|An old stadium in Rome, at night|
|Waiting for the Pope on a Sunday morning in St Peters Square in Rome|
Hubby was invited to speak at a conference in Switzerland, and then the conference organizers came back with an apology and said that because of budget constraints, the conference had to be moved to Rome. They apologized for the disappointment and hoped that the speakers would understand. I might have actually danced around in a circle celebrating. I like Rome.
And so the planning begins. Dates are the first step, when do we need to be there and what two week time block fits around that? Then for me airline tickets. I am flying on frequent flyer miles. Last Friday evening I logged onto the American Airlines site (I had the most miles with them) and started looking. If you leave the dates flexible it helps. I tried booking through a partner airline - the schedule was very good, but the airline wanted to charge me $556 in service charges to book a free seat - no thank you British Airways. The connection going out is a bit weird, DC to Detroit, Detroit to Philly and Philly to Rome, but I was able to get seats on American Airlines for total taxes and fees of $66 (and 60,000 frequent flyer miles - round trip.) For early summer travel - that is a really good deal. The return is Rome to Philly and Philly to DC. I will fly the weird outbound if needed, but I am betting that over the next 6 months AA will change the schedule on at least one of those flights and I will seize the opportunity to ask them to simply fly me from DC to Philly on the outbound leg. I have created my planning matrix with all of the dates and key events. Next I start filling in hotels. I will stay at or near the airport the first and last nights. We need to find out from the conference organizers how long we can stay at the host institute in Rome.