home, sweet home

These days, flying anywhere is a BFD. It’s expensive as crap, airports are a nightmare, and more often than not, your flight will be delayed [if not canceled altogether]. Our flights to and from Rome did not disappoint in any one of those aspects. Indeed, eurofly [I refuse to link to them and recommend that you choose a different airline for your trip] kindly enhanced the experience with seemingly inept pilots and incredibly rude flight attendants. That’s right, it was full-service hellacious – only slightly better on the trip there than on the trip back here. I believe the rude flight attendants were the shining star of awfulness. I hesitate to assign racist labels to people for fear of being called “too sensitive”, but it stood out very glaringly to me (and my of-color travelmates) when I was skipped/overlooked for more than one beverage service trip. And no, I wasn’t asleep, my cup was empty, and I was actually even seeking eye contact with the folks. At one point I even lifted my empty cup.

I did finally get some water. But you know the deal with first impressions.

But as awful as eurofly is – that’s how awesome Rome was.

Standing in the middle of Circus Maximus – though original structures from 2600 yrs ago are no longer there – was awesome. In the actual awe-some meaning of the word.

And what can you really say about the Colosseum?

The Colosseum

Seeing the monuments and places I learned about in elementary school and Latin classes was everything I thought it would be. Our hotel was in a good location, and was fairly nice – certainly accommodating. I don’t think I’ve ever traveled with people who spoke with the front desk so often. For such varied reasons. [Everything from directions and night life suggestions to the shutting off of an accidentally triggered bathroom alarm (don’t ask), borrowing/receiving a plastic knife, and extending our checkout time by an hour.] We were actually really close to the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain, not to mention Pucci, Gucci, Cartier, La Perla, and Louis Vuitton. The location was really nice, considering how non-rich we are.

All-in-all, I had a great time. I saw my first opera ~ La Traviata. I actually climbed the 320 extra steps to the top of the cupola at St. Peter’s. (claustrophobic steps, according to the Rough Guide – and they are SO right) Walked in/around/through the Forum, baths, various monuments & museums…and completely and utterly exhausted myself by the time it was time to come home.

Being away so long was excellent, and though I’m tired [which could just be from lack of sleep here], I’m glad for it all. What a great time!

Oh, and none of us were robbed. Or pickpocketed. In fact, at one point, I had a euro bill in my back pocket, and it started popping out, an a lady spoke to me in frustrated and loud Italian to get me to get the money. We were never swarmed by sneaky children and no one threw a baby at us. Good times.

highs & lows

My mind has been racing for days.

Work has been stressful – not just from dealing with my boss and never knowing how the moods were gonna be, but cuz I’ve been working on this project for months and I can’t seem to get a reliable method developed to test this new supplier’s sample.  (There’s got to be something in the sample matrix that is interfering with the Fe analysis by AA, because standards and current supplier samples all run fine.  But that’s all chemistry talk, and I really don’t want to talk about it on my downtime…)  So, there’s been all of that, and the fact that I forgot about one thing that I needed to get trained on before my review in June [can you believe it’s almost June?].  Thankfully, I got the training this week, and when I get back, I should be able to do a little bit more with that, if need be.

Ahhh…did you note that I said “when I get back”?  That’s right, my long overdue vacation begins this weekend.  I’m so excited to be going to NYC again, and from there to Italy for a week.  I’m finally going to see Wicked.  I know it’s been playing for years, now, but hey – I don’t have the NYC hookup I once did.  I’ve been pretty lax in my Rome research though, and I still have some reading to do in my guidebook.  Gotta say though, the Rough Guides are the best.  (I got some other kind of guide when we went to London and it was horrible.  Rough Guides are written to be read and used.  The maps are more useful, and the books are generally more tailored to what I want to know about the places that I’m going.  The one I got for Paris was awesome!)

Anyway, back to Rome.  I’m taking some pennies to throw into the Trevi fountain – cuz I wanna go back, but there’s no way I’m throwing a freakin’ euro in there.  I don’t even wanna think about the exchange rate.

Not that I’m some kind of miser or anything – considering how I’ve used this trip as an excuse to go shopping for the last three weeks.  But hey, money’s for the spending, right?

So, I can’t wait.

I’ve been thinking about a lot of other stuff that I may write about later, but right now I’m on full vacation mode.