I’m pretty fried. Scenes from the past 24-30 hours with some narrative. I left San Giovanni Rotondo at 12:35am, catching a €16 Marino bus (basically Megabus) from Piazza Forgione. Here’s what Piazza Forgione looked like at that hour. I was mildly concerned that that Marino bus would not be coming given the human desert that the place was at that late/early hour:

After winding our way to Manfredonia on the Adriatic coast, I fell soundly asleep and didn’t wake up until past 6am upon our arrival at Rome’s Tiburtina station. My 11:45am flight to Newark (by way of Charlotte) was just far enough away that I had time on my hands, but since it was still very early morning there didn’t seem anything to do other than spend the time walking the 40 or so minutes from Tiburtina station to Termini station. There I caught a €14 Trenitalia Leonardo Express to the airport, and made my way through security and to the gate. I had about an hour before boarding began, and so I got one final espresso and croissant.

Thankfully my American Airlines flight to Charlotte was (at best) half full, so I had a window seat with plenty of adjacent room for sleeping most of the way. I also caught up on reading and studying for a National Catholic Bioethics Center seminar that’s happening tomorrow. Ten hours ticked by more slowly heading west than it did heading east, but finally we touched down in Charlotte, where I had a two hour layover before heading to Newark, where I landed sometime after 10pm, then caught the next available 11:30 Amtrak to Philadelphia and to sleep.

(I booked the Newark-to-Rome flight for $491 roundtrip, but in retrospect the added time and costs of connecting between Philadelphia meant it was less a bargain compared to the ~$1100 Philadelphia-based departure than it at first appeared to be.)

This trip has been a gift, and while I’m grateful to be home, I’m sorry to be gone.