A Fountain in Tivoli

Italy by Bus

Day 14

Wednesday, June 13, 2001 - Going home


Rome -- USA Today we transfer to the airport for our return flight to America. (BB)

Going home

What a sad day! Today we wake up knowing that we have to leave Italy and fly home. I kept wishing that we could "go around again".

We were at the airport about four hours before our flight was scheduled to leave, and then it was delayed by half an hour.

Molto Mario

While we waited, Karen looked up and said, "Hey, is that Molto Mario?"
I looked over and I said, "It sure is!"
Chef Mario Batali has a cooking show on the Food channel called "Molto Mario" and Karen watches the Food channel often.
But more importantly, he also has a show called "Mario Eats Italy" that we watched whenever it was on before our trip.
Other people were going up and talking to him, and having their pictures taken with him. This did not seem to bother him, so we went over. It turns out that he was heading to New York for a few days, and then is going to go back to Italy to tape more shows. I took his photo with Karen and then we left him to the next couple.

Molto Mario at the Airport in Rome, Italy Karen with Mario Batali in the airport in Rome

Are we ever going to leave?

Finally, we were on the plane, and it was taxiing out toward the runway.
I noticed a young woman walk down the aisle and heard her talking to the flight attendants, saying the she thought the plane was unsafe, and that she wanted to get off. They escorted her to a seat up in the front of the plane. I briefly thought that this might be a good way to get into first class. Then another young woman sitting in front of us went forward as well.
After that, we realized that we were taxiing for a long time, and we stopped in a remote part of the airport. Police cars, ambulances and busses appeared around the plane. (We found out later that one of the young women had attempted to open the door.)
An investigation was begun to determine why they wanted off the plane. Then they dragged out the baggage, found the baggage that belonged to the women, and carried them off in the ambulances. (Later it was learned that one of them had dreamed the night before that the plane was going to have a problem.)
While we were waiting for the baggage to be put back on the plane, another woman came up to the flight attendants and said that now she was scared, and wanted to get her family off the plane. By the time the baggage was back on board, they had convinced her that there was no problem.
We finally took off about two and a half hours late. Other than the bad food and service, there were no other incidents on the flight.

But it brought home the fact that we were no longer traveling a la Marco!

Suggestion to Trafalgar

Although we had a great time on this tour, I think it could be made even better. I wrote these suggestions on the survey we filled out during the ride from Siena to Rome, but I doubt that they will take heed of them.

I felt that the two days in the Italian Lakes did not fit in with the rest of the tour. Now, some people will say that I feel this way because of the rain we had there, but this is not the case.
There was nothing near the hotel. The only thing to see was the palace on Isola Bella, which was very beautiful. However, if I had missed this and seen other things (see below) I would not have been sad. And I did not get a lot out of our trip to Lugano, where the only thing was two hours to shop.


If it were up to me, which it obviously wasn't, and many people may disagree with me, I would make the following changes:

  • Delete the two days in the Italian Lakes;
  • Add a second night in Assisi;
    • This would eliminate the situation where we had two travel days in a row;
    • This would allow time to see things in Assisi like the fortress, ancient city walls, the convent of the St. Clares, and so on.
  • Add some time in Rome to walk through the Forum during the included tour instead of just standing on the Palatine Hill looking at it;
  • Add some time in Rome to go inside the Colosseum as part of the included tour;
  • Add some time in Pompeii to see the amphitheater in addition to what we saw.

Well, these are some of the things on our list to see when we go back to Italy on our own.
I hope you enjoyed this travelogue.


Marilyn and Beth

Commentary from Marilyn and her daughter Beth about their Best of Italy tour, September 7-20, 2001, reproduced here with their permission.

Day 14, Thursday, 20 September, 2001 - Rome to home

Well so sad it's over.
We had an early flight, 9:45 am, so we had to get on the bus for the airport at 6:00 am. Our tour director came with us to the airport to see us off and say "Ciao"!!! The hotel packed us the best breakfast box that we had the whole trip!!! Due to the 9/11 attack the security was very tight and we were in line for about 2 hours for check in. We had to change our carryons around while we were in line due to the tightened security, so I had to transfer most of my breakables into our checked luggage.
After that we went to the area to have our VAT refund stamped and then to the last area to get the refund. If you find yourself with a lot of time at the airport there are shops to browse in and to spend your last Lira.
We had breakfast, dinner, and then lunch [yes in that order], all were very good for airplane food. Two movies were shown. After around 9 hours we landed in the good old USA. Went though immigration, got our luggage and then though customs. All was hassle free, and none of my breakables were broken!!!!

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Contents © Copyright 2001 Author: Lee Briggs except where noted. All rights reserved.