Monday, October 17, 2011

Radio Silence

Ok, ok... I know. I've gone radio silent. Does that leave you wondering about the trip home? Let me fill you in...

We woke at the you-know-what crack of dawn to pile ourselves and all our belongings into the Milanese cab that must have started charging us when he left Florence. He didn't speak a lick of English, or he was simply ignoring my complaints about the meter when I got in.

I was really glad we looked at our itinerary, since I had the airport we were leaving from wrong most of the week. That would have added and extra element of disaster clearly not necessary when my mother and I are together. We are like a vortex for disfunction. This is clearly demonstrated when we get to the counter at KLM, which is the airline listed on our email confirmation, and nobody is there. Thankfully, the guy at British Airways points us toward Alitalia.


I'm sorry. I've been trying really hard not to swear on the blog this trip. That's saying a lot, since I typically swear like a sailor. But really... Alitalia, again? I'm happy to let them have another crack at properly handling our luggage, only they won't check it in. It's just past six, which they say is too early. I have never, ever, been told I was too early for a flight. I find this hysterically funny. Until I realize there are pretty much no seats. Not "not vacant seats"... no seats, period. Weird for an international airport. This might actually rank Milan Linate UNDER Washington DC's Dulles for me. That's a feat. I can't stand Dulles.

I digress.

They tell us to come back at 7:00 AM. I do, and ask for luggage tags. They don't have any AND they tell me to come back at 7:30.

These people are really starting to irritate me.

I go to the little shop and buy a few stamps to send some straggling post cards. I figure out where customs is so we can validate our "tax free" vouchers, which we hope means we can claim the refund once we get through security. By the time I circle back to mom, it is time and we unload the heavy stuff to head to the gate. Were we do a little more shopping.

At this point, I've decided this is a sickness. I can't, under any circumstances, restrain myself from buying these lovely nail polishes. And lip gloss. And makeup bag. I need an intervention. Maybe mom and I can get a 2-for-1 on that.

The flight to Amsterdam is uneventful. When we arrive, however, we have exactly one hour until our connecting flight in a terminal that might as well be in a different city departs. Thank you, airline gods. Jogging isn't and option -- need to run. Mom's asthma makes that less than an attractive option. Praying might work.

We make it -- of course -- and are pleasantly surprised to discover that there is no one in the seat next to us. Makes me feel less like a sardine. We watch a movie together, eat what might amount to the worst Swedish food on the planet (and I say this as an Ikea cafeteria connoisseur), and I fall asleep. Mom decides she's getting hey money worth by watching four movies. I think she mentions two TV shows as well.

How long did I sleep?

And finally... home again. To Dulles, and an unbelievable line at customs. I think mom was actually flirting with the agent a bit. Makes me wish I had smuggled that salami after all. We are off to collect our bags, which is super convenient as we waited so long to get through customs that all the bags from our flight are sitting next to the luggage carousel.

All, that is, except for ours.


Within the next week, I'll be posting the gelato lowdown and my final blog post. I'm asking mom to put one together, too, so you can hear from her what she loved, hated, and would buy again. Until then... I bid you ado.

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