Italian Memories

Saturday, June 11, 2005 - written by Pat and Paul Weston

The day started with good news and bad news. The good news: we had an early flight, and would be back in Champaign/Urbana in mid-afternoon. The bad news: we had to get up in the dark with about four hours of sleep in order to catch that early flight.

Our guardian angel, Domenico, managed to get us and our luggage on the bus, to the airport, and through the chaotic check-in at the Iberia Airlines desks. May his name be praised! Someone should write a song about him. We were all still about a mile off the ground at that time, just remembering the incredible things we had done and seen, so that time passed swiftly as we waited for the plane and embarked on the flight. We're sure that the takeoff run was the shortest on record, just due to our 52 buoyant spirits.

Iberia.

Ah, but what an anticlimax when, with the firm ground of Chicago beneath our feet, we set about loading up for the return bus trip to Champaign. Due to a misunderstanding within the group, several of us did a round trip from Terminal 5 at O' Hare to the Bus and Transportation Center and back to Terminal 5. That was only a minor problem. We were more concerned when we found that 52 tired passengers had been given a size 45 bus. (Lincoln Land Express could have picked up a few pointers on honesty and reliability from their namesake, Abe.)

The extra seven people were put in LEX's regular van that serves the airport, and off we went, but we on the bus soon worked up a sweat again (literally) when our "air conditioned" size 45 rolling junkheap gave out a pitiful trickle of slightly cooled air through a tiny slit below the windows. Those twenty souls who were nearest unconsciousness upon arrival at the rest stop at Kankakee were mercifully put on the accompanying van. Nonetheless, despite all our tribulations, all arrived safely at the end, with smiles intact.

the previous day

 

touching the spirit... enriching us all