May 29, 2018
We flew to Dallas and spent the night at a nearby hotel that had shuttle service to and from the airport.
May 30, 2018
We left the hotel at 11:00am to meet the rest of the group at the airport since our flight to Rome was at 2:00pm Once again, we were lucky that we both gotTSA Precheck, so we had a speedy entrance to our gate. The kids arrived shortly after. The excitement was contagious. I was feeling somewhat apprehensive, but was soon looking forward to all that was ahead of us. The flight was long, 10 hours, but the in-flight entertainment was quite extensive and we were all sitting near each other. Steve and I were in a row of 3, with Steve in the aisle, me in the middle, and the sick Italian, non-English speaking man next to me. He fell asleep snoring before takeoff on my shoulder and took up the whole arm rest. I pushed him off several times, but to no avail. He coughed and sneezed the whole trip. Needless to say, I brought along my Airborne, and had the maximum amount possible during the flight. I put my blanket up as a barrier between us and hoped the extra boost of vitamin C would do the trick.
*Side Note: Every time cart service came by he asked for Cocaine. ( Coke a Cola)
May 31, 2018
Our first stop after landing was to collect all 18 pieces of luggage between the 7 of us; then, it was off to the ATM to exchange currency. Next to find transportation for all of us and our luggage to the hotel, since our Air BB wasn’t available until Friday. We stayed at Star Michelangelo in the middle of Rome where you could see St. Peter’s from the hotel. We had 3 rooms, two of which were ready, the other we had to wait for. The kids took one of the rooms and immediately fell asleep, and the adults hung out in the other. Steve and Scott fell asleep and it was dueling snoring. Melissa and I were having none of that, so we wandered outside. We walked to the piazza of St. Peter’s Basilica with throngs of people. We saw our first gypsy on the way to the square; an old woman with a cane sitting on the ground, wrapping her ankle with bandages. Miraculously, she beat us to the piazza! She was dressed in black from head to toe, was bent over, and could barely walk. She was holding out a cup for money. Melissa was convinced if you looked into the gypsy’s eyes, she would mesmerize you and you would be in a trance forever. After gelato, we headed back to the hotel. Everyone was up and went out for a walk while I stayed behind to finally have a quiet nap. Later that evening, we went to see Laura Jane, Melissa’s cousin. The kids were excited to meet their cousin, Massimo, but unfortunately, he was not there. We had a great dinner and reminisced about childhood memories and shared stories and photos. We all walked to a local gelato shop then headed back to her apartment. A nice way to end the evening, more gelato. Of course with it closed with lots of Italian air kisses on both cheeks.