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Report 1104: Perfect Piemonte and Bella Bologna: A Succulent Journey for the Senses and Soul

By Palma from California, Fall 2006

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Page 17 of 18: The Long Trip Home

photo by Palma

Leaving Hotel Villa Malpensa

On the morning of our departure, we got up at 5:30, showered, loaded the rental car for the last time, and had a very quick breakfast in the villa’s beautiful dining room before our checkout. We returned our rental car, and got in line at Alitalia.

We had heard and read of a scheduled Alitalia strike today, and were relieved to see airline agents working all the counters, and flights appearing to leave on time. Our flight to London was at 10:20. It was now 8:30. As we checked our luggage and got boarding passes, we asked about the strike. We were told it would start at 12:30. We wondered if our luggage would make it to LAX, but at least we were on our way to making it out of Italy before anything happened. We had coffee, and waited to board. We later learned that pilots were walking out at 12:30 as well.

We arrived at Heathrow with a comfortable 3-hour window for changing terminals and going through security. We spent an hour in line to go through the security checkpoint. My small carry-on holding only my purse and a kilo of Amaretti cookies just fit in the designated size bin. Brad’s computer bag made it as well. At the last second, I remembered the wonderful cortisone cream that had stopped my itching was still in my purse, and I tossed it along with my last lighter.

We had time for a snack, a visit to the “Smoking Lounge”, and sent a couple of quick emails. Random bag checks occurred again at the gate, but we were sent through to our seats for the next 11 hours. I slept on and off for most of the flight home. We were safely on the ground in Los Angeles by 6:30 p.m., and back in Palm Desert to an excited dog by 10:30p.m.. The 26-hour day was finally over!

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