Day 10: Homeward Bound

November 30

Coming home from a fabulous vacation is fraught with mixed emotions for me. I can’t ever remember us having a bad vacation, ever. As I mentioned in the previous post, Larry and I are the best traveling buddies. Hell, we’re pretty darn great most of the time. Yes, we disagree from time to time, but in the 13 years we’ve been together I can safely say we have never once had a knock down drag out fight, or screamed and thrown objects at each other!

We are the perfect Ying to each other’s Yang. Case in point: our last few moments in Milan. We checked out of the hotel with plenty of time. On the way to the airport it started to snow. The sky a little drab and dreary. (Helping to make the “good-bye” a little more palatable.) Curbside check-in is a thing for us in America. Non-existant in Italy. What they do have is 30 minute parking at drop off. So in we go with the bags only to find that the check-in counter is on the complete end of the terminal. We get there and he turns around to go back to the car to return it.

Snowing in Milan
Snowing in Milan

The line was out of control – and only TWO agents checking people in.  OK, so I’m calm. It’s 11:00 and the flight leaves at 1:00. Twenty minutes later Larry returns and I have not moved in the line. Not good. 45 minutes later we’ve inched a bit, but it seems like we’re just not moving. I try checking us in via the iPad and iPhone. (I tried that last night with no luck.) Still no luck. Mr. Reina is not happy. Have you ever seen a lawyer when they are not happy? Not a good scene unless they are lobbying for your side. Luckily, I’m still calm. The entire plane is in this line, so what are they going to do? Take off without half the plane?

He goes and finally asks … the Alitalia computer system is down (oh joy!) but she assures him the plane will not depart until everyone is sorted out.  OK, we’re buying that, for now.

Crazy check-in at Alitalia
Crazy check-in at Alitalia

It’s now Noon and oh happy day, two more lovelies have arrived, we now have 4 people checking us in. Finally, we get up to the counter. It’s 12:30, and you guessed it, we’re now NOT sitting together. (Yes, we did have assigned seats.) Here comes the Yang: I can put up with just about anything an airline can dish out: forcing me to throw out my water so I can buy a more expensive bottle to take on the plane, forcing me to throw out a (clearly) half filled bottle of lotion because the label says 4 oz instead of 2 oz, or forcing me take my shoes off to walk on a filthy floor – all in the name of security. Yes, I can put up with all that EXCEPT a change in my seating situation. There is nothing more grating to me that letting someone pick their seat, confirm their seat, and then reassign their seat. What the hell is that all about?! Now I’m on the warpath and he’s calm. It’s funny now, not so much at that moment though.

25 minutes to spare, no problem, right? What do you think? The gate is (of course!) on the complete opposite side of Malpensa, and we still have to go through security and customs. Running, running, running …. and we make it with 5 minutes to spare, I kid you not!

Lucky for me I have a great Ying who immediately is on the seat situation with the nice stewardess; and as the doors close he’s sitting right next to me. Something many people don’t know about me: I have an unnatural fear of the plane going down. Yeah, I know, who do I think I am, a rock star? But if it’s going to happen I want him next to me.

Happy pup!
Happy pup!

Of course we made it home, all in one piece, to a very happy daughter and dog. Airport drama? Perhaps it’s the universe screwing with us to make the travel so miserable that when we land safely and get home we are more grateful than when we left? I don’t know …

Inside the Duomo di Milano
Inside the Duomo di Milano

What I do know is that this trip was incredible, amazing and full of all the great good things we both expected. Perhaps one day soon to return …


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