We'll end up with 2 summer vacations this year. One in December 2012/ January 2013, while we live in Chile; and another upon our return to the US in July 2013. Good stuff! Last year we had 2 winters. Summer is definitely a better option.
Our January summer vacation started with several round-about flights, trying to get to Rome, Italy. We were using frequent flyer points, so our choices were a bit limited, but I'm not complaining - they were FREE!
We started in Santiago, Chile. Took an 9 1/2 hour flight to Atlanta, Georgia, USA. I took Greg's 1st Class seat, and he and the boys toughed it out in Economy Comfort.
We arrived in Atlanta and spent our 8 1/2 hour layover in the Delta Sky Lounge. THANK GOODNESS for the Delta Sky Lounges and Greg's status that allow us in. We showered, ate (Nutella!), slept, and used their wifi.
First order of business once we landed on US soil? Panda Express!
As we boarded our next plane to Detroit, Michigan, the boys were met with a HUGE surprise: 1st Class Tickets the rest of the way, baby! They were sooo excited! It was their first time flying in "luxury" as they put it.
Once we arrived in Detroit, we had a brief 2 hour layover before boarding our next plane to Paris - De Gaulle. This is where 1st Class REALLY counts! The boys were trying everything out. Pushing buttons, opening cabinets, using the tray, reclining their seats. Checking out every single thing in that free little toiletry kit they give you - putting on the socks... It was pretty comical. They were in heaven. They were also beat after all that travel, and 1st class with its fully reclining seats were just what we all needed. Finally a good night's rest.
We arrived in Paris a little better rested. At this point, we'd been traveling 2 full days in who knows how many time zones. We were all ready to just land somewhere. We had only a short 4 hour layover there. Just enough time to hit the Delta Lounge and have breakfast.
See how well rested they look:
The flight from Pairs to Rome was brief. Only 2 hours. That 1st class seat was L-A-M-E! We were all cracking up. Basically, it's a regular 3-row seat, but they've blocked off the middle seat. The food was the same, the seat size was the same. Good thing we didn't PAY for those seats! It didn't matter though, because we were almost there!
The food on THAT flight was the best. Pata Fau Gra (goose liver) - yum! It was topped with some green gelatinous stuff. Again, yum... Andrew tasted it and told us NOT to even try it. We all went with that.
Upon our arrival in Rome, we walked across the street from the airport to our hotel room at the Hilton. We had 2 rooms. One for kids, one for adults. We've not ever done that before, but the hotel only allowed 2 people per room so there wasn't any other option. Besides, we were staying in different cabins on the ship - so get used to it mom! They were right next door - they are teenagers - it was fine. (Can you tell I talked myself into it) The boys loved the independence of being in their own room and having their own keys. It was so much fun.
We planned this trip with our good friends, Ron and Melissa Caudle and their kids. We love them! They arrived in a less round-about way and had been in Rome most of the day. We decided we'd met at Trevi Fountain that night.
What an amazing way to meet up with friends! We left them in Santiago, Chile and said, "See you at Trevi!" It was fun to be half way around the world with them.
Trevi was unbelievable at night! The whole city was gorgeous all lit up. You see less of the typical big-city dirty at night. The weather was cool and crisp, but not unbearable. We were in awe at the sights. The museums, the colosseum, the ruins. WOW!
We couldn't wait to get started on our journey the next day. We wanted to be at the cruise port by 10am, so we headed back to our hotel for a real night's sleep. As we waited for the bus, Andrew, Alex, and I leaned against a wall and sat on a narrow little ledge. That's when we encountered a little surprise.
We're sitting there when all of a sudden Andrew starts freaking out and I feel something on my arm. That's about the time we both realize there is a big rat between us. Lots of screaming (from me) and groaning (from Andrew) and questioning (from Alex and Greg).
Andrew recounts the story like this; "I was just sitting there when I felt this big slap of flesh on my head. I think Alex has just smacked me on my head, so I get up like, 'what the heck dude' when I see the rat. A freakin' rat landed on my head!"
This rat was trying to scale the brick wall we were leaning against and wasn't getting very far. GROSS!
We went back to the hotel – SHOWERED (we couldn’t get that ‘rat’ feeling off of us soon enough) - then headed to bed. Excited for the adventures to come!