Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Report 1936: Our Month in Italy - Spring 2011
By Boleskine from NJ, Spring 2011
Page 30 of 30: Mercoledi 25 Maggio 2011 - Ciao Venezia!
A Last Look From our Window
As I had expected we are both up long before the alarm sounds. We are washed, dressed and completely packed with time to spare before the arrival of the water taxi. We have decided to take a water taxi to the Piazzale Roma and then a land taxi to the airport since that will solve the problem of walking and dragging our luggage from the water to the departure terminal if we rode all the way to the airport. Sometimes there are shuttle buses and sometimes there are luggage carts, but this seems as though it is the safest solution for us.
The water taxi arrives on time, and we are off. We go the back way arriving at the Piazzale Roma via Il Rio dei Tre Ponte near the Papadopogli Gardens. It is a short walk to the Piazzale proper and happily there is queue of taxis so we have no wait.
Our taxi driver is on the phone with his mother for the whole trip. I don't know if he realizes I can follow his conversation as he is discussing food and what his mother is making for dinner and what he'd like her to buy for him. Food is obviously an important topic of discussion in his family as it is in ours.
At Marco Polo we trundle our bags into the US Air counter, wait in a surprisingly long line since it is so early, are checked in and then before hiking out to our gate, we stop for an espresso and croissant. It is quite a letdown after a month of coffee at Ciak's, but I know that tomorrow we will have our own delicious espresso home roasted by Martin and ground and made by me for breakfast. Today is just a day to be gotten through.
When they finally call our flight there is the usual insane rush even though the announcement was only for first class and those with infants or need help boarding. You'd think it was first come first serve and that some people would not get seats at all. After standing and milling about for a long time, a flight delay of ten minutes is announced and everyone sits down. The delay is extended to 30 minutes and then ten more, but we finally begin to board. While we wait, we see one man, than two walk around the plane; then they disappear and come back with two more men. They walk around the plane and disappear and come back with two more men. This goes on until there are about twelve or fourteen people circling the plane. Martin and I decide they keep leaving to go have a coffee, and then pick up two friends to help figure out what the problem is.
I am lucky again in having the center seat in our set of three empty. We sit for a long time after the cabin doors have been closed. Then an announcement is made that there is a leak that must be traced and fixed before we can take off. Why did they decide to have us board? Obviously they knew there was a problem from the get-go.
Another announcement tells us the leak was traced to a bathroom, and they now must decide whether to fix it or, more likely, travel with fewer available bathrooms. That is always a delightful situation on a transatlantic flight. After two hours we are told everything is fixed, but now it is necessary to check that nothing in the planes electrical system has been damaged by water. Since they have known about the leak for a good while now, couldn't someone have been checking this while other worked on the leak?
The pilot tells us we are good to go, but we've lost our slot and must now wait for an opening. Am I the only one who thinks that someone should say these poor people have already been on the plane for more than two hours, let's get them out of here ASAP? A slot does open up and we are in the air only about 3 1/2 hours behind schedule. The pilot reminds us we will be able to make up some of that time en route.
The flight is long and boring. Since I am in the center block, I can't really see any of the sights the pilot cheerfully points out to us. The meal is just barely edible, and as usual, I have no choice because one option is almost always pasta with cheese these days. Luckily I have the iPad to keep me entertained.
After what seems like an eternity we have completed the crossing and are working our way down the Atlantic Coast to land in Philadelphia late but not as late as the 3 1/2 hour delay might have made us. I had requested a wheel chair because my legs are usually really painfully stiff after the longer westbound flight so we are whisked through Immigration and Customs and before long we are outside the airport climbing into Sharon's car. It is very hot; the air is heavy and wet, Venice is way too far away, but we are home and soon we will see our kitties and in another day our grandchildren. I knew there was a reason I boarded that plane.
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