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Milano to Home Sweet Home

One last photo of First Hotel Malpensa.

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We had a 6 a.m. wakeup call - I wanted to get to the airport early to try to resolve a couple of little travel glitches.

We were flying coach on the way home and I took a calculated risk and booked seats C and E in the center section, hoping that no one would be sitting between us. When I checked the seating chart before we left home, it appeared that the plane was full and we would have a passenger between us.

More important, though, was the fact that we each wanted to check a second bag to accommodate our wine purchases, and Continental was charging an astronomical $50 each. Since we are not Elite flyers, our only hope was that Bill has a Continental FF credit card which would exempt us from the baggage fees. Or should I say he HAD a credit card - remember the missing wallet?

Luckily I had photocopied all of his credit cards and DL before we left home, so I thought it was worth a try to get out of the baggage fees.

We got to Malpensa Airport at 8 a.m., and our flight wasn't until 10:20, so there was no one in line for our flight. The Continental rep accepted the photocopied credit card and tried and tried to make the baggage exemption work. He finally had to get a supervisor to help him put it into the computer. Mission accomplished! If they had been busy, I don't think they would have taken the time to do it, so I'm glad we got there early.

The bonus was that, without our even asking, he moved the passenger who was seated between us to another seat! I was thrilled - coach is so much nicer with an extra seat. Yeah Continental!

PS - We did have someone between us for the other two segments of our trip home, but they were much shorter flights, so that was OK.

So we left Milan remembering all of the wonderful meals we had in Italy and came back to the reality of airplane food.

Bill had Pot Roast and I had Chicken Parmigiana - not too bad for airplane food.

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Depressing, isn't it? But, never fear - our food fest was not yet over for this trip! Continue on . . .

Our first layover of three hours was in Newark. We had never been to EWR and, again, we found a nice airport restaurant. Actually, it was more of a wine bar with appetizers, but it was perfect for us.

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Vino Volo was its name, and it is located in Terminal C of EWR. They offer different flights of wine and some interesting appetizers.

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Bill chose a flight called California Kings ($11) - it included Hall Napa Cab, Thumbprint Dry Creek Merlot, and Truchard Carneros Syrah.

I chose the Sommelier Series flight ($20) - it included Silver Oak Napa Valley Cab and Roger Beland French Pinot. Silver Oak is probably my all-time favorite cab, so there was no doubt in my mind what I would choose.

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Bill's appetizer was Chickpea and Chorizo Chili, and mine was Braised Pork Tacos. Both delicious! Guess I forgot to take a photo of Bill's.

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I would definitely recommend Vino Volo to travelers at EWR, both for the great wine selections and for the interesting appetizers.

I just did a little more research on Vino Volo, and it appears that they have several wine shop/wine bars in other locations - New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Detroit, San Antonio, Seattle, Sacramento, and Oakland in addition to Newark. Who knew?


On to Houston for a one-hour layover and then home to Ontario Airport. It was 11 p.m. by then, but the shuttle bus for the Park & Fly was right there. It was a great place to park in - they pick you up right at your car and deliver you back there. Although the daily rate is $9, with the Auto Club discount, the cost for 22 days was only $144.

Got to bed about 2 a.m. but we wanted to be at Hoochie's B&B when they opened at 8:30 to pick her up. She was SO glad to see us, but I think we were even more happy to see her!

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Our little family is together again! Home sweet home!

Comments (1)

Great strategy! I was also lucky on the flight back choosing an aisle seat in the center with the middle seat empty and the other center aisle seat occupied. It doesn't always work, but this time it did. What a difference having an empty seat next to you for a long flight.

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