Sunday was a day for last minute organising and checking the bag packing. Things at this stage went amazingly smooth which made me a little nervous because that’s not usually my case 🙂 I knew the pets were in safe hands and we gave a great house sitter . We were all ready 40 minutes before our airport pick up which again isn’t our usual style. With excitement I saw the minibus driving down the hill to our house. We moved into the forbidden room with bags in tow , saw the minibus turn in our cul-de-sac , collected our bags, went out onto the porch…but the bus was gone! Disappeared! Vanished! Then we saw the driver was leaving neighbours house so I made Brian run up the oath to call out to him ( it was drizzling so I didn’t want to get wet doing it haha). Seems he had misread our address. All good we piled into the minibus and had an amazingly quick trip to the airport. I say amazingly quick because I had been a bit concerned our pick up time might be a bit late for the long trip to the airport. Living in a seaside town that’s a day trip distance from Sydney can mean Sunday nights on the freeway south to a Sydney can be full of traffic and extremely slow in parts. I guess the rain was in our favour.
We arrived at check in just before the desk opened but joined the short line anyway to wait . My next concern was my new passport. Seems these days the old hyphen us no longer allowed. Consequently my plane tickets were in a different and I had this ‘fear’ I’d be waving the family off and going home to enjoy the company of the animals 🙂 not the case, all our check in was easy. The kidults seemed to think neither the Etihad attendant nor the customs officer cared to have to hear my full itinerary and the fact my last OS trip was 26 years ago. But I could tell they enjoyed my friendly repertoire. I was chosen for the full body scan and I was so excited – small things amuse me 🙂
Sardines in a can
We ate, walked around and finally it was our turn to board the sardine can plane. We watched the take off on our video screens which were of a decent size. Then into the pitch black of night we head on our chase of the sun. Each hour brought us close to our first stop of Abu Dhabi. Ok that worked was good for the first few hours then it was ….arghhh why do the hours go so slow.
The food was good and plentiful ( well plentiful for of us awake unlike Brian who missed out on the best the two best things) . I’ll write about the food in another post.
Seatbelt lights went off , I started watching a show , the food trolleys started to rattle and the aroma was good….then the show froze, a note on the screen said ‘ cabin announcement’ and through my headphones I heard “Attention passengers . If there is a doctor on board please make yourself known to the attendants”. It’s the stuff I have only ever heard of in movies! I as going to put my hand up as the next best thing to a dr but one with formal papers made himself known. What appalled me was the number of people that left their seats just to see what had happened! It was as if it were a show. Saw oxygen carried out past our row then the food service started back to our section. We ate through someone’s emergency. Later while Ally and I were up at the back of the plane on one of our too numerous to count walks as in ‘Days of our Lives’ style the events notes were on the counter. Turned out the poor passenger had suffered a panic attack and had fainted when they had got up and then cut their forehead as they fell. The funniest bit was they listed the attending medical officer as Passenger XXXX( have removed the name for privacy) and the home address was just a few streets from ours!!!
It was interesting chatting to the other passengers and attendants listening to their stories ( some big ones haha) their travels, their lives as we (Ally and I) spent hours moving around the plane rather than sitting in our seats.
Finally we saw sunrise out of the plane window. We had finally caught that sun!!!! Our plane landed smoothly and with ease we made our way to terminal 1 for our flight to Rome on Alitalia. This flight we had separated seats. Brian and I had a window and aisle and the kidults were on a middle 4 set of seats. I gave them the window/ aisle seat instead ( always the mum) and we took off in the middle seats. On my first walk around the plane I saw the two seats in front of the exit door were empty- window and long leg room!! I asked a set of attendants eating their lunch if I could sit there . The female said no then rattled something fast in Italian ( and it wasn’t about a brown table cause I know those words lol) but then the male Saudi ” Si” …and so it was we sat in the best seats ( outside the first class of course!) fir the rest of the flight.
Customs consisted of showing our passport, collecting our bags and then leaving the airport ….simple for some . I had been perpetually checking everyone had their’s . We joined the line not far from the beginning and got our passports out. Well Tim , Ally and I did. Brian checked his backpack back pocket, front pocket, middle picket, everything out on the floor pocket, jean pockets, shirt pickets…bet you sense my stress levels not to mention Brian’s!! No passport!! With everything on the floor we pushed it from the line area and again began looking. I had visions of an overnight prison stay for Brian but then, tucked under his sleep machine, there it was!! The most important ‘ticket’ of this trip! Deep breaths for all, a rejoin of the now long line, a short wait for baggage and we were outside the terminal learning the fast way of Italian driving ( complete with horn ho kings which we found dangerous but exciting at the same time. Our hotel driver told us stories of a Rome and the sights/ sites to see. He described the wall of Rome as being the fence as now being the entry to a walking museum.
We settled into our hotel then exhausted we headed to the Trevi fountain for a look, some dinner , some gelato and the kidults and I were asleep by 8 and Brian about half an hour later after having had ‘Facebook time’.