Sunday, October 21, 2012

Firenze, 24-25 May, 2012: Traveling for Alessandro's Memorial

I heard the music and I had to enter this simple church. It's 7.45 pm on Friday and an organ concert is in progress. I'm back in Firenze.

Alessandro has been so close to me on this trip. He is spending extra energy to prepare me for tomorrow. There is no doubt in my mind.

I came in for the music, but I found my saint, Santa Rita just inside the entrance. I've lit a candle of course. I've missed most of the organ concert. It ended at 8 and the custodian made me leave. He needs to go home for dinner. Come back at 9.15 he told me.

The reason I dislike those electric candles is, they turn off when the custodian leaves. He assured me he would turn them back on when he returns.

I was feeling tired this morning. I think it's due to stress. Yesterday I arrived at LAX as normally do. New to me was the automated check-in. I inserted my frequent flyer card into the machine and followed the prompts. A nice attendant checked my tickets and led me to the carpeted luggage check-in. I noticed I was in the wrong line and moved to the one for 'economy.' I stood there for a few minutes until another attendant came a led me away to another counter. My single bag weighed in at 22 k, 1 kilo under what I'm allowed. He tagged it with a 'priority' yellow tag. It lowers stress now that I have my portable scale. It takes away all the guess work when I have so much in my bags.

I was almost two hours early, so I settled in with a book and ate the light lunch-dinner I brought from home. Getting through security was easy this time. The full body scanner was not in use at my line. Those X-rays always make me think twice, so I was glad to avoid them.

My routine of eating early the brushing my teeth for the night always works for me. I can sleep almost through to Paris, just waking up to drink lots of water to stay hydrated.

I approached the Economy check-in gate with ticket in hand and when I looked at my ticket, I saw it did not say Economy. There's an upgraded Economy now with Air France. I had used all of my Frequent Flyer miles to get this ticket. I normally don't come to Italy during the high season. The tickets are too expensive and it's just too crowded with tourists.

I walked to the other gate check-in and confirmed I was in the correct line. As they put my ticket into the reader, a red light rejected the ticket, twice. I was scared I was going to miss this flight and Alessandro's memorial!

The attendant told me not to worry. I explained my need to be on this flight. Another attendant assured me, don't worry, we're finding you a seat. You've been upgraded, don't worry. I'm not usually so emotional in public, but at that moment, the tears started rolling down my face. About one hour before, I had read a last moment email from Alessandro's son. I am to expect two people at the Memorial who will not be happy to see me there. When I read 'don't worry', Alessandro come into my mind. Those were one of the last things he said to me.

The Air France attendant gave me a hug and told me to board and take my place in Business Class. 'Vedi, amore..' I heard in my mind .. You see, amore..'

Those seats in Business Class fold down into beds. After using the warm, moist towel to wipe my face and hands, I slept right though the steak dinner, opening my eyes only when the dessert tray of French macaroons passed me by. I slept so well, I didn't wake up to drink my water.

For breakfast I choose blueberry crepes and fresh fruit. The food trays are draped with little white table clothes. I asked for hot chocolate to drink. Everything was delicious.

The transfer in Paris was easy. Each time I travel LAX-Paris-Firenze, the walking route from the arrival terminal to 2G, the departure terminal is always different...perhaps due to on-going construction projects which are constant at CDG Airport.

I had a little time to spare and purchased Evian water for the last flight. I was feeling dehydrated, especially in my eyes.

Arriving in Firenze I decided to spend the 22€ for taxi fare. The bus line was long and I felt tired in the warm afternoon. I was at the hotel at 4.00 with all evening free to see my favorite sites.