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Tuesday 9th. July Going home day We were due at the airport at 1.15 for our 3 o’clock flight back to Gatwick. So we went to breakfast which was a beautiful buffet stretching all along one wall of the bar area and beautifully set out. There was everything - exotic pastries, cakes, toasts, homemade breads and tarts along with cheeses and piles of fresh fruits. We could have stayed there until late morning but decided to look for a few gifts to take home. In a very peculiar antique cum junk cum art shop we spotted a print in a style which reminded H. of a picture on our doctor’s surgery wall. She paints! We fell for this as she had kept all our various ailments at bay long enough so that we could make this trip and certainly deserved some ‘reward’. We also found what turned out to be the last of the Alabaster Workshops in Pisa, whereas there used to be hundreds as Pisa sits on the world’s largest Alabaster mining area. We found an old man who still carved items from Alabaster and he gave us a potted history of the stone and how it is carved telling that the recession has struck this industry. His shop was filled with hundreds of different pieces from lamps and sculptures to delicate figurines and animals on which his wife hand painted designs. – too many different items to recall. We bought a few small items – Alabaster is quite expensive especially as he told us the clearer, tranluscent white stone comes from the deeper mines and is much more valuable. We returned to the Hotel – through the Tower Square for the last time. We had booked a taxi to take us to the airport allowing for Tuscan time as usual.

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