Thursday, August 8, 2013

Just a few hours in Venice....

On the morning of Day 7 in Europe, we took a train from Rome to Venice. We knew that our time in Venice would be short, very short, since we wanted to get back home to the USA b Friday. Going Space-A, I didn't want to risk my chances of not having a flight available, since the 4th of July was coming up.

So, we arrived in Venice early in the day, and made plans to leave. Our options were train, heading back to Ramstein, Germany, or heading out into the Italian countryside and trying to get a flight out from Vicenza Air Force Base to Ramstein.

If you only have a few hours in Venice, take the Vaporetto! There is a fast line that zips down the Grand Canal so you kind of see everything without actually stopping. Of course I wish I had more time, since #2 on my list of things to do in Venice someday is have a Bellini at Harry's Bar. Maybe next time....

Other than the vaporetto, I did manage to grab some food, my last meal in Italy, and bought a little charm of murano glass for my charm bracelet. I admired the view from a view bridges, then headed back to the train station.

I then took a train, and a bus, out into the middle of nowhere, and used my very limited Italian to leanr I was about 5k from the American air base. Thankfully a kindly bus driver took pity on my poor ticketless self and dropped me off. Granted, he dropped me off at the Italian gate, and I had to walk around to the American gate, but once inside, a kindly contractor who spoke English picked me up and drove me to the terminal. Huzzah! I managed to squeeze onto a mail plane heading back to Germany that night, and was quite excited. Literally, squeezed on. It was a 5-seat plane, and our luggage limit was 30 pounds total per person.

I got into Ramstein, Germany, late that night, and decided to just stick it out in the terminal until they kicked me out at midnight.

The next morning, and the next after that, my friend and I waited in the air terminal for an open seat home. A few things I decided during this time: I will never travel long distances with children unless absolutely necessary. Sleep isn't really all that necessary. Air Force hotels are WAY nicer than Army hotels. Think 4 star plus for $50 a night! Also, the little German pastry shop in the PX is AMAZING!!

Late on the fourth of July, we finally got on a flight heading back to Dover, DE. This was a cargo plane, and the crew took pity on all of us waiting for flights and reduced their load as much as possible to fit a full 60+ passengers.  If you aren't familiar with cargo planes, they are very loud, very minimal, rather cold, and, in this case, full of children. I took a double dose of nyquil before boarding, passed out shortly after take off, and woke up just as we landed in Dover at about 1am. Best flight ever.

So, how to get from Dover, DE, to Baltimore at 1 am on the day after the fourth of July? Call the only open transportation company, which offers....a stretch limousine. Splitting it with 3 other people made the 90 minute drive very reasonable. Not to mention AWESOME!

We then drove from Baltimore to Augusta, switching out and making record time. Trip over! Back to my empty home. 

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