with a 9:15 am flight back to LAX from rome, we were all out of bed and finishing the last of our packing bright and early. and when we headed downstairs to check out and wait for the cab to pick us up, we found these waiting for us:
inside we found a little assortment of snacks perfect for a breakfast on the go. i thought it was very nice indeed.
it never fails to amuse me to hop into a mercedes that's used as a taxi.
now, had we known how fast this guy would zoom down the freeway towards the airport, we probably would've slept in a little. the ride that took nearly an hour when we first arrived was cut damn near in half with this cab driver. even the hub looked a little alarmed as he glanced at the speedometer every so often. i'm pretty sure we were all pretty relieved when he finally dropped us off here.
the bean was still groggy from being pulled out of bed at an unusually early hour, but she was as chipper as always.
once we'd gotten our bags checked in, we made a quick pitstop here to exchange all of our leftover pounds and euros.
we had enough time to stock up on snacks for the long ride home. we were looking at a 13-hour nonstop flight, landing at home at 1:20 in the afternoon. so weird - basically, we'd be chasing the sun the entire time we were up in the air.
the teen and i both giggled like 10-year-old boys at this.
time to board! goodbye, europe.
the first and business class seating looked way comfy, with tons of legroom and some nice little amenity packages on each seat.
we got some fun goodies too - a fluffy pillow, a soft blanket, and a headset.
there was a pretty good selection of movies to choose from. i made a mental list of the ones i wanted to watch to kill a chunk of time.
the teen was not in the mood. can you tell?
look at these fun snacks we picked up in the airport! i've had the nutella & go packs before, but these included what looked like a little juice box. the teen stuck a straw in hers and found out that it was lemon-flavored iced tea.
i'd also picked these up, not really knowing what they were. but we all know how much of a sucker i am for a novelty, especially if it's edible. anyway, the box contained little chocolate flavored espresso shots. look at how cute they are, with the teeny-tiny little straw!
i got distracted after i took these and stuck the box back in my carry-on. when i got home it went into the fridge and i'm ashamed to admit that i still have yet to try the damn thing.
the distraction? well, the tantalizing aroma of a hot lunch coming my way.
i love airplane food. is that weird? but this airplane food was super delicious. pasta with pesto and a tomato sauce, with a little antipasti on the side. lemme tell you, i sure miss all the tasty prosciutto and cheese i gorged on every day in rome. man.
the bean woke up while lunch was being served, and when she was done eating she busted out a coloring book and some markers. that lasted for a good long while until she got bored, and then her sister decided to let her write on her arms. they thought it was just hilarious.
one thing i should mention - you know that lineup of movies i thought i was going to get to blaze through during the flight? yeah, not so much. just after takeoff the monitors stopped working, and a few minutes later an attendant announced that they were all out of order and she had no idea what was wrong. wah waaaaaaahhhh. talk about disappointment. oh, and? no wifi. i pretty much wanted to kill myself. the bean wasn't too happy either.
we were served another snack when we were about eight hours in. these were triple-decker chicken salad sandwiches that were really tasty...on opposite day.
the bean refused to even smell those damn sandwiches, but she was hungry. and the only snacks i had left were all things like chocolate and gum and espresso packs. i looked at the sandwiches again and noticed that the middle piece of bread had been protected from that icky chicken salad by a slice of cheese. so i did what any of you would: i pulled out those third slices of bread, took out the little single-serve packets of nutella i'd snagged in paris and shoved in my carry-on, and made a yummy little snack for my kid.
times like this, i'm freaking amazed at my own level of genius. for real.
i don't even know how we managed to get through the rest of that flight. it's just a big blur in my memory, but i remember the girls watching "toy story 3" for the bazillionth time on the iPad and the hub playing poker on his phone. he was seated across the aisle from us, but had gotten lucky with an empty seat next to him. the bean refused to nap any further and instead colored and read books and kept herself occupied while the rest of us tried to get as much sleep as we could.
with a couple of hours left before landing, we were served one more tray o'food. this was my favorite of everything we'd been given - sliced meat and pickled veggies, a roll, cheese and crackers, and a yummy cake with chocolate frosting. yay for more grub!
seemed like forever, and then finally:
landing was such a relief. i always worry so much when we fly - the teen can attest to this, with the nail marks she gets sometimes from me clutching her arm at takeoff. i realize that flights take off and land safely all day, errrrry day, but you just never know. i mean, look at what just happened in san francisco - that's my worst nightmare. anyway, i was really happy when we finally touched down and made our way out of that plane. and look, antonio was there to welcome us home. sorta.
after waiting for our luggage to arrive and then to connect with the driver who was picking us up, we were finally on our way home. it was so weird to be back - we'd spent so many months planning and dreaming about this trip, and in what seemed like no time at all, it was over. coming home from a long vacation is always bittersweet like that, isn't it? like, i was happy to get home to my own bed and not live out of a suitcase anymore. i missed my dog. i wanted to watch normal tv again, dammit. and i was ready to get back to our everyday lives again.
i wonder where we'll go next, and when will we get there? heh.