When we left yesterday, British Airways flight 92 was in the air heading for London, England. The flight arrived in the airspace around London in good time but as is quite frequently the case, they couldn't land at Heathrow for somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes, making the plane late arriving. When we did land we taxied up to a holding area and the Captain came on and said that the gate wasn't ready yet and we were stopping here and shutting off the engines. He continued saying that a tug (which is what the vehicles that move planes around on the ground are called) would come and pull us up to the gate shortly. 20 minutes later he came on and apologized saying he thought they must have forgotten about us and he would find out what was going on. Only a couple of minutes later he was back saying the tug was just hooking up and we were then shortly on our way to the gate. All and all, about 45 minutes late. It's a good thing the flight to Rome didn't leave until 9:10am. We're now talking British Summer Time by the way. After a lengthy walk to the transfer area Iwas bussed to Terminal 1 to get the flight to Rome.
Sometime between 7:30 and 8:00 I arrived at Terminal 1 and looked at the information monitors for BA Flight 548 to Rome. The gate number wasn't there so I had to wait. When it came up it was something like gate 4 which was a long walk from the main lounge area. After a minor problem with the paper ticket, which I didn't realize they hadn't taken in Toronto, all was well and the plane departed a wee bit late but the takeoff line that day and time at Heathrow wasn't too long and things went quickly. There was lots to see with this flight being in daylight all the way. Took off to the west, turned south over southern England, then over the English Channel, then France, right over Paris (couldn't see it for clouds), further south over Switzerland, over the Alps, (mostly cloudy but a number of mountain tops poking through), over Milan and then down the west side of the Italian boot to Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci International Airport about 30K or 19 Miles to the west of Rome on the Mare Tirreno (a part of the Mediterranean Sea). Arrival was scheduled for 12:35 pm (now we're on CET, that's Central European Time) and was actually about 10 minutes early. Never having been to Rome's airport before, I got off the plane and went into this area with a bunch of glass doors with nobody around and couldn't figure out what it was about. Then the little train pulled up and I realized what was going on. Passport control was extremely painless and then I went to collect my baggage which I haven't seen since Toronto. You always wonder if the bag will come out, especially with the shortened transfer time in London due to the delays there. The bag did come out, fairly quickly actually, but there was no rush as the hotel transfer wasn't until 3:30. I had just barely missed the 12:30 transfer. I knew going in that there was going to be a lengthy wait there so it wasn't a problem.
I sat and waited at the appropriate location with the brightly coloured Insight baggage tag showing and the representative found me. She told me there were more coming. There ended up being about 10 people for 3 different Insight Tours and 2 different hotels on the transfer. It took a bit less than the predicted hour to get to the Hotel Mediterranean on Via Cavour 15 in Rome. I was met by Tour Director Alison and informed that the first meeting of the group was at 5:30pm. Wow, I had a whole hour to rest after being awake for the last 27 hours!!!!
Somehow, the first meeting of the group seems to be the actual start of the tour, not when you leave home. So with this in mind, we will continue on the next page labelled Day 2, Part 2. with the meeting and first optional tour of the trip.
On to Day 2, Part 2.
Created: December 31st, 2003.
Final Edit: February 17, 2004 1:37 PM