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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Flights and surprise on arrival in Rome

Noting while I'm offline: The flight to Chicago was on a United CRJ-200, a cramped regional jet, but it was short enough not to be too painful, and it was on time. Unlike most of their RJ flights, it arrived at the main Terminal 1, concourse C, with the design evoking grand old train stations. I have three hours to wait for Margaret's arrival, and don't know much about that flight's status; for now I'll just count on everything working right.

The flight, scheduled for 7.30, arrived at 7.50. I was getting worried about getting to our departure gate in time for the international cutoff for the 8.50 departure. We took the underpass between concourses C and B and went to the Lufthansa boarding gate at the far end of B. An agent said Margaret's carry-on had to be checked, and he let us sit in a special sitting area for preboards. We got to preboard, and when boarding was complete there was a couple behind us whom Margaret met on the flight from Sacramento; they were also going to Rome. It was nice to meet them.

The aircraft, an A340, was reasonably comfortable in Economy. The lavatories were on a lower level, nice that waiting passengers weren't in regular aisles. I took the dinner choice of curried chicken. It's different than usual having Margaret with me, but I got a fair amount of sleep.

The arrival in Munich was scheduled for 12.50; we were early, landing at 12.15, and getting to the gate at 12.30. The arrangement was simlar to Frankfurt; we disembarked on the upper non-Schengen level and walked the length of it, clearing passport control, then went downstairs to the Schengen level. We went through an area of several shops and an airy gate area. I was surprised that there was no security check; they relied on our TSA clearance in the U.S.

Margaret got an iPhone plan that seemed to be a good deal, although I'm skeptical. We got euros at the ATM. We asked to get seats together and for Margaret to preboard. That boarding gate had stairs down to the tarmac where we were the first to board the bus. Our preboard status wasn't much help in getting off the bus and taking stairs to board the plane; our new seats were in row 7, towards the front. We were served cake. I'm writing this onboard as we're on target for an on-time arrival at 4.30 p.m.

We arrived. and baggage claim at Fiumicino airport was surprisingly fast. We had reserved a car and driver with Rome Shuttle Limousine; the driver was there and took us to the Mercedes. We were reserved at the Baci da Roma B&B ; even though the area south of Termini isn't a favorite of mine, I was intrigued by the rooms evoking fashion and pop culture icons. Just to be extra sure, I called the owner while we were on the way; she said there was a complication with the room and asked me to give the phone to the driver. She asked him to take us to an alternate nearby location. We got there and the owner said the previoius guest had left with the key; even though they had other keys, she couldn't guarantee the safety of the place, especially if the guest had lost the key. So we were booked in a 2-bedroom apartment with kitchen, a more complete space, in the same general area but beyond Porta Maggiore, and so outside the Aurelian Walls. We'll see how it goes; we had our first meal in Italy in a restaurant downstairs from the apartment.


  1. Andrew, wishing you and Margaret a wonderful trip. We are just back and wishing we were still there.

  2. Welcome to Rome, Andrew! I hope the apartment works out well.

  3. So nice to read about the fly!! Margaret told me about the apartment but now I understand it better!!

    1. UPS I meant flight!!