Finally, I’m home. It was an event. The flight from Berlin to Munich was uneventful. From Munich to Ancona was another story. I don’t know how I missed it, but there was apparently an announcement on the Munich-Ancona flight that Ancona was fogged in and we were circling, waiting for the okay to land. The okay never came and we were re-routed to Bologna. When we got off the plane, I heard a guy from Singapore talking about Bologna and trying to figure out how to get to Ancona. I didn’t understand until he told me what happened.
Fortunately, the airline (a partner of Lufthansa) had chartered two buses to shuttle us to Ancona. The ride took SIX HOURS. I swear that everyone in Italy was taking the same route we were. I understood traffic leaving Bologna, a city of one million plus, would be bad. But we inched along for miles, for hours. It was 11:00 p.m before we arrived at Falconara Airport in Ancona. Too late for a bus or train to Ancona or Alba Adriatica.
So, for $40+ I got a taxi to Ancona where I grabbed a hotel for the night (another $67). At least I had a good night’s sleep. Upon waking I had a quick continental breakfast and caught a train for San Benedetto. In San Benedetto I had to wait for about an hour before the bus left for Alba Adriatica. Thank God I live only two blocks from the station.
After I unpacked and separated the dirty clothes for the laundry, I took a cat nap. Upon awakening, I trekked throughout the town to hunt down gifts for the bambini for tomorrow. My cousin, Sergio, told me that my Aunt Rosalba had spoken with everyone after last Christmas and suggested that we forego the gift-giving. The family is getting bigger and it’s getting more and more expensive to buy for everyone. We are now at nineteen adults and six children. She suggested giving money to those in need. Brava, Aunt Rosalba.
This meant I only had to buy for six kids. Still, it was daunting. It’s Christmas Eve and when you couple that with the Italian penchant for closing up shop in the afternoon for a few hours, I was stressed. Fortunately, I was able to get everything I needed for tomorrow. Aunt Rosalba is right, the gifts are for the kids. You can’t put a price on the look of wonder and happiness on their faces as they open gifts on Christmas. The adults? We have enough of everything.
This year, Christmas in Italia is a bit different. Doesn’t seem to be the three day celebration that it was in the past. We are meeting at the home of Aunt Rosalba’s brother for dinner. The next day? Not sure. In the past, the festivities would start on Christmas Eve and continue for two more days. It was wonderful, especially the food. But I understand the work involved and that everyone has busy schedules.
As for New Year’s, I’m not sure what I’m doing. I’ve met a woman at the health club who knows a bunch of expatriates so I’m going to see if there’s some function going on that I might be able to crash. If not, I really don’t care. Of course, I could always take a quick trip to Athens or Rome for a couple of days. How cool would that be??
Christmas is here. Time to celebrate the birth of Christ and celebrate me home.