To Rome (and Back)

Well we’ve been away – most of the month in fact – but we’re back. In three weeks we visited:

  • The UK
  • Italy
  • France
  • Spain
  • The US

Now the only person who’d be crazy enough to make a trip like this – aside from Justin Bieber – would be someone taking a Transatlantic cruise. That’s the ticket.

I’m going to do some blogs on the trip and share some photos. I didn’t post live updates because I’m a dinosaur and I worry about home security. It’ll probably take me longer to post than it did to take the trip. Here goes.

We started out on Nov 1 by driving to Montreal, dropping off the car at Park n’ Fly and heading to the airport. There’s Maria above waiting with her book and carry on. We had an overnight flight to Heathrow on British Airways, a stopover there and a connection to Rome.

It was a Dickensian trip – the best of flights, the worst of flights. We started off by winning the BA lottery. Our names were called out and we got an upgrade to business class courtesy of our BA loyalty card. So this was the best of flights – great food, fully reclining seats, the chance to catch a bit more sleep on the way to London. Once we got there we walked over to the Transfer desk, and commenced our wait. Maria took advantage of the wait to do some shopping in the Duty Free (Fortnum and Mason tea mostly) while I hung out and got over the slight jetlag so far. Some brunch in the terminal and some decent (by UK standards) coffee and we were feeling a lot chippier.

Our flight was called and it was time for the worst of flights. First of all BA announced that the flight was chokka-block with people and there would be no room for all the carry-on baggage. When will airlines get it that they created this problem themselves by charging a fortune to check regular baggage? Anyway we decided that rather than fight for rack space on the plane we’d check Maria’s carry-on.

Then we crammed ourselves with 200 of our closest fellow travelers into the back of a barebones Airbus 321 – no screens, no audio, nothing. Maria’s seatmate had a cold. What a joyful ride this was. After three hours of bliss we arrived at Fiumicino airport. The checked bag arrived right away. The other stuff took a while but we got it.

Things improved after that. I had arranged for transport to our hotel and a nice young man picked us up in a Renault minivan. He and Maria chatted amiably in Italian while he navigated the steets of Rome and got us safely to the Hotel Condotti near the Spanish Steps.

Our hotel room was surprisingly spacious and quiet. We had a sitting area as well.

After a pleasant meal at doRis Ristorante (great house wine) we settled down for our first night in the Eternal City.

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