The longest day I have experienced in a while started with a crisis averted. My phone had decided to die during the middle of the night leaving me with just my Fitbit as an alarm. Fortunately, I did not sleep through it this time as I usually do! Once we were ready and packed, Barbara and I set off for the metro station. We took the metro to the train station just as we had practiced the day before. It was here that we were parting and heading our separate ways. Barbara is journeying on to Bologna before heading to Berlin and then Scandinavia.
Making my way through the train station, I was able to find the platform for the Leonardo Express. It is the train that connects directly to the airport. Rome’s airport is actually in the city of Fiumicino out on the western coast. It was a noneventful 30-minute commute. I then followed the herd of people to my terminal where I proceeded to check in and go through security and customs.
Once I found myself inside the terminal, I relaxed a bit and went in search of a place to have breakfast. I discovered the Michaelangelo Bistrot Roma. I ordered and proceeded to devour the “Breakfast of Champions,” which included a pot of tea, orange juice, a fried egg, bacon, a cheese assortment, and toast. With some time to spare before my flight was scheduled to depart, I did a little window shopping.
It was then time to board the plane for the dreadful 11-hour flight. I was unlucky enough to have been seated in a seat whose USB charging port was not functioning. After finishing my book, I shut down my iPad and switched to the in-seat entertainment system. I then proceeded to watch King Arthur, Wonder Woman, Gaga: Five Foot Two, and the beginning of Baywatch. Being cramped in the seat for so long I developed a nauseatingly intense tension headache. With an hour left in the flight, I was more than ready to land. It was around this time that the announcement questioning if there were any doctors onboard was made. The plane could not land fast enough. Unfortunately, there was quite a bit of turbulence during the landing into Charlotte.
With just carryon luggage, making my way through customs and security was a breeze. I walked to my gate only to see out the window that the source of the previous turbulence was a massive thunderstorm. Needless to say, my flight was then delayed two hours. With an abundance of time on my hands and the continuing headache, I splurged and headed to the “spa” for a 20-minute chair massage. I felt like a new person when she was finished working out the knots in my neck. With a clear head, I grabbed some “dinner” from Starbucks and headed back to my gate.
The terminal was packed with people from delayed flights due to the storm. I managed to find a seat and settled in. As the end of the two hours neared, an announcement was made that they might be changing the gate since the current plane parked at the gate had not left yet. The next delay was then announced. Eventually, they did change the gate and a group of us made the trek over. The flight then proceeded to start a pattern of being delayed every 10 minutes. It turned out that our flight crew had not arrived from their previous flight. My 7 o’clock flight home finally departed at 10 o’clock. There was still some turbulence from the storms and the in-flight drink service was canceled. We somehow managed to arrive earlier than what was predicted! It was wonderful to be reunited with my family and dog! After being awake for 24 hours, I snuggled into my amazingly comfortable bed and was sound asleep in no time.