, mind you). Our car was scheduled for 6 a.m. and it was 6:15. All remained quiet as Izzy and I pricked our ears at the sound of each passing car. Finally we heard a door slam. We ran up the steps to meet Giovanni, our driver. He apologized for his tardiness and came down to carry our luggage (phew). We piled into the car and we were off.
Turns out my worries of lateness were unfounded. The car service had booked us at 6 but it didn't take us very long to get to the airport, even with a stop along the way for Izzy. It seems the early wake-up and winding roads = car-sickness for poor Izzy. Our driver was most sympathetic and helpful with the clean-up, which more than compensated for his tardiness. Not only that but he is an excellent driver, taking extra care along the narrow coastal roads.
In the end, we arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare and boarded our flight - destination Parigi- on time. As we settled into our seats, I finally began to relax and the fact that we were really leaving this magical locale began to sink in. As the plane took flight I stared out at the shining blue sea and wished we had remained as we were earlier, stuck in Praiano, baggage and all.
p.s. When we arrived in Paris, I received a very apologetic email from N., from our hotel in Praiano who had set his alarm to help us with the baggage but never heard it sound - apologies accepted; we love you anyway!