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Report 981: The Old Man and Me - In Italy!

By Podie from Florida, Spring 2006

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Page 2 of 10: Getting There Is Not The Best Part

photo by Celeste Rubanick

Outside Rome-is-Home Apartment

I'd justified the cost of this trip citing my husband's 60th birthday in May, but in fact we really couldn't afford it. As my husband likes to say, his name is Rich but he's not.

And even though there's nothing like that claustrophobic, desperate feeling I get after a few hours in the economy cabin of an airplane, there were no other options. I searched for weeks and finally decided the Delta $677 round trip fare was the best I was likely to find. We would fly from Orlando (two hours away from our home, but we would stay with relatives in Orlando the night before) to JFK, visit with my brother in NYC for a few hours, and then continue on to Rome.

We left Orlando on March 29 on a 757 that was less than one-quarter full. Unfortunately, I already knew our Delta 767-300 was booked and overbooked. We still managed to enjoy a few hours in New York - tiring ourselves out with lots of walking - before reporting back to the JFK madhouse that was our departure gate.

The agents were already begging for bumping volunteers, offering a later flight to Rome via Paris plus 400 Delta dollars. We passed. The guy next to me bragged on his cell phone that he'd already snagged an exit row seat, but I failed on that quest. I'm only 5'2" so the lack of legroom isn't so terrible for me, but Rich is 6' so he folds up like an accordian in an economy seat.

And of course the passenger in front of him reclined her seat for the entire flight. Halfway through the flight her elderly husband had trouble breathing and was administered oxygen, but she kept her seat reclined onto Rich's legs. He considered her husband's malady "divine intervention" for her reclined seat.

The eight hour flight was relatively painless even with the crowded plane and an absolutely horrible meal of pasta, wilted salad, and a roll that truly could have been used as a baseball. On the plus side, we sardines were allowed to use the front and aft lavatories so there were few lines.

My question: Why do they serve ice cold, unripe bananas and does anyone actually eat them?

The skies cleared as we flew over Corsica. The rain that had plagued Rome for most of March was gone, replaced by bright blue skies and temperatures in the 60's.

We landed 20 minutes early at 9:05 AM, breezed through passport control, got our luggage, hit the ATM (E1=$1.25) for lots of euro, and exited the baggage claim area to find our Roma Limo driver waiting for us. Getting to Rome from FCO was never easier and I congratulated myself for spending the 55 euro rather than tackling the Leonardo Express and Termini again.

Although he was not able to reach our landlord by phone, the driver knew the Campo dei Fiori area very well and brought us right to our "Rome-is-Home" apartment without a hitch.

We got out of the car, unloaded our bags, and I walked up to the apartment building door. Before I could ring the bell, Massimo the owner called my name and welcomed us to Rome. What a great way to start our first day!

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