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Published: June 25th 2017
Geo: 40.6263, 14.3757
We saw a lot of familiar faces on all three flights, recognized some of them, and tried to match some of the others with the list of names of the participants on the trip. There are about one hundred people, both clients and employees, on the trip with KOB-TV. The timing on our flights was about as good as possible for a trip to the continent of Europe. We didn't have to leave Albuquerque until just after noon yesterday and had two 1½ hour layovers: first in Chicago, then Frankfurt, before getting to Naples sixteen hours after taking off on the first flight. On the leg from Chicago to Frankfurt, the flight attendant welcomed the group from KOB-TV when she did the usual welcoming of frequent flyer members.
The flights were fairly good—economy plus on the flights from ABQ to ORD and from ORD to FRA. We had a row of three seats to ourselves on the overwater flight. Coming into Frankfurt was quite cloudy. We dropped out of the clouds into a light sprinkle just a few moments before landing, but the pilot did a fine job. When we landed in Naples, the story was different. We hit the
runway very hard and bounced before smoothing out. It was harder than any landing I've experienced in a long time. We heard a collective gasp of surprise from the passengers, but all was well. The last flight was on Lufthansa, and we did not have our seat assignments in advance. The travel agent put us on two separate confirmation numbers so Lufthansa did not know that we were traveling together and seated us separately. We were able to change our seats while we were in Frankfurt. Although I asked for an aisle and the one next to it, the ticket agent never acknowledged that he had heard or said a word to us. We were given a window and a middle seat in the next-to-the-last row. As it turned out, that was fine. When we arrived in Naples, both front and rear doors were opened for disembarking. We were some of the first people off.
The first time we saw any of the travel agent's people was at the gate in Chicago. Tansy was there to check us off her list and to give us a packet of information including nametags. We saw her and others in Frankfurt pointing out
the direction to customs and immigration and then to the next gate. As soon as we deplaned in Naples, we saw the Galactic people pointing the way again, first to baggage claim, then to the waiting buses for the drive to Sorrento. The buses held about 24-30 people which made it much easier and quicker than waiting for a large busload of passengers. We did not have to wait very long there either.
On the drive to Sorrento, we saw a bit of the city, the villages along the way, and the beautiful coastline which we plan to see many more times over the next few days. The traffic is pretty heavy, and the roads are narrow and winding. It took a little over an hour to get to the hotel in Sorrento although it is only about thirty miles away. We saw Mt. Vesuvius and the tops of some of the buildings in Pompeii from the highway. I saw the exit to Herculaneum, but didn't see the site. We'll go to all three places on Sunday.
The first of several group events was a Welcome Dinner at our hotel, the Hilton Sorrento Palace—a buffet of Italian favorites and local wines.
We sat with the three sisters from the Ed Corley family and got to know them just a little bit. During the evening, strolling musicians stopped by our table a couple of times—a singer with tambourine, a guitar player, and a mandolin player. We enjoyed listening and watching them as they flirted with all the women. The music was Italian love songs and pop and folk music. It was lots of fun to watch. The general manager of the station welcomed everyone warmly and wished us all a wonderful time.
We made an early evening of it since we had had only a little bit of sleep on the plane and our first excursion starts at 8 a.m. tomorrow. What fun to be back in Italy!
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