As the title suggests, I’m back home again. And the honeymoon period was short-lived. I did get the homecooked meal I had requested when I came home (Hamburger Helper with green peas and biscuits…mmm), but that was about all the special treatment two months away from home warranted in my case. I was kind of hoping I might get a homecooked meal and be treated to a pedicure, but no such luck. Now that the cut on my foot from Rome has heeled I will be treating myself to a pedicure; I deserve it.
The last few days of the trip were great. It was fun to still be on the road, but Kelly and I also knew that in just a few short days we’d be back home in our nice, soft beds and eating in restaurants that serve unlimited free refills. Also, both of us had been to Rome, so we were able to take it easy and relax instead of having to run around trying to see all the sights in one day. We had a blast on our ghetto fabulous tour. We went to every single one of the locations from the book…some of them twice. After wandering around trying to figure out which church was which at several locations, we realized they weren’t even open. We had to revisit a few places later in the day, but it was worth it. Everywhere we went we took pictures with the little piece of paper that I had written “Ghetto Fabulous Dan Brown Book Tour” on. More than a few people looked at us and laughed. We didn’t care, because it was plain that we weren’t the only people in Rome going on do-it-yourself Angels and Demons tours. I was standing in St. Peter’s Square when a random guy walked past and said, “You’re standing on a clue, ya know.” This book is everywhere, I’m telling you.
Kelly and I found ourselves at the train station later in the evening when we went to check on train times for the following day and happened to meet up with Kerry as she came in from Ancona. It was great to have the three of us back together, even if we’d only been apart a few days. After spending two months together, 24/7, it is weird when suddenly someone is gone. When we went back to the hostel, Nikki and Anne were already there and then there were five of us! That was definitely a change, too. I was so used to the dynamics between Kerry, Kelly and myself, that having two newcomers there threw me a little bit off pace. We went out to dinner together and walked around to see some places lit up at night (Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, etc.). It was a nice evening. The weather was nice and cool. In fact, the weather was perfect the whole time we were in Rome; not too hot and nice and sunny.
The following morning Kelly and I had to get up early to make it on the train to Ciampino Airport. The whole morning was a nightmare. It wasn’t too bad getting too the airport, apart from a completely, ridiculously overcrowded bus we had to take after the train, but once we got to the airport it was just stupid the way things were being run. The lines to check in were miles long and took absolutely ages. Old people kept cutting in line (what is with the friggin rude old people in that part of the world?), and I swear the workers had to be competing for the title of Most Incompetent Employee. Later we found out that the airport had been evacuated earlier in the morning for some security reason, but I was in such a bad mood at that point that I wasn’t inclined to be sympathetic.
Kelly and I were both happy to get out of Rome. Funny, because I was ecstatic to get out of Rome the last time I was there, too. I think it is just better to take a train into and out of Rome–avoid the airports completely…both of them.
Stepping out into Heathrow Airport was wonderful, I can’t even tell you. Being back in an English speaking country was fantastic. It was weird though, because I kept having to remind myself of that at first. I almost went up to the Easybus counter and asked if the woman spoke English, just because I was in the habit. We took a bus into the city and got the Tube up to our hostel at Hendon Central. It was way out there, but not too bad because we had a direct train to central London. We went out for an Indian meal because we had both been craving it for ages, and the place we went was good…I guess. It was so spicy I couldn’t even taste my food. I didn’t care though, as long as it was something other than ham and cheese or pizza.
We had one of the best nights of the trip in our one night in London. We met up with our friend Jim Bollocks in Leicester Square to have a few drinks, and it was loads of fun. I’d never been to London with a native before, so I told him he could be a tourist for the night and we made him take silly pictures, including one with me in a red phone booth. It was really odd to think that I’d be back in London to live and work in only a few weeks, but it was so incredible. There is so much energy and so much going on all the time there; it’s exactly the kind of place that suits me.
The whole next day was spent traveling home. We got up at 7:30 am and I didn’t make it into Orlando until 9:30 pm Eastern time. It was great to see my family again. My mom, dad, and sister were at the airport to meet me. It was funny how the day before I felt like I hadn’t seen them in ages, and then all of a sudden it felt like I’d never been gone at all. I managed to stay awake for the whole drive home and when I got into my bed that night I slept better than I’d slept in a long time. Home at last.
One week later almost and I’m over the jetlag, I’ve had a tetanus shot, I’ve had my one home-cooked meal, and I’ve spent hours upon hours of doing absolutely nothing. Today wasn’t the first day that I haven’t been out of my pajamas. And despite my initial hesitation, I have voluntarily got on another boat and gone out to sea. Life is pretty much exactly what I want it to be at the moment. I’ve still got to catch up on some movies and visit a few more of my favorite restaurants, but other than that I think I’m recovered from this trip. Less than a week after being back, though, I’m already bored. It is such a change to go from packing up and moving on every two to three days to staying in the same house day after day, after day. It is slowly driving me crazy! It is a good thing that in only three weeks I’ll be moving on to something new. The job hunting will begin, the apartment hunting will begin, and real life will descend upon me once more–but at least it will be in a new place, with new things to experience. Even if I’m not carrying my world on my back anymore, I’m sure plenty of adventures lie ahead of me in England.
Thus concludes my travel blog. Thanks to all those who checked in from time to time to see where the heck we were at any given time. Sorry to my mom for making her think that I had been knocked on the head in Turkey and had my credit cards stolen and used to buy camels. Sorry for the often long entries that requred scanning for keywords and locale names. Screw you to all the Internet cafes that charged me an arm and a leg just to post those excruciatingly long entries so that all of you lovely people could have the pleasure of scanning them. Thank you, Harry Lime, for creating such an enormously entertaining song that will forever be a part of the soundtrack to these past two months. And, finally, thanks most of all to my wonderful travel partners–Kelly, Kerry, Jenny, and Esty–for being such a blast to travel with and for making this summer the best ever. Whenever I see a man sticking his hands down his pants, I’ll think of you girls.
Tags: Angels - Demons, Dan Brown, England, Home, Italy, Leicester Square, London, Orlando, Rome, Travel