34 – Chrismas Visit to the UK

Having lost Dad (dear “Ugo”) in the March of 2008 and after having spent three difficult Christmases here in Italy, this year we decided to go back to the UK for a flying visit to be close to our nearest and dearest, but planned to be back in Italy to see in the New Year with some of our Italian friends.

This meant that we needed to find someone willing to help care for the 10 dogs during our absence.  Thankfully we were able to leave the feeding of the hounds in the care of our good friends Raffaele and Michael, who volunteered to visit them daily.  We can’t thank them enough for their stirling efforts over the Christmas period.  Michael also kindly gave us a lift to Itri Station, to catch the train to Termini station in Rome.

istn2Our cases were heavy with Christmas Gifts and several bottles of our freshly pressed olive oil to give as presents. We decided to try out a Shuttle-Bus Service, and purchased for 6 euros each vouchers at a kiosk just outside of Termini Station.  We were then directed to Via Marsala, just around the corner from Termini, the pick-up point for various Shuttle bus services, including Terravision.  Here there is an English Speaking rep for each bus company. We exchanged our vouchers for actual tickets to board the SIT Bus Shuttle. A little too late we learned that if you purchase here directly, tickets cost just 5 euros each !

Website for SIT Bus Shuttle http://www.sitbusshuttle.it

Website for Terravision:  http://www.terravision.eu/rome_ciampino.html

The coach took an interesting route through the congested streets of Rome, along the Via Appia, and before too long we were delivered to Ciampino Airport. We found the service excellent and would recommend it to anyone.

Airbus A320 *

Airbus A320 *

We flew with Easyjet, and had a good, smooth flight –  I think that at long last I am beginning to overcome my fear of flying. It certainly is reassuring when it is an Airbus, as Paul, in our former life, when we lived back in the UK, worked there as a Mechanical Stress Engineer on various Airbus projects, and knows personally many of the excellent engineers involved in the design and development of the aircraft.

It came as no surprise that the Airbus that recently ditched in the Hudson River in New York, held together, allowing all the passengers to be rescued safely.  The combination of the skill of the pilot and crew, the design of the aircraft and I daresay a generous helping of good luck, resulted in the positive outcome. Paul claims no part in the successful conclusion but feels privileged to know and to have worked with some of the clever and dedicated people involved.

Paul’s dad met us at Bristol Airport and took us back home.  We hadn’t realised that Paul’s sister was arriving that evening too, for a couple of days stay before Christmas, so it was lovely to catch up with them both.

* photo courtesy of easyjet website 

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