Going back home

October 2

See pictures below the day's summary

Holy cow, what a chaotic morning (it started okay, but then went downhill)!! The Rome airport (or at least Alitalia airlines) needs to have a logistics expert come in and give them a few pointers!

We were ready to head to the airport about 6:45am, so we headed down to the reception desk to settle our bill. They ended up not charging us for anything, even though we had used a 5€ internet card. So that was a nice surprise.

We had arranged for a private taxi ride again and he was waiting for us (even though he didn't need to be there until 7:00am). There was hardly any traffic and we made it there in about half an hour. The reception desk said to estimate close to an hour. We're guessing since it was Saturday, the roads were clear.

We got dropped off at the airport and went inside to check in. The line wasn't too long, maybe 10-15 minutes. Only problem was that we got to the front to check our bags and found out that we were at the wrong terminal. We were at the Alitalia desks for local travel, not international. So we had to walk to the next building (or maybe it was two buildings, I can't remember).

And here is where the real chaos begins! Well, first, they do one cool thing (and only one!!) and that is that the check-in desks are arranged by city. So everyone checking in to fly to the same city is in the same line. We found our line - it was for New York (JFK) (that was ours) - Newark - Boston - Chicago. And it was about a quarter of a mile long!!! No kidding! Dad stood in line and I ran up to the beginning to make sure it was right. But it was.      Good thing we got there so early, I guess. It was just ridiculous. For the first 20-25 minutes, we moved about 6-8 feet. That was all. At that point though, we think they opened up some new desks (like maybe some new employees showed up to work or something) because the line started moving much faster. All in all, it took us about an hour and a half to get our baggage checked.

Our extra bag cost only 50€ this flight - quite a difference from the 100€ for the Munich to Rome flight! She said we could have taken it as a carry-on, but we decided to just check it. Apparently the carry-ons have a weight limit of 8 kg and this extra suitcase was almost 15 kg. So we'd have to get the extra 7 kg into our suitcases and that didn't sound like fun. Besides, we just wanted to be done with things and get all checked in. We did, however, hope that they don't weigh our backpacks - because they're probably over 8 kg!   

So now we have to go through security. And you know that quarter mile line of people that were checking in? Yeah, they were at security now. Okay, the line wasn't really quite that long, but it was still ridiculously long.

Oh, and here's what makes the long lines even worse - the Italian people have no concept of the back of the line. That's a generalization, of course, but you would be amazed how many of them just find a place in line and cut in. It wasn't just at the airport that we noticed this, but it seemed worse because the lines here were just so freakin' long.

Okay, so we make it through the chaotic security lines - it's like everyone gets into a line, then it splits into multiple lines, then it converges, then it splits. What in the heck? No wonder it's a nightmare!

By this point, we have to pee and we still haven't eaten breakfast. It's about 10:00am now and our plane is boarding. So we find a bathroom real quick and stop and buy a sandwich for breakfast - that we can take with us onto the plane. Then we head to our gate for another round of chaos! Seriously people, hire a logistics expert! I have never seen so much chaos at an airport!

At the gate, we had to show our passport yet again. Why do they have to check them so many times? At the gate where we checked our luggage, before security, after security (like what would have changed??) and then to get into the gate (which you can only get to if you got past security). But, anyway, we get through and then there's a big cluster of people waiting to board the plane. Not a line - but a cluster. And of course, a bunch of Italians taking "cuts" again. I mean, seriously people - when you come through the passport check, don't assume you're in the front of the cluster - just head to the back like the rest of us do.

Anyway, we got on the plane. We were in the back again - row 31, I think. But it was a 2 - aisle - 4 - aisle - 2 plane and we were in one of the 2's. Lots of husbands & wive's were separated, so we felt lucky to be seated together.

We took a long time to take off - I think about an hour. It was one of those times where you fall asleep sitting on the runway! The flight was not bad - it was an A330, so we had the individual TV's. Dad wasn't going to watch any movies, but ended up watching 2 of them - Gladiator and Robin Hood - both with Russell Crowe. I watched Robin Hood and Dirty Harry (with Clint Eastwood - I'd never seen it before). The bathrooms on the plane were awful! One was big, but it was dirty and there was no toilet paper! I used it only about an hour and a half into the flight - how could they be out already? So the next time I needed to go, I used the one on the opposite side. Same thing - only dirtier because we were 6-7 hours into the flight. Pee (or water, I hope!!) all over the seat, and no toilet paper again. Always nice to use hard crunchy paper towels to wipe - both times!! Funny though - in New York, I mentioned to Dad how awful the bathrooms were - dirty and no toilet paper and he said that he thought they were really nice - because they're so big for airplane bathrooms! The one on the left was big, but no TP and stuff on the seat - so I'm going to rate them pretty low!

We got to New York and went through Immigrations & Customs - no issues. We did have to change terminals though, which required us to go through security again. I thought that was kind of strange, but what can you do?

Our plane took off from NY about 8:00pm, a little late, but not too bad. We're due in Portland about 10:15pm, so about 45 minutes earlier than it shows on our paperwork. I'm on the plane writing right now! We'll pick up our baggage, then catch the shuttle to the Hampton Inn for our overnight stay. I probably won't write anything else at the Hampton because I just plan on getting there and crashing! But I'll finish things up tomorrow.

I did think of one thing that was kind of strange on this trip - on the flight from Munich to Rome actually. Remember we had the extra luggage fiasco and had to go to the other counter to pay for it? Well, they never checked our ID in Munich. I know they didn't when we checked our bags in, and I don't think they did anywhere else either. I'm sure that was a mistake! And the exact opposite of how many times they checked us in the Rome airport this morning!

Okay, I'm shutting this down for the night.


Our trip is over and we're standing in a line at least a quarter mile long! And, I'm seriously not exaggerating! Angie finishing up my journal at The Hampton Inn in Portland Dad finishing up his journal. It's good to be home! Or close enough.