Sunday, May 20, 2007


Our vacation to the states was going to be hectic, we knew that from the start. We'd arrive in Tampa and spend a few days with the grandgirls, then fly to Louisville. We had an entire week in Louisville before Art had to start work at Churchill Downs, so we knew it would be a hectic week, and it was.

Once the track opened, our one car status meant that I had to drive Art to and from work each day....quite a long haul from the condo we'd exchanged our house for. Never-the-less, things worked out okay, and by the end of two weeks, Art was ready to go back into retirement.

We turned in the rental car, had one last dinner with family, then checked into an airport hotel for our early morning flight to Boston. Our friends Paul and Mer filled our 2 1/2 days there with so many interesting sights...we toured Fenway Park, toured Boston itself, even drove to New Hampshire and Maine! The weather was unbelievably fantastic, and we had a great time.

Early on Tuesday morning we left Boston for one last day in Tampa. As luck would have it, Tuesday was the day our little redhead graduated from pre-school, so we were able to be there for the celebration.

On Wednesday morning we drove back to the airport, ready to go back to Italy. Our first surprise was when we discovered that somehow our reservation had been cancelled! After getting things back on track, we boarded the plane, then sat on the runway for over an hour, waiting for a storm in Philadelphia to pass through.

Once we finally took off from Tampa, we had a few concerns about making our connection to Rome, but those hopes were dashed after we ended up circling Philadelphia....apparently the storm hadn't quite finished.

Of course we weren't the only plane circling, and had to wait our turn. Eventually we ran low on gas and had to fly to Atlantic City to re-fuel! The storm followed us, forcing us to sit on the ground for waaaay longer than we'd planned. We eventually landed in Philly well after 10 p.m., and joined the line with everyone else who needed to be re-booked and put up for the night.

Things moved excruciatingly slow, but eventually we were able to speak with an agent. Of course there were no seats available for the Thursday flight to Rome, meaning that we'd be in Philly for at least two more nights. Ugh.

When we tried to collect our luggage we discovered that because our luggage was tagged for Rome, it was now locked up for the night, and the chances of retrieving it in the morning were small. Great....we had no toiletries and no clean clothes for the next few days!

We were given an emergency toiletry kit and sent to a local hotel for the night. Once we checked in we discovered that our voucher was good for one night only, but since we'd planned to return to the airport the next morning in search of our luggage, we hoped to get this taken care of too.

Apparently the USAir/American West has really been difficult...or at least that's the excuse they were using! Every time one agent would tell us one thing, the next agent would tell us it wasn't possible...always due to a change in policy under the changed administration.

The good news was that we were able to get our luggage, but the bad news was that we'd still have to wait until Friday to fly to Rome. The good news was that USAir did pay for our second night's hotel, but the bad news was that we had to change hotels, meaning we had to trek back out to the first hotel to collect our stuff.

The good news was we were able to spend a day in Philly (which we didn't like as much as Boston, for whatever reason). We checked in bright and early the next morning as we'd been told, hoping to get two seats together, but that didn't prove possible. We spent the day hanging out in the airport, and were soooo ready to get on that plane!

Thanks to the generosity of one very nice woman who offered to change seats, we were able to sit together on the plane....with seats as tight as they are now, at least we could lean on each other without fear of offending!

Thanks to the help of my daughter, we'd been able to contact our friend Wendy who picked us up at the airport. It was a wonderful treat to not have to worry about train and bus schedules, and I promptly fell asleep in the car on the way home.

Today, after sleeping past noon, we're doing laundry, putting away the American treats we brought back with us, and enjoying being in our own home again.

My daughter will drive to Chicago on Monday in hopes of getting our grandson's passport so that he can fly out on Tuesday for three weeks with us...meaning that we'll be back at the Rome airport on Wednesday to pick him up.......fingers crossed!


At 5/21/2007 06:13:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow Barb.... You two sure got more than your share of abuse this trip. Hope that was 'it' for the duration. Thanks for showing us all how to come out unscathed.
Welcome home.

At 5/22/2007 07:32:00 AM , Blogger Giovanna Pasquarelli said...

Hi Barb...I just started a blog myself and will be taking flight to Italy on July 6. Your experience reminds me of too many bad flights I have encountered in times past. On this flight I am leaving out of Miami for Dusseldorf then on to Rome...Hopefully my blog won't be as eventful as yours was. But I am glad you both made it back safely. Giovanna


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