The journey from Cheshire to the Madonie National Park, Sicily - Part 1
01.12.2007 - 02.12.2007 10 °C
In the summer last year I came to Sicily for the first time with my girl friend for a two week holiday. Little did I realize that it was to be the start of something so fantastic that it would see me giving up my job in the UK, selling the car, put the house on the market and sell unwanted possessions to raise the money to come to Sicily, set up a new home and then start a new business to advertise the great holiday rental properties in Sicily and also Sicily itself as a great tourist destination.
Family and friends were supportive if not a little surprised but the date soon came when I handed over the reins of my construction site manager’s job to one of my colleagues and then spent the next two weeks preparing to leave. Deborah my partner had worked in Sicily for the last 5 years but had worked in the UK that summer so also had possessions to pack. Some possession were put in storage to ship later but most were boxed up and collected by a freight company to travel to Sicily via Liverpool docks. They would take at least two weeks to arrive so we should arrive before them; we were hoping the contents would still be in one piece. The keys to the house were handed over to our great neighbour Alice who had volunteered to keep an eye on the house whilst it was empty.
The day to leave had arrived, clothes were packed, two laptops and roving modem purchased and a very cosy travel bag for Baggi our cat. He would be traveling with us for the two days it would take us to get from leafy Cheshire to the mountains of the Madonie. We were booked on an Air Italia flight from Heathrow the following morning so we only had to get down to Heathrow and book into our Hotel. The Hotel was one of the few we found which were willing to allow a pet in the room. It was essential that Baggi had a comfortable night before his flight the following day as we new it would be difficult for him. The journey down went smoothly, Baggi lay in his large carry case which he would travel in most of the time apart from in flight when he would swap to the smaller flight bag and slept the whole way down the London. We all had a bite to eat, closed the heavy curtains and then went to sleep ready for the 3am start in the morning to the terminal. Baggi curled up on the end of the bed for his last night in the UK.
The alarm rang what seemed like minutes after we went to sleep and we packed up clothes, wash things and last but not least Baggi into his flight bag are were ready to leave. Check in for the flight was at 4.15am so we made our way to drop off the hire car and then jump in the transfer bus to the terminal. Baggi was not happy in his flight bag, it tugged on debs and my heart strings as he quietly cried at us.
Once in the terminal we realised that Baggi was much happier when he could see around him, so we sat him on the back of the trolley and he stuck his head against the mesh looking out. The staff from Air Italia were great, I will never have a bad word said about them, they ensured that we were processed quickly and on our way to the gate.
The next obstacle was to be Heathrow’s security system. “ Please put your bags on the X Ray machine” we were instructed in the usual curt manner. “ But we have a cat in this one” I said. Instantly the mood of the conversation changed and bag and cat were ushered into a side room, he was removed and cradled in Deborah’s arms whilst his bag was X Rayed. The bag returned he was slipped back in and we made it to the gate and found a quiet corner to wait for the flight to be called. We went up to the desk and explained what we had in the bag and the staff were great, we were on the flight quickly and settled down for the flight to Milan. Stage 1 complete.