I've been on six planes in four weeks. I'm not complaining.
Some of my co-workers have been on many more.
I like to travel by myself and there's an interesting distinction between traveling alone for business and going on vacation. I make my own way and have my methods. I've streamlined the way I do things and I've made some mistakes.
(The solid black Vera Bradley carry-on bag is too big for me to carry comfortably.)
So, off to Italy I went.
I flew on BA as I couldn't face a layover in Paris, couldn't imagine not leaving the airport. Heathrow suited my purpose.
I got this nasty little cheese plate at Kennedy.
It really could not have been worse.
I got on my plane and found my Premium Economy seat (oh, yes), marveled at the difference a couple of hundred dollars can make, and settled in.
I can't say what movies I watched but I watched a lot.
I didn't sleep, which was a problem.
And then I was in England with my friend who had arrived on a parallel flight.
We met at Heathrow and waited together for the Italian leg of the journey.
And then, Italy. Crazy, busy, loud, Italy.
I had coordinated meetings and cocktail parties and brain-storming sessions in a palazzo and dinners and more cocktail parties and, of course some time to visit the drug store to buy Italian lotion and soap (as one does).
I stayed, we stayed, in an old hotel in the center of Bologna.
It was a little bit grand.
My room was across the alley from the yoga studio.
I did some stretches with them in the morning.
My other view looked out on houses and beautiful tiled roofs. There were church bells and arguments and the sounds of the neighborhood flooded my room.
I was in 218, off in the corner, far away from everyone else, which seems to be my wont. My room is similarly situated in London. No noise from the neighbors, I am away on my own.
In the evening, when we could, we'd have Aperol Spritzs and caper berries.
And, for five euros each we had this for lunch one day -
Because, of course, there really isn't any bad food in Italy.
The palazzo was as one would expect - but that didn't mean it wasn't stunning.
The meetings went well. The brainstorming session was a success.
We did some late-night dinners...
I found myself walking our notable author back to the hotel after midnight and marveled at the sights.
I shopped and walked and worked with one member of the group and really enjoyed my time with her.
Her room had a beautiful balcony and she shared treats with me at all hours of the day and night.
I threw one last cocktail party.
I made an arduous journey back to the hotel to travel outside the city to a very memorable dinner in a gorgeous old house.
And then, so quickly it seemed, after only four days, it was done and I was a bit sad and somewhat exhausted.
I donned my little Automobili Lamborghini hat (which looks kind of dusty)
grabbed a taxi and headed out.
It was a short hop back to Heathrow, where I had a massive layover.
I decided to get a cup of tea at Fortnum's.
It was very satisfying. But then a funny thing happened. The waiter brought me some smoked salmon to taste and, though I don't care for salmon, I ate it.
I had never had anything like it. I pushed aside my tea and ordered a plate.
Creme fraiche, slivers of delicate fish, the teeniest hint of red onion, capers...
it was one of the best things I've ever eaten.
I got on my big airplane. Settled into my seat and watched Lion.
I cried for every minute of it. I went to sleep. I got a taxi. I came home.
It was too little time. If I have a chance to go again I'll change that.
It was wonderful and crazy and busy - as Italy can be.
I'd kill for an Aperol Spritz.