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Posts Tagged ‘adventure’

I put together a little video about my latest skiing adventure. I hope you get as much chuckle from watching it as I did making it!

Skiing

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Where does one start to tell of an adventure? My latest adventure actually started about five weeks ago when Wendy started packing. For me, the “feeling” of being on an adventure started the night of October 17th before our flight to Italy. I was unable to drift off to sleep until the wee hours of the morning. Sleeplessness happens to me before all trips, and this one proved to be no exception.

The last time I looked at the bedroom clock that night it was 1:37 am. Then it seemed like I immediately woke up to Wendy getting up for her shower which was at 5:00 am. The morning was nice and relaxed and we got to enjoy a cup of coffee and finish up last minute details before it was time to head to the airport. Our daughter Kara drove my van which blessed us with curbside service. Things went very smoothly through the check-in process and the staff was very helpful with our luggage.

For those of you that may be in a wheelchair like I am, flying does create a challenge. Most things are “accessible” right up to entering the plane. Just remember that “accessible” is not the same as “convenient.” There will be elevators, gaps to pop over and portable ramps that I have to wait for. Then the last obstacle, the skywalk from the terminal to the plane door, where I have to transfer into what is known as an aisle chair. If you use your imagination, an aisle chair would be my idea of medieval torture for the disabled. It is very narrow, hard and comes complete with straps to tie me to the chair. Once in the chair I am tipped backwards while an attendant pulls me down the plane aisle to my seat. My own wheelchair is tagged and put down under with the luggage. If there is a plus side to this, I get to be the first one on the plane. The down side is that I am also the last one to get off the plane.

And of course what is any trip without at least one speed bump? Because our domestic and international flights were booked at separate times (my fault), we were told that we would have to claim our luggage at Philadelphia and check in again for our international leg of our journey to Italy. When we arrived in Philadelphia, we were told by personnel at terminal F, that our bags were checked straight through to Italy and that we could just take the shuttle bus to terminal A. After attempting to inquire further into the change of plans with little success, we just went with the flow, rolled 12.2 miles to the shuttle bus, was taken to terminal A at gate one, then rolled 14.8 miles to our gate A23. Checking in with customer service, we were told that we did indeed have to claim our bags personally back at terminal F. At this point I became very thankful that I had on my “Indiana Jones” hat for this delightful trek we were on. Wendy and I repeated the process in reverse back to baggage claim in terminal F. Of course that also meant we had to exit security. At baggage claim we discovered that our bags were all tagged and on their way to terminal A. Wendy and I just thanked everyone for their help and proceeded to go through security again to get back into terminal F. Frisked twice in one day! Now how wonderful is that?! We said hello to our many new airport staff friends along the way and just enjoyed the scenery this time.

Remember when I said to leave plenty of time between flights? Now you know why.

The flight from Philadelphia to Rome was a little on the squishy side, but outside of some “interesting” neighbors, uneventful. I managed to catch some cat-naps which were not very comfortable, but did serve the purpose. We arrived in Rome around 9:00 a.m. their time and hit the ground running (or rolling in my case). The rest of our group started the tour at some Roman Catacombs. Since this particular tour was not possible for me, Wendy and I were taken in our private mini-bus (very nice) to downtown Roma! We had almost two hours on our own and were just “let loose” to explore as we wanted. We started out with the Basilica, St. Peter’s Cathedral, which was incredible to say the least. Once again, most of it was accessible though not the most convenient. But, being in a wheelchair, we were able to bypass the very long lines and the security detail took us to locked elevators that brought us up to the main floor. It is the largest Basilica in the world and is built from many types of beautiful marble, some of which can no longer be found. Massive columns, artworks, carvings, etc., it was all beautiful. The circular St. Peter’s Square with the large Obelisk in the center was very impressive and certainly made for one very grand entrance to the Basilica.

From there we wandered the streets and shops, and I of course talked with anyone that would be willing to talk back. I even had opportunities to use my extremely poor Italian phrases that I know. And I do mean poor. We made friends with a couple of dogs, a Chihuahua and a Dachshund, at a shop where Wendy bought a couple of gifts for our daughters. We enjoyed getting a bite to eat at a Bistro which even had live violin music while we ate. Then walking by the Tevere (Tiber) River, palace and gardens, we met back with our private guide who would take us to our next destination, Vatican City.

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