Thursday, October 7, 2021

Day 16--Sicily

 Bill and I woke up about 2:30 am, so decided to just get up and get ready for our 3:30 departure at the hotel.  

It didn't take long to get dressed and throw the last few items in the luggage.  We needed to put the luggage outside our room 10 minutes before we left, but we were ready before that so just carried them upstairs when we left.  Nunzia was waiting for us.  Every trip we've taken with Grand Circle/OAT the trip leader has been there until everyone has left no matter what the hour.

She introduced us to our driver and also gave us two packed meals.  I don't know what was in the bag but it was heavy.  Neither Bill or I like to eat a lot before we fly so we gave the driver and his side kick our food.

We had to go to Catania airport to catch our flight.  It was about a 45 minute very dark ride. 

After retrieving our luggage, the driver showed us where we had to go.  It was a long line that was roped off.  Once we got in line it began to rain.  The line didn't move very fast as there was someone at the door that wanted to see either your reservation or boarding pass and most people didn't have that paperwork readily available.

I forgot to mention in yesterday's post that a doctor came to the hotel after breakfast to give us a Covid test for our flight.  This was not included in our trip but it was only 20 Euros.  Nunzia handed out paper copies of our Covid test the night before.  We also had filled out the attestation form for the US and had paper copies.

When we checked in with Alitalia airlines we gave them all of our paperwork and had our boarding passes very quickly.  They did tell us that our bags were only checked through to Rome and we'd have to retrieve them and check in with Delta in Rome.

We flew Alitalia to Rome.  Alitalia had strict rules about a face mask.  You had to have a KN95 and had to change it every 4 hours.  Our flight left at 6:40 am and arrived a few minutes early at 7:56 am.  I know it's been a while since we've flown to Rome, but the airport is much nicer than I remember on our last trip to Italy.  It was very clean and most of all quiet.  

It was a long walk to the baggage area and this time we decided to use one of their carts to go through passport control.  When they asked us to lower our mask for a photo, I said "gladly".

Once through the passport control, we couldn't find Delta.  There were a lot of airlines but we didn't see Delta.  I asked someone and they said to exit the airport and then come in on the ground floor.  

There was a line for Delta and when we got to the end the lady said she needed our attestation form.  I handed it to her and she said we only except digital ones.  One look at us and she said no problem.  She did something with her phone and we were told to go to check in.  Old age does have advantages because they will help you rather than wait for us to figure it out.

At check in the girl asked us to lower our masks so she could see our faces.  I asked her is she didn't need to see it again.  It felt good to remove the mask.  

We had a four hour wait between flights and I have to say I was glad for the extra time.  We got on the train to go to E terminal.  There are two E terminals but we found our gate with no problems.  

Bill and I split a sandwich.  We had to show our "green pass" before we could sit at the table.  I guess I didn't mention the Covid rules for Italy.  Everyone is suppose to wear a mask even on the street.  We found very few people doing this.  Any museum or government run building required you to show your green pass.  I had made a copy of our vaccination card and the front page of our passport before we left home.  That's all we had to show when they required a green pass.  I had the straps on our masks so every morning when we left we placed it around our necks and if we entered a government building we put the mask on when we showed the "green pass" and then took it off once we entered.

Our flight from Rome to Atlanta was very smooth.  We actually left 10 minutes early.  The food was once again not bad and the ice cream for dessert was good.  The full bottles of wine on these flights was much better than the little bottles some of the other airlines give you.  I know most people like to get near the front of the plane but Bill and I prefer the back.  Most people use the restrooms in front of them.  Also the serving carts don't block your access to the restrooms or the snacks they put out in the back of the plane.

It was an 11 hour flight, but it didn't seem that long.  We watched a lot of movies and by the time they served two meals and snacks the time went by rather quickly.  Neither Bill or I slept.

We arrived in Atlanta around 5 pm.  There was no waiting as we have global entry and no one was at the machines.  We retrieved our luggage and put them back in for our final flight home.  We had a four hour wait for the next flight.

Now we are starting to get tired.  Only one 4 hour flight and we'll be home.  The next plane was completely full.  Bill had an aisle seat and I had a middle seat.  There was a boy of 10 years old next to me and his mother was behind him in the next row.  The kid had a 13 week old puppy.  The mother also had a dog with her.

This kid kept getting up to use the restroom about every 30 minutes.  Just when you start to fall asleep, he'd say he had to use the restroom.  Needless to say, we didn't get any sleep on that flight.

By the time we walked down to baggage, our luggage was going around on the carousel.  We walked outside and the parking lot shuttle arrived.  We were the only ones on the shuttle.  Of course, it's about midnight now.

We took the elevator up to our floor and Bill punched the key to open the tailgate.  Nothing happened.  We tried to start the car and still nothing.  I went down to the office and said we had a dead battery and the girl said no problem.  Just sign a form that they aren't responsible for any damage and they'd bring a charger right up.  The car started up and away we went.  45 minutes and we'll be home.

Oh, did I forget to mention that the 143 was closed at I 10.  No problem we'll go another way.  No we won't.  Okay, let's try this again.  Finally, we got down to I 10.  I might mention that I do not drive at night if I can help it.

It was a wonderful trip.  We met some amazing people that I know we'll stay in touch with.  Wonderful memories!  Now comes another problem.....where do we go next?

Turtle Safely......


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