Today I start the trip back from Italy. The bus transfer to the airport was at 8:00 if I remember correctly. I was actually lucky, some people had to leave the hotel at 4:00 a.m. to get to the airport for their flights. There had been an earlier bus transfer somewhere around 6:00.
One unusual thing happened which I wish I had seen for myself but a number of people told me this story. The Hotel Mediterrano is on a main street. In this location it has no parking or even a driveway. Busses dropping and picking up people must park on the street in a 15-30 minute parking zone. When the bus returned after its first transfer, it parked here as it was only going to be a short time. During this short time either two or three women police officers came along and started complaining to Mario, the driver, that he had been there too long. He got mad and paced up and down the sidewalk and the police women got mad. Being Italy, of course, the arms were waving in all sorts of gesturing. Sometime during this phase, tour director Alison came along and let's just say things only got worse. Finally, Alison said to the police officers that if they would do there jobs properly, this wouldn't be a problem or something to this effect. After this the police officers walked away and there were no further problems.
The trip to the airport took about an hour and so we were there in lots of time for a 12:30 flight. After doing all the necessary formalities, I still had lots of time. There were five or six of us on the same flight along with others who were on other flights around that time so we sat in a snack bar, talked and watched the people go by. We finally headed to the gate which requires a short trip on an automated train and arrived there and found an Autogrill in the airport terminal. Alison had said we should eat there and not on the plane but none of us did. We came to regret that.
We were called to board at the expected time. It was at this point that we discovered that tour director Alison was on our flight to London. She lives in England and had four days off and was going home. As I remember, the plane departed at or close to the proper time. The route to London was the same as the route down in reverse of course. Lunch was served and it wasn't the best, as Alison had indicated. British Air considers Europe to be domestic so you get domestic quality food which is usually quite inferior to international food.
The flight arrived in London a bit late which was no problem from my point of view. There was one couple that was in our group that had to get to Waterloo Train station in central London to catch a Eurostar train to Paris. It was going to be tight for them. I have no idea if they made it or not but I think they had enough time to do it with a bit to spare. The formalities in London actually happened unusually quickly and I was on my way from Terminal 1 to Terminal 4 and the Heathrow Hilton in short order. Got to the hotel checked into a room with an airport view and relaxed the rest of the day.
Originally Created: February 7th, 2004
Final Edit: February 18, 2004 5:04 PM