Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Journey Begins

It all started early – very early. We were up at 3:00am. After getting dressed, we picked up around the house and made some coffee.
On Our Way to Italy
Then we got the dogs settled at Thomas’ Dad’s house – Bruce and Nancy wiil take care of them for us. We left the house around 3:40am and headed to Albuquerque. Since it was so early there wasn’t any traffic but the drive seemed to take forever. Eventually we arrived at Airport Parking and caught the shuttle. We checked in our bags and got our boarding passes and headed for security. It was slow going through the checkpoint – they only had one lane open, but we got through and gathered our things and headed for our gate. By the time we got done with everything we didn’t have long to wait for our flight. We boarded the plane and took our seats. The flight was quick, it only took about an hour and 20 minutes to reach Dallas. We landed at DFW at Terminal D – we then needed to get to Terminal C for our connecting flight to New York. The Skylink was a quick ride to Terminal C and in no time we were at our gate. There was still about an hour before we were leaving so we took a bathroom break and then got a quick bite to eat (McDonald’s – bacon McGriddle, sausage McMuffin, hashbrowns and water). Then we waited, but not very long and then we started the boarding for the flight to JFK. The boarding seemed to take forever and we left about 15 minutes later than our scheduled departure – it was about 10:20am when we finally took off. This flight was longer and a little more uncomfortable because the woman in front of me kept pushing back in her seat and causing my drink to spill. She did eventually go to sleep and that made things better.

During the flight to JFK I watched Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, I listened to my iPod, I read and I worked a little on this blog. It definitely made the flight go faster. The only snacks on the flight were things you had to buy and I felt they were really expensive for what they were offering. So I had some orange juice and water. Thomas didn’t have anything except the water he brought on the plane with him. Most of the time Thomas read or slept and before we knew it we were in New York.

When we arrived in New York it was around 2:30pm which meant we had about 5 hours to kill. We walked around the concourse and eventually stopped at Abitino’s Pizza and we each had a slice of pepperoni and sausage pizza. After eating we walked around and stopped in a couple of shops before heading to our gate.We found a corner of the waiting area and settled in. I connected to the internet to look up a quote from the Madagascar movie.
The main character (a lion named Alex) was talking to his zebra friend (Marty). They were in Rome and they were part of a circus performing at the Colosseum and this was the quote . . .
“The Colosseum Marty! The original theatre in the round. You know my ancestors used to perform here. Every show a captive audience. Apparently they killed.”
I loved this – since we are going to Rome and will visit the Colosseum and since I use the trail name lionsmane this quote really stayed with me.

After checking this quote I look at my emails and then decided I could use some coffee. There was a Starbucks near our gate so I started walking in that direction. I ended bumping into Grumpy Grinch (Susie and Frank). I showed them where we were sitting and they went and met Thomas and I went to get my coffee – I ended up with a venti iced Caramel Macchiato. We visited for a little while and Susie gave us each a bag of trail mix for a snack on the plane. Not long later the lazy letterboxer (Deanne) and the letterboxing ham (Dave) showed up. Deanne made everyone a journal with the event stamp on the cover (a great journal and a nice gift) and she carved us each a signature stamp (our trail name in Italian).  Shortly thereafter someone noticed the rest of the group walking in so I went over and showed them where we were sitting. So we were joined by ggghiker (Toni), EdieSoCal (Edie), The Seeker – aka Nana C of Nana C and the Seedlings (Cheri), sewsewbizzy (Judy) and Mark & Sue Pepe. Sue brought banana bread to share with the group. With all twelve us now in the airport I think it finally hit me we were on our way to Italy. The group has people from all over the U.S. – Alaska, California, New Mexico, Illinois, Virginia, Connecticut and Massachusetts. We did some stamping in of the new Italian signature stamps, the event stamp and some stamps that sewsewbizzy carved to plant in Italy. You can read about that at Letterboxingat JFK. We then just visited until it was time to board the plane which was about 7:30pm. By the time we boarded, taxied on the runway and finally took off it was a little after 8:00pm.

Settled in our seats and finally on our way, the flight crew came around with drinks. Thomas and I each had 3 rum and cokes. During this time I did some puzzles on my Kindle and started watching one of the in flight movies – Darling Companions. Not long after (about 9;30pm EST) they came around with a little meal. We had a choice of chicken or pasta. Thomas and I opted for the chicken. We had chicken and rice with a salad, crackers, cheese, bread and a brownie. Not too bad and it hit the spot. After eating I relaxed and finished watching the movie. Once the movie was done I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth – if we had an eight hour flight I needed to have fresh breath. I then took some time to write a few things on this blog and listen to some music on the iPod. For the remaining of the flight I did a few things – but sleeping was not one of them. I read, did puzzles on the Kindle, wrote in my journal and watched another movie – this one was The Vow. The last part of the flight seemed to go faster than the rest. About an hour before landing the flight crew brought out croissants and orange juice and we also had coffee. After eating I packed everything away except my iPod and I just listened to music until we landed. Once off the plane we went through Passport Control and then off to baggage claim. We all gathered our bags and headed outside to meet our transport to the hotel. I will continue our trip in the next post now that we are in Rome.

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