Tales from the Secret Agent: John and Amanda in the Italian Lakes

By Lisa James
01/07/2024
Home » Tales from the Secret Agent: John and Amanda in the Italian Lakes

A quick week in the Italian Lakes has our name on it and we are off to the airport for an overnight at a nice B&B before a 6am flight to Verona.

At the B&B we meet John and Amanda sat in the bar and get chatting. They’ve been married three years. He gives the impression he’d remarry at the drop of a hat if anything happened to her. She’s obviously the more committed half of the relationship and it’s obvious he’s getting wound up by her stroking his arm and entwining fingers.

It’s an early night for an early start. Next morning, we’re safely in the minibus about to be taken to the airport when our driver Bob says: “We’re just waiting for two more.”

Our hearts sink as John and Amanda appear at the side door of the minibus.

“Fancy seeing you here,” she says, as she lumbers in.

John’s mood hasn’t improved but we know we can dump them as soon as we arrive, as we’re heading to the airport lounge and she’s already revealed they are getting a Burger King before the flight.

All onboard the flight and luckily they are nowhere near us. The transfer company informs us on arrival in Italy that, as there are only six of us going to our resorts in the north, it will be on a mini bus. Win-win.

Minibus located and we sit and wait with a lovely older couple from Bath for the remaining two transfer passengers to arrive. Yep, you guessed it: Our new friends John and Amanda.

“Fancy seeing you here,” she shrieks on boarding.

I’m fighting the urge to get off the minibus as they plonk themselves right in front of us.

Amanda asks where we are staying, and I reply with the first thing that comes in my head: “The Las Faluas apartments.” It’s not true, but I did stay there on my first trip to Gran Canaria and, for all the wrong reasons, I never forgot the name.

I never say I’m a travel agent when away. It always leads to questions about their holidays past and future, and when I’m on holiday this isn’t the time or place for me to talk shop.

Amanda’s giving me advice like a seasoned pro and starts with a ‘guess how much we paid for this week?’ “Go on,” she adds: “Guess.”

It’s a long transfer and I just need her to shut up so play along. “£900 each?”

“Pah!” she replies. “Try £480 each.”

I’m then treated to every step of her booking process, including flights booked direct, with hand luggage only, as it’s ‘such a rip off to check in cases and we can always do washing if we have to’.

I zone out, picturing her by the side of the lake with some Persil tablets and two rocks, but I zone back in again and realise she’s still talking. “And the hotel,” she tells me, “was a bargain.”

It’s at this time our Italian driver pulls up outside something that looks like it featured in the film Carry on Abroad and he announces the hotel name.

Amanda’s jaw has dropped but she’s putting a brave face on it, telling John how authentic it looks. John’s having none of it and storms off into the distance.

“Oh,” she says: “He always likes to stretch his legs after he’s been sitting so long.”

I see him disappearing towards the lake and wonder if he will just keep going…

Read more Secret Agent tales here.

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