Rome and Home
When we planned our Mediterranean cruise months ago, the plan was to spend three days in Rome before cruising, then fly home the day the cruise ended. But even though the ship arrived in port at seven am, there were no flights we could count on making so we booked accommodations at the Fiumicino Airport on Wednesday and a flight home Thursday Morning. Yesterday, Wednesday, we had a nice breakfast in the Taste Restaurant on board the Epic served by our favorite waiter, Narcisco, then disembarked without a hitch … we were at the airport Hilton by ten. Of course, at ten am, there were no rooms ready, so we checked our luggage and took the free shuttle to downtown Rome, near the Teatro Marcello, an ancient theater with modern offices above the arches. By this time we were hungry and there was no restaurant in sight. However, my friend Ron has an infallible radar for pasta and soon led us across the Tiber River to a tiny cafe tucked away at the end of a narrow street where we had a lovely lunch. We then boarded a hop-on-hop-off bus for one more look at Rome with the onboard audio describing the neighborhoods in a choice of 8 languages. You can’t turn a corner in Rome without finding an ancient site and before we reboarded the bus back to the airport, we wandered though a 16th century church, San Nicola in Cacera. Lovely. Back at the Airport Hilton, we drank Chianti in the lounge then had dinner in the hotel restaurant, reviewing our favorite vacation moments with our friends, Ron and Kerry. We haven’t traveled with friends in a long time but it’s hard to imagine better traveling companions.
This morning, Terminal 5, the Roma home of American Airlines, was only a short hop from the hotel, and check-in went smoothly, partly because after years of flying, I’m a lifetime Platinum Aadvantage member, putting us in Priority lines and early boarding. So, now, I’m sitting in an exit row at 35,000 feet writing this post. It’s almost an eleven hour flight to Chicago and because we’re flying East, it will be light outside our window for the entire time to L.A., about 17 hours. Our fellow cabin mates are a mix of Americans returning home and Europeans headed to the U.S. It’s nice. It’s been fun to hear the mix of languages and dialects throughout the cruise, particularly the melodic Italian. Even the English language sounds more musical on the lips of Italians. Buongiorno and Arrivederci certainly sound better than Good Morning and Good-bye, and Gracie more lyrical than Thank you. And although I love you is beautiful in any language, who can resist Ti Amo? By tonight, I’ll be back in Southern California, where people call people Dude and speak a variety of English that includes phrases like These ones and Where are you at? I’ll be home … and happy to be in our own house … but I’ll have Roma in my heart. Ti amo, Roma.