Day 16: Arrivederci, Italia e Veneto!

We got up at our usual 6:00 and packed the last of our things in Karen's red carry-all (which has lived up to its name on this trip).

Many in our group are going on to other destinations in Italy. The rest of us met in the hotel lobby for one last time. Laura led us to the Zattere, where we saw one last sunrise over the Palladian Churches on the Giudecca. Our boat to Marco Polo airport awaited us.

The trip across the lagoon went well. Had another look at Murano and some of the other islands we saw yesterday. Arrived at the airport and were joined shortly by the trasbagaglio group in a van with our luggage. Very efficient. We scattered to our various lines. Most of the group were headed for Paris, where they faced a 7-hour layover before leaving for the U.S.

Our time at the airport passed pleasantly enough. The staff was efficient, and - once we found the Delta departures area - the signage was easy to understand and follow. We left on time at 11:50am, flight 151, row 38, seats a and b. As it was on the day we arrived, it was raining.

The plane trip across the Atlantic went well, arriving 3:00pm. Karen spent the time reading an excellent Mary Wesley novel called "A Dubious Legacy".

Hello, United States and Washington!

The trip became more unpleasant when we landed at JFK and discovered that our 5:35 flight to Seattle had been cancelled. We really had no idea what to do, nor was anyone willing to offer suggestions.

After wandering here and there, we finally made it to the Delta ticketing and check-in area, where someone directed us to a service representative phone where we learned we had been transferred to an alternate flight, at 7:10 at Gate 25. We got to Gate 25 and settled down for a couple of hours. When the gate desk opened Karen got in a long line of equally anxious passengers and learned that we were indeed on the plane (thank the gods) but not seated together (damn the gods).

Despite the mob scene, everyone made it aboard. Edward and another man switched seats so he could sit next to his wife and Edward could sit next to Karen. It all worked out, but we both felt very frazzled by the whole business -- it didn't help that we'd been up and awake for who knows how many hours. Still, we're never going near JFK again if there are any decent alternatives.

Karen slept most of the trip across the country, but of course Edward couldn't. Got to Seattle on time and found our way to baggage claim with no problems. Then we had a long wait until the baggage arrived. Fortunately, Karen found a place for Edward to sit. Double fortunately, our luggage at last arrived.

We took a cab to Chris'. Unfortunately our foreign cab driver didn't know how to get to Queen Anne Hill from the Alaskan Way Viaduct, so we wandered the wilderness between Belltown and the Seattle Center until we finally got him on the right streets. Very frustrating.

Chris was still up when we arrived - bless her. It was a little before midnight. Had a little wine and unwound a bit, then went upstairs to a wonderful bed and a brief, deep sleep. By the time my head finally hit the pillow I had been awake for 27 hours (not to mention angry and frustrated by the U.S. part of the trip). We got the 7:45am Amtrak to Bellingham and home, sweet home, by 10:30.

il viaggio prossimo ... Firenze e Toscana!


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