Smooth Departure and Arrival, Reconnected with Some Old Friends, an Alarming First Evening

After hearing of airport security line horror stories all summer, we scurried our way to the airport. One hour door to gate left us with nearly three hours to kill. Thanks sensationalizing news shows, we could have slept in.

Flights were fairly normal including the caged hyena several rows up, at least that’s what the thing sounded like. Rome didn’t have a jetway available so we deplaned by steps, seriously? Oh well, if your wanted things like at home, why travel.

Once we arrived in Rome and found our driver, it was off to a familiar checkpoint, the Empire Palace Hotel. We have stayed there numerous times and it’s always fun to see what crazy European shower setup the room bestows upon us. This years did not disappoint.

After getting a quick refresh it was lunch time and that meant stopping at another one of our Rome neighborhood standbys, Osteria 44. The food was amazing as always. The highlight however, had to be the naive young girl from the USA who ventured in near the end of our meal and proclaimed to the waitress, “I don’t eat gluten or cheese”. Good luck with that on your Italian holiday.

We left lunch and found our way to an expansive city park to stretch our legs and enjoy the beautiful day (and work off some of the pasta). We even found a nice gentlemen accosting one of the sculptures.

We returned to home base by way of the Spanish Steps and laid down for a brief nap. Before long it was time to get cleaned up for dinner and being our first evening with jet lag weighing us down we headed downstairs to the restaurant. We were quickly met by the maître d’, a familiar face from years past. A wonderful gentlemen who after some discussion admitted he’d been at the Empire for 15 years.

We enjoyed cocktails, wine, and two terrific fish dishes, and that’s the way the evening should have ended. Sadly, it did not, the evening was interrupted by a call from our home security monitoring company, we had an internal alarm going off. Thankfully all seems well, sensors returned to normal, Lisa Lisa and the cult jam stopped by to inspect the outside (thank you Lisa), and the pet sitter will check the inside today. We assume the big cat did something absurd.

The evening concluded with the maître d’ remembering an old friend from the Island of Sardinia who helped ease our angst.

We also met Meg and Patrick from Scotland who are joining us on the cruise portion of this year’s journey.

After a good nights sleep, the Sistine Chapel awaits tomorrow…

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