G may not have wanted to get up early this week, but she did, and today did so one last time so we could straighten up the apartment. While we were doing this, I called for the taxi to take us to the train station. A year ago I made a similar phone call that climaxed in a verbal assault of epic proportions. This year I have a local SIM card, and the phone call (again in Italian) is seamless. We step onto the curb at 9:10, and the taxi arrives 2 minutes later. The streets of Milano are vacant, the Sunday morning stillness broken only by our vehicle bounding recklessly forward.
The Malpensa Express takes us from the train station to the airport, where I have a run-in with Alitalia, whose representative doesn’t wish to acknowledge my checked bag allowance. Eventually we reach a compromise, but I will call Delta to clarify when I get home.
Last time I flew Alitalia I had a beautiful experience in business class. This time we are seated in economy. The flight is smooth, and the service is great, but the food is … meh. It’s probably not fair judging airline food, but I don’t care, so here goes: I’ve eaten worse, but the braised beef was bland. The peas and tomatoes were boring. The potatoes were OK. The whole dish was downright ugly. The rice had stuff in it – olives, corn, and tuna I think, and was probably the best savory element on the tray. The tart had apricot filling and was covered with almonds. By far the best thing there, and I devoured it. It was really good.
After capturing some restful, and much-needed, sleep, a snack was served about 1.5 hours out from JFK. The snack was a miniature plum cake, which was pretty much a pound cake. It wasn’t quite as good as the tart, but it was good. Also, there were yummy rosemary breadsticks.
In the end our plane landed at JFK, and we made it through customs. The lines were almost nonexistent and they seemed to be routing everybody through a global entry process. It was great!
I had a very special surprise when we landed. D was at the airport with pastrami sandwiches from Katzs. They were much needed after all the airplane food, and his presence was a salve of sorts.
We have one more flight left, from JFK to DTW, but I’m going to call this episode of the blog done (this may be premature as the flight is running late – *sigh*). Another voyage to Italy is complete and it has been just an incredibly special trip for me. Time alone in Italy (as many of my trips have been) is different from time with D, and both are different from time with G. All are good in their own ways.
I honestly can’t begin to express how much it means to me to have spent this time with G – she is one of my oldest friends and although it sometimes feels like the universe pulls us in different directions, we have known each other for decades and will always have a foundation in each other. There are some friends in this world who understand our hearts and souls, and these are friends we need to hold onto tightly. Such a relationship is a rare thing, and it must be nurtured, and not neglected or taken for granted. These are friends who we, as with any friend, might lose track of, but when we we are reunited it’s like a day hasn’t gone by and our spirits sync back up instantly. A week of spirits in sync is truly a magnificent thing. I have been truly fortunate to have this time with her, and absolutely treasure every moment we have shared.
So, my dear readers, I thank you for peeking in. Worry not, however, because Butterblogger will be back, and there won’t be another 6-month hiatus in the near future. I have another trip planned in a month and it seems as though D will join me for that. If you haven’t figured out by now, he is another friend whose spirit resonates with mine. Alone or with him, however, I will be blogging again.
And then, for New Years, I have a new guest to the blog. I will be traveling with P (not that P – a different P) to a new exciting location. This is a place both of us have admitted we probably wouldn’t want to visit alone, but together …. well … as long as we don’t get malaria I’m sure we’ll be great!
Unless we aren’t.