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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Returning home

After returning home, I'm posting just a little about getting home.  We completed our time in Umbertide mostly staying in town and around the house.  For our departure day, on the road to Rome, we stopped and saw Slow group friends Barbara and Art, who spend a good amount of time in Umbria, at Il Testone semi-fast food off the highway in the Perugia area.  We had a night booked on Starwood points at the Sheraton Parco de' Medici, at the intersection of the G.R.A. and Fiumicino airport road.  Even though I'd seen the road pretty well on Google Maps Street View, I took a wrong exit towards the Parco de' Medici golf course, and had Waze navigate me around the four loops of the cloverleaf to get me pointed the right way and continue to the correct exit.

That Sheraton is spread around three buildings some distance apart.  Building 2 was the first one and we stopped there, hoping we would not be put in Building 1, which has a high parking charge, while the others have free parking.  I'd seen some negative reviews of the place, many of them about staff attitude when guests wanted to check in early, but we were well past the 3 p.m. check-in time and were treated nicely, and given a room in that building.

The hotel might not have been the best for a true Roman experience for the final night, but it was comfortable: we went for drinks and then had a room service meal: a serviceable amatriciana for me.  Worried about a big flight day, we were awake early in the morning, and at 6.30 we were the first in for the breakfast buffet, which I'd agreed to take at check-in for a lower price.

We checked out and drove to the airport.  We had a reasonable car return, with the need to back up to make the tight turns up the ramp, and got to the terminal.  This was our first departure since U.S. carriers had returned to Terminal 3:  we needed to get to the far end, past a screening of passports to enter.  We were checked in, and went through unfamiliar real estate to exit passport control and security, and through a shopping area to the train to the satellite concourse.  Although it seemed slow, we were at the gate well before departure.

We had our boarding and some mechanical issue delayed our departure.  We were ready for a long flight: 10 hrs. 40 on the schedule, but 9.5 hours flight time that day.  It was long, but with entertainment options both on the seat back and our own devices, including live news: still less time that we're forced away from the usually bad news.

We landed and made our way through border controls in Charlotte: the Global Entry machines had trouble reading my passport, but we eventually got through.  Then we had the new TSA check for our connection to Boston:  a bit of a wait for that flight, and our seats were Main Cabin Extra, although I think they were just booked as Preferred.

We landed in Boston and were booked at the Hilton attached to the terminal, on a mix of money and points, since I was having trouble using the points but didn't want to empty the account. There was a bit of a wait for the shuttle bus, I thought it was taking a long way to get to the attached hotel, and it turned out it stopped at Signature Flight Support.

We got in, and since we were thinking of taking a bus home that didn't stop at a station with a ticket office, I tried to print our tickets on the hotel's computers.  I ran into trouble, and when I was going to try again in the morning, I found that the tickets had sat in the printers overnight.  We took this newly operating bus, which skipped the South Station stop, and got to Lebanon where my father met us and we got home.  All to end a fine trip.