United Airline…the bastard child

I know being stuck in Italy does not seem to be an overwhelming problem.  But there is something about getting to the airport when the vacation is over and the desperation to get home.  That and flying is just a total pain in the ass.  This trip to Italy on United seemed to be the most disorganized service I have ever experienced…that and the stewardesses were bitches for the most part…and for all being the same airlines…they don’t seem to have the same rules.  The one that pissed me off the most: in my attempt to be a good little guest on their flippin’ airline, we were informed we would have to fill out the welcome to America form declaring what we had purchased abroad.  I pulled out my pen and it was leaking all over.  In the minute it took to realize I had an ink problem, I had it on both hands, arms and face.  I asked the stewardess for some trash…she said she couldn’t do it right now that I could get up and put it in the restroom trash…all while she was standing beside me with the refreshment cart 3 steps for her to the restroom and me having to unlatch my required seat belt, lift myself out of the seat, open the bathroom door (which is exactly what I had to do).  Next time, I will lay it on the little table and stain it up then perhaps stow it in the seat pocket ahead of me or drop it on the floor and wipe my hands on the seat.  Seriously.  I couldn’t get my carryon completely…COMPLETELY under the seat in front of me…I was on my 5th flight with United…the friendly stewardess bitch who had been by 3 times stopped and said…YOU CAN”T USE THAT FOR A FOOT REST that I would need to check it if it wouldn’t fit…I pulled it out and handed it to her and the bitch said…WELL…IT IS A LITTLE LATE NOW…I gave her that Okay…I’m tired and pissed, I’m going to kill you.  She took it from me and jammed it in the overhead…Then there is the row 26 dilemma – We were in a 7 row plane.  He and I were on either side of the center 3 seats.  There were his servers on his side and my servers on my side.  For some unknown reason..my side completely missed the 26th row…when his got to our row..I asked her for a sandwich…she said…YOU ARE ON THE OTHER SIDE THEY WILL GET TO YOU EVENTUALLY…then she handed me a sandwich.  The other folks in row 26th had to ask for their sandwiches from the right stewardess for God’s sake.  They did not get a verbal response…she just walked back to the back, got their sandwiches and handed them out.  Good God – what service.

4 of our 5 United flights were delayed by 45 minutes to an hour.  The one delay that irritated me most occurred when we arrived 3 hours early in Italy.  The plane was there when we arrived, after an extended time, they herded us on with cattle prods with screams of hurry up, we need to make up time.  I totally understood Newark, NJ snafu…the dilemma of the United flight gate change – the plane we were going to have to take, just flew in from Mexico to another gate…customs was going to have to go thru it before we could board…okay…I get it…when we got on – it was learned that it needed to be cleaned and they had to work on the radar…I already had the bad feeling about the drug lords who had flown in from “Mexico”..*said with distaste.

OMG…AA and Delta were cussed by me in the past..nothing compares to the asses at United Airlines.

Okay…I got this off my chest…

Home away from Home…Solerno, IT


Traveling across the pond to another country brings with it some mild anxiety of the unknown…until of course, you find your soft place to land.

Look at our room….

The ceiling…

The TV

The entry

The bathroom and shower

Daily fresh fish

Our corner table…it didn’t have our name on it…but…

If you ever find yourself in Solerno, Italy, this is the place to stay!

Amalfi City/Amalfi Coast

There is a difference.  Actually the Amalfi Coast was named after Amalfi but that is as far as my valuable information goes…I remember reading about it in my Rick Steeves tour book – which is an excellent tour book, I might add.  It is recommended that a tourist view the Amalfi Coast by Ferry and by one of the flipped out, crazy tour buses on land – actually almost in air, but on land.  It’s true.  Once I saw the coast from the ferry while on the way to Capri, I didn’t know why I would want to do it by land – what more could I see?  Oh my goodness….

This is actually Solerno…I had seen this bridge from afar..but this image was so worth it.

Yes…very narrow road..especially when you consider we were on a huge bus.  Several times along the way, one vehicle would have to stop to let the other one pass…all the while, immediately speeding up to roll-down-the-side-of-the-mountain-and-burst-into-flames speed.


All the while we are flying around the mountain roads, there are bicycles, scooters, runners and people walking…this is the place to go if you have a death wish.  I’m absolutely not sure how people survive – but apparently they do.

We stopped in Amalfi…a “real” tourist trap…doesn’t take long to tire of the souvenirs and the people…tour buses in and out all day.  Some would say much like Capri – but much, much smaller, so it is not really possible to get away from it.

A catherdal – we walked up all of those steps to find out it cost money to go thru it…not worth it to us.

A few other spots I thought deserved a memory picture.

If I had it to do over, I would still take the bus tour along the coast and wouldn’t get out of the bus in Amalfi…there was another stop up in Sorrento which we heard was larger and quite beautiful.  Here we all are on the bus back.

More Pompeii pics

A ceiling

A mill

Look at the fresco in the background – unbelievable

One of the walls of the city

A perfect example of Pompeii streets.  We wondered several times if the grooves are from chariot wheels?

Ceiling of an archway!

I don’t know if you can see the bones in the fingers if you click and enlarge this picture.

The Isle of Capri

KAW pri….it’s a tourist destination but it is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.  We ferried over to the Island from Salerno.  The ferry floats along the Amalfi Coast which provides amazing panoramic views of small villages tucked back into the hills.  It is breath-taking-ly beautiful.  Christa and Lee  made acquaintenance with Cindy and Bingo from the Philippines – they were staying in Amalfi and were doing a long European holiday so we got a lot of travel pointers from tourists who had already been there.

