…blessed to bare my feet on the soil of my sanctuary.
Especially, after having learned, yet again, that my flight from Rome had been cancelled. I was then – and only then informed that I would be receiving a refund (in the form of a voucher) from my travel agent; in regards to the original roundtrip ticket I had purchased for my ‘European Expedition’. At that time, I would also come to realize just how difficult it would become to buy another ticket – a ticket home. Given the next flights weren’t scheduled to leave until sometime in May!! Unless purchased through Alitalia…
Furthermore, I later learned after speaking with an Alitalia airline agent over the phone, that the airlines website was NOT working. Not only was the system down, they could not take payments over the phone! Since they had also been mandated to work from home. And next, I was told I would have to go to the airport; which was a two hour train ride away in order to purchase the ticket – exposing oneself to all kinds of unnecessary elements in the midst of a crisis. Something that only seemed to cause alarm for those affected, and no one else.
So, after having made proper arrangements for all that was to be expected. I caught a train in Orvieto, and arrived in Rome early that Saturday afternoon. And, then, I caught a taxi to the Airbnb I had reserved for the remainder of my stay. Unpacked only a few items, and then readied myself for navigating my way to the airport. Especially since, seemingly normal routes were closed off and travelers were made to navigate multiple metro & train lines – in order to leave the various angles of the city behind.
And, shortly after arriving at Fiumicino, I soon discovered that I would be made to pay far too much for what became two – one-way tickets back home.
Oh, and though I had no prior problems with being permitted to catch trains. As I had always been prudent about having had the necessary documentation ready for safe passage. When I arrived at the station connected to the airport, I was told that I could not use the return ticket I had purchased by the police there, or they would give me a 400 euro fine! Because, according to them, my situation “was not urgent”. So, after feeling extorted in order to obtain a seemingly safe exit, I was made to pay $70 for a taxi to return to the place I had rented in the center of Rome; versus using the 8 euro train ticket I had reserved previously. And this incident, like others became yet another trifle to test ones patience.
So, the day of my flight, I checked-in at 6am, passed through the security screening process effortlessly; which became surreal shortly there after, and was made to fly for the next 10 hours to JFK – of all places. Where my temperature was recorded (shortly after my arrival), and moments later, I was made to answer a few questions by the Border Patrol agent; which resulted in no concerns in the slightest.
Thusly this perfect sequence of events, allowed me to use the next four hours as crucially & calmly as possible. Because for that entire span of time, I had to exalt every fiber of my being to remain dignified & manurable. As I had to inform the Delta agents’ I was scheduled for a four hour – rather than 20 hour layover; which was what I had purchased on-site in Rome, inside the airport.
And, voilà, some 37 minutes before the next and last flight of the day was scheduled to leave heading west, I was printed tickets, and made my way through yet another security portal. Then, onto Salt Lake City, and then Sea-tac!!
Fortunately, upon my arrival, my brother not only warmly welcomed me. He had also made reservations for me to stay in a comfortable suit at a hotel. (Where a bit of the jet lag I have been fighting began to rear its head.) Then he drove the distance, from his port of duty – some seven hours, to pick me up in Seattle, and then safely take me home.
…that expressed, I am so very thankful to be back under my own roof. For the care & comfort of my family. To be able to reflect on all of the things I experienced throughout my travels. To tend to the garden & greenery all around. And, being able to see the seasons change and the days grow longer is everything one could ever wish for during times such as these –