Day 20 and 21, the trip home

We had a relaxing start to the day, in anticipation of a long stressful day on the road.  So we had breakfast, packed our things, and as soon as Miwa fell asleep for her morning nap (9:15), we jumped in the car and took off.

After the initial twisty-windy route to the Autostrada, I was pleased to have the GPS tell me to prepare for a right hand turn in 344km.  I also discovered that the GPS displayed the speed limit (which we could find posted nowhere) and it is 130km/h!  No wonder people had been passing me so much on our way north.  Even at 130, people were passing me like I was standing still, but the poor little fiat was running around 4200RPM at that speed and I didn’t really want to push it too much.

Just as we were getting into the difficult area near the airport, where there are 40 direction signs at every split in the road and you have 0.3 seconds to make a choice, Miwa started crying.  I think she senses just when I am most stressed and figures she’d like to see me snap.  She’s really quite cruel.

Anyway, I managed to return the car without any more scratches than I got it with, so I was quite pleased with myself.

We got to the hotel and discovered they had a free shuttle into Rome, so of course we had to go back in for one more visit, plus we had to find dinner!  The bus dropped us off near the Roman Forum, and apparently into a Zone Of No Restaurants!  We spotted one early on, but it looked closed, so we carried on.  We ended up circling back, and passing it again (15 minutes later, after finding no other restaurants) but it still didn’t really look open so we carried on.  This time it took us 25 minutes to end up being forced to circle past the restaurant once again.  This time we made a more determined investigation, as we were all getting tired, hungry and cranky, and once we opened the door it turned out to be open after all.

Dinner was good, but we over-ordered because we were so hungry, and I couldn’t finish my Carbonara.  Though I did manage to pick out all the bacon!  We were the only customers in there, I think that’s why we thought they were closed, so we had great service and they brought us free desert and desert wine.  Mitzi mentioned that we had a winery in Canada.  They were duly impressed and gave us a bottle of the desert wine. The restaurant was called “in Roma” an their (italian) website is if you want to check them out.

We made the 9pm shuttle back to the hotel, aboard which was a pack of flight attendants from Emirates Air in town for the evening.  They took an immediate shine to Miwa and actually went so far as to borrow her and pass her around.  Miwa loved it.

We got back to the hotel at 9:30, so we had lots of time for sleep.  Miwa, however, had another plan.  She finally went to sleep around 11:30, and since we had to wake up at 4, there wasn’t much space left for sleep.  Throw the fact that since I had set all the alarms and thus felt responsible to get everyone up on time for the flight, I woke up in a cold sweat at 2am after dreams of oversleeping.  The dreams repeated at 2:30, 3:00 and 3:30, so I was pretty tired when the alarm went off at 4.

Check-in turned into a bit of a disaster.  It turns out that:

  1. They do not check boxes of wine
  2. Even if they did, we would have to pay 50 euros extra, because we are only allowed 1 checked bag each.

Since we had only paid about 30 euros for the wine in question, I couldn’t see the sense in paying 50 to ship it, and then another $50 for duty and Jill and I were all for just giving it to the check-in lady.  However, she and Mitzi were horrified that we would just walk away from wine like that, so they convinced us to stuff it into our other checked bags.  We did what we could, but had to abandon 2 bottles anyway, and the packing was quite rushed as there was a large, impatient line-up gathering behind us.

Anyway, we got out of there and headed for security, expecting another line-up, but the check-in lady had directed us to the security line for people with small children, and we were the only ones there!  The rest of our time in Rome was un-eventful, excepting my epic journey through the airport trying to find an open store to get water at.

Amsterdam provided more long line-ups, including another security screening at the gate itself!  Damn you, Underbomber!

I'm pretty sick of dashing from line to line.

I'm pretty sick of dashing from line to line.

For a moment, it appeared that we had gotten a break and we might actually avoid a line-up.  We cleared the gate security and had just enough time to change Miwa and let Mitzi visit the WC, when they called for those with small children to board.  We zoomed to the front of the line and raced down the jet-way, eager to sit down as soon as possible (since we’d only be sitting for the next 10 hours), only to be stopped at the entrance of the plane!  All the lights were out in the inside, and it didn’t look good.  We stood in the frigid jet-way for 15 minutes while they sorted out their un-specified electrical issues.  I love boarding planes with maintenance issues, don’t you?

The flight actually went fairly well.  Miwa was up for about an hour then slept for 3 hours, so we thought things were going pretty good.  Unfortunately, that was it for Miwa sleeping until the last hour of the flight, so we all did a lot of walking and swaying and Jill did a lot of feeding/soothing.

Getting out of the Seattle airport was fine, just a few more line-ups.  We are at our hotel now, and will be heading out for dinner with our friend Fay shortly.  The only other hitch is that one of our bottles of wine broke in transit.  On the bright side, we no longer have to worry about paying duty, since we no longer have more than the limit.

Once in Seattle, Jill, Miwa and Mitzi crashed out for a nap before we were to go have dinner with Fay, Justin and their little girl Sydney.  At 4 I turned on the lights and Jill dragged her butt out of bed while Mitzi declined the invitation.  After successfully transferring Miwa into her bunting bag and wrap we went on a merry jaunt to the restaurant that turned out to be ITALIAN!  It was all good and it was nice to see Fay and family after so long.

This is probably the last of the travel blogs for this trip, though there may be an update tomorrow about the final leg of the journey home….  We will return to the regularly scheduled farm and wine updates.



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