Day 1 (Mon, Sep 17): Flight from Seattle (SeaTac) to Rome (Leonardo da Vinci, Fiumicino)

SEA Seattle ORD Chicago FCO Rome

American Airlines 2578
13A, 13B
Boeing (Douglas D-80)
Seating, amenities
1,721 mi
3hr 50mn

American Airlines 110
Boeing 767-300
Seating, amenities
4,823 mi
9hr 15mn

Yellow = hotels
Blue = day trips

Preliminary: We had a goodbye dinner with our neighbor Raylene Saturday night -- pan-roasted broccoli and yellow bell pepper with chicken cutlets in caper-parsely sauce -- after which we watched one of our favorite movies, The Women (1939). Raylene gave us a ride to the train station at 7:30 Sunday morning. We rode on a chartered bus rather than Amtrak because their Talgo trains were having their suspension systems repaired. It was misty in Bellingham, turning to rain the farther south we went. Got to King Street Station at 10:00 and caught a cab to Karen's sister Chris' home on Queen Anne hill. Had Sunday brunch with Chris, Kate, Matt and Rachel. Had dinner at Chinook's in the Fisherman's Terminal. Karen and Chris had beautiful shrimp louies; I enjoyed a delicious fettucine with smoked salmon. Had some more wine back at Chris' place and went to bed about 10:00.

The Adventure Begins     The ShuttleExpress van arrived at 2:30 am. Chris got up to see us off, why I don't know but it was nice of her. We were the only "guests" (i.e., passengers) on the trip to Sea-Tac, which we reached about 3:00. There we made the unhappy discovery that the American Airlines check-in desk wouldn't even open until 4:00. So we sat and twiddled our thumbs in an empty airport for an hour. Thank you, ShuttleExpress.

When things finally did get moving they went pretty well. We got our boarding passes and checked our bags just fine. We checked a suitcase each and shared a single carry-on. Karen "wore" her perennially useful red bag, and I carried a small black one with all my electronic devices and a Brother Cadfel novel to read. Even the Transportation Safety Agency folks didn't hassle us too much. Our flight for Chicago left on time at 5:45 PST and arrived on time too, 11:40 CST. We spent about four hours at O'Hare. Had a "Chicago style" hot dog, prepared by a very jolly Mexican: Vienna beef franks, onions, tomato, relish, mustard, spices and an extremely hot chili pepper. And a can of Classic Coke to flush it down with.

The afternoon flight for Rome took off promptly at 3:35. When we made the original travel arrangements with Lyon Travel we were assigned to seats 28 H and J (right side, looking forward). The tickets actually issued put us in seats 30 A and 32 B. The lady sitting next to me agreed to trade with Karen, so were able to sit together in 30 A and B. The flight was uneventful. Karen slept and, as usual, I didn't.