Once we arrived on the island, the world was our oyster.  Christa, Lee and Lys decided to take a 4 hour tour in an open air taxi.  We opted to do it on a scooter.  It was so fun.

Yes.  cactus.  Not unusual there.

The water was clear!

Looking down on the road we had just traveled!

Capri from the ferry


I would go back in a heartbeat!!!

Sharing my view of Pompeii

It’s just hard to know where to start.  Pompeii was like nothing I had imagined. 

apparently while excavating, they found weak spots – these were spots where there had been bodies they had decayed and archeologists filled the dead holes with plaster…fascinating and shocking at the same time.

After all of these thousands of years – many of the painted walls still showed colors and some with quite a bit of detail.  This is after being under 30 feet of ash for 1700 years and then slowly excavated for another few thousand.

Kitchen/fast food restaurant – holes for the pots.

entry mat to a house  – beware of dog…can you believe the condition of these mosaic floors.

One of the things I found fascinating is that an earth quake hit Pompeii shortly before Mt Vesuvias blew – so there were carvings and marble coverings which were not completed between the rebuilding after the earthquake and the volcanic damage.

Another well preserved mosaic floor.

perhaps just not finished?

Window in one of the houses.

The detail of the carvings and the colors – breathtaking

the area where gladiators practiced and their quarters

an arena

lead water pipes!!!

These last two pictures – the theater…imagine them sitting around in Togas and sandels watching a play….

OH…and this is what I followed around all day.  This won’t embarass him at all 🙂

Somewhere in my mass of pictures, are pics I took of the cobblestone streets with ruts in them – possibly from chariots?  Frequently, I would try to close my eyes and imagine what it was like to be walking the streets in 79 AD.  Many places you could look up and see Mount Vesuvias just 5 miles away. 

On our way to Rome


It didn’t start out well. He and I had decided to drive to Chicago instead of flying out of Des Moines. Mainly to save money on flights and on my psych meds…as an afterthought, we found airline tickets for less than it would cost us to drive, park and stay overnight. Trust me, it was not the right decision.

We are such obedient flyers..we had never parked in the long term parking at Des Moines airport. We left home extra early in case we had to wait for the shuttle. Ahem 2:30 am. Well…you don’t have to wait..as soon as the ticket gates a opens for a car to drive thru, the shuttle is dispatched to pick you up. THE best thing about DMIA. Arriving ahead of the desk staff at the The United counter and the Tsa nazis, we waited. We approached the kiosk to check in and were greeted by the airline employee who had just hurt her hand pulling out the official airport cattle gate…He said…great she’s going to be already pissed off. After telling me non verbally what an idiot I am for having two different confirmation numbers, she sent us to the desk to have them coordinated..ya …right…the only thing coordinates was their official outfits. We stood in line for 1 hour 10 minutes while they attempted to consolidate Our tickets and Print us luggage tags. She was on the phone for 1 hour of that time with “customer service” AND THEY NEVER FIGURED. IT OUT. Around 5:15, I suggested we just pick up our bags in Chicago and go thru the check In there…WHAT A GOOD IDEA. We scurried up to security…made it thru with flying colors and arrived at the gate as the plane was loading.

KCCI’s Kevin Cooney, Steve Karlin and a photographer sat behind me on the plane.
A plane which was not packed to the gills. I got about 20 minutes of sleep even with Steve Karlin chatting behind me about network anchors,a bike trails, bikes and baseball.

Arriving at O’Hare we waited maybe 10 minutes for our luggage … Upstairs to check in…awesome TSA agents and overpriced brunch at an airport restaurant. He is now dozing beside me…I have to be villigent so his head doesn’t fly off his neck as he nods off….

The adventure begins!

Our last night in Salerno. Very sad….saying goodbye to good friends

What an incredible place! Albergo del Centro Storico is a block over from the embaradero along the Mediteranean Sea. A few blocks from the molo manfreddi to board the boat to Pompeii, Capri and the Amalfi Coast, a few steps from the Mercato which is several narrow, winding streets of shops, restaurants, caffe and gelato shops.

Pompeii….my pics will not accurately take you there….sometime In the 70s AD, Mount Vesuvius blew 12 miles into the air covering the city with 30 feet of ash. Some people made it out but those who stayed to weather the storm…so to speak….ended up rotting away with the void in the space being filled with plaster by archeologists. These plaster bodies in cases made quite an impression. Pompeii was huge…the theater was remarkable.

More later…

I wish I were able to download the pics of he and I on the scooter today on the isle of Capri.

It went reasonably well…just one silent scream going around one corner but my jowels got a good work out from the wind in my face. Capri was exquisite….Dave, Chris and Lys spent the afternoon with Alessandro in an open air taxi touring the island…he and I did the mature thing for late 50 and 60 year old adults and sped around curvy mountain roads on a rented scooter…we didn’t have trouble going fast. It was the sudden stops that entertained us. We had a hard time believing we were actually on Capri…the jet ferry trip around the Almafi coast was breathtaking. One of the boat stewards is now at the bottom of the Meditterrean as we speak because he remarked aw bebe when I boarded. Not because I am a babe but because I’m carrying a bebe….

…and the best part of my day involved the viewing of the bare penis on a man who wasn’t my husband or brother in law…he had just crawled out of the ocean put on his supposed long shirt leaned over to remove his speedo…stood up to dry himself off while Winnie decided to make an appearance. You know damned good and well that it is not possible not to stare in disbelief.

We are now eating fresh fish in the restaurant at our hotel…I’ve just learned that I’m really not a fresh seafood person…give me frozen perch from the freezer at hy bee and I’m delighted. We have sampled nearly every fresh fish fresh from the Mediterranean known to man.

Tomorrow Pompeii.