The trip home from Rome
Well the short story is--I'm home. The long story is the hours it took to achieve that goal.
Fr. Joe, Bro. Vince and I left San Isidro Friary at 9:45 a.m (3:45 a.m Cincinnati time). We walked a short distance to the Metro, took the Metro to the main train station and caught the train to the airport. We actually caught an earlier train that we had planned, so we got to Fiumicino by 11:00 a.m. Our plane was scheduled to leave at 2:00 p.m.
We went to Terminal C and looked up our flight and the sign informed us that we needed to go to desk 500 something. The numbers in Terminal C only go to 431. So I found a British Air representative who informed us that we needed to take a shuttle to Terminal 5. So off to the shuttle we go and get to Terminal 5 which is practically empty. There we were through security which amounted to nothing, checked bags, and followed the signs to an empty glassed-in room in the basement. After a few seconds we realized that this was where we needed to catch a shuttle back to Terminal C. So finally we are at our gate ready to go with about an hour and a half to spare.
Boarding was scheduled for 1:10 p.m. We finally boarded at 4:00 and took off after 4:30 p.m. Some kind of technical trouble which needed to eb fixed and OKed by Houston. Well we did the math and knew that we would not make our connection to Cincinnati. Continental did likewise and rescheduled us for a Wednesday morning 6:20 a.m. departure. The flight was pleasant but took over nine hours due to a strong headwind.
We landed at Newark and went through passport clearance and customs and arrived at the Continental desk hoping to get vouchers for a motel and some food. Instead they informed us that our plane to Cincinnati scheduled for 8:00 p.m. was actually delayed until 9:55 p.m. and that we could make that. So off we go across terminals to Gate A 25 only to wait until after 10:00 to board. Then we sat on the tarmac for a half hour or more waiting for a flight plan around a storm.
Instead on arriving in Cincinnati at 10:27 as scheduled, we got there at 12:45 a.m. One of our Postulants, Michael Charron, had agreed to meet us. So I called him a few times along the way to give him progress reports, and he graciously met us and dropped us off our our respective friaries. I got to bed around 2:00 a.m. Cincinnati time--8:00 a.m. Rome time. I had been up for 26 hours.
As the three of us were standing at the curb waiting for Michael to arrive from the cell phone lot, we commented that the friars back at San Isidro at that very time were gathering for Wednesday morning Office and Mass. We had begun our day at Tuesday morning Office and Mass.
So the pilgrimage has come to an end. I am in my office catching up with Vocation work and happy to be home--but a little sad that the adventure is over. It was well worth it.