We started our adventure to Italy and the Mediterranean with a bang. We raced around the house on Friday morning trying to get all open planning items done – which included getting all of our clothes together and packed. Mind you, we were leaving for the airport at 11:30 am, and had not started our packing! Anyway, we managed to get ready in time, and headed to the airport with great excitement. We were going to Italy!
We arrived at the airport and checked in with US Air. We found out that the flight was a bit delayed but we would make our now tight connection in Charlotte NC where we would catch the big plane to Rome. As we had plenty of time, we hit the Chilis in Terminal A and ordered a nice burger and fries. And of course, a glass of wine to celebrate starting our 25th anniversary adventure to Italy! While we were waiting for our food, I grabbed our boarding passes and headed to the gate to make sure we were still on track with the tight connection, while Mike guarded our table.
Imagine my surprise when I found out that the plane was now over an hour late and we were destined to miss our connection! It was even more disturbing to find that some “kind” soul had already looked at the problem and decided to rebook our trip for the FOLLOWING day. WHAT?! I pretty much panicked and for a short moment I found myself about to lose it with the US Air representative, and we all know that is the wrong tact to take when you need help. I shamelessly resorted to begging her to find a reasonable alternative. Thankfully, she pulled it off! She rebooked us on Lufthansa, routing through Frankfurt, Germany. We would be arriving a few hours later than planned in Rome, but still on Saturday. Instead of having 2 nice seats together, we would now be sitting far apart and in middle seats. The plane was basically sold out! So I gratefully accepted the option and headed back to meet up with Mike at Chilis to eat my now cold burger. I downed the food and the very needed glass of wine while I updated Mike on our new plan.
He paid up while I headed down to retrieve the bags that US Air had pulled for us from checked baggage. Amazingly, that worked quite well. By the time Mike caught up with me, I had grabbed the bags and we were ready to roll. Headed across the IAH airport from Terminal A to Terminal D on the clunky tram located in the basement of the airport. We made it there in decent time, and easily checked in. Next unpleasant surprise? The security area was absolutely mobbed. There was no line for TSA Pre (pre-cleared for security, which is normally much faster), and it seemed that a billion people had all decided to go through security at once. After that challenging process, we headed to our gate where we found out that we would be on the new giant mega plane! We were so excited! But the downside is that a mega plane holds mega people. And everyone was in line to board. We leveraged our status there to board a little early, and settled in for the night. We were not able to sit together for the 8-1/2 hour flight, and both got stuck in the middle. We so missed the nice seats we had reserved on the US Airways plane…
To make a long story short, the 2:45pm flight landed at 8:30am the next day in Frankfurt. The plane was packed, and though the plane was huge, the builders had not allocated any more space per row than older planes. Maybe even less! However, we were given pillows and blankets, 2 very nice meals, and the alcohol was free. After arrival we talked about it and found that we had both been cramped like sardines, were over-warm as the AC was not cooling evenly across the space, and had not slept. I snoozed a bit but never slept and Mike didn’t sleep at all. We thankfully got off of the plane in Frankfurt and went through customs and through security yet again. Then headed clear across the airport to catch our short flight from Frankfurt to Rome. Fortunately it was uneventful, and we yet again had free food and wine. We like Lufthansa!
We safely arrived in Rome and caught transport to our hotel, the Augusta Lucilla Palace. We passed amazing sights, and cannot wait to see this beautiful city! We have settled in to the hotel for our 1 night stay – we head to Florence (Firenze) by train tomorrow. But we will be back to Rome later in our trip, when we will dive into the city. We had a nap and headed out for dinner and wine before we crash for the night. We were recommended to a nice Trattoria down the street for dinner. We had a wonderful experience – the owner was gracious and the lasagne was the best either of us has ever had. We thoroughly enjoyed the evening. It has been over 31 hours since we got up on Friday morning. We can’t wait to get a good night’s sleep! Can’t wait to see how navigating the train system will be on Sunday!
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