Rejoice with me, what was lost has been found. Where the bag went is a mystery that will never be solved. We were ticketed on a Delta flight to Rome operated by Alitalia that we would catch after flying from Nantucket to Boston. The last time I saw it, it was being checked at the Nantucket Cape Air counter all the way through to Rome, which threw a bit of a curve at the agent who did not have Rome in his system and had to trust me that the airport code was FCO. Carry on is not allowed. Their planes are light twins carrying eight passengers. There's no room for carry on. They do check bags through from Nantucket, not often, to domestic destinations. Most bags are picked up at Cape Air's baggage chute behind some stairs and not too far from the real carousels. Anyway, it never arrived in Rome. Neither did Dianna's, but the Alitalia people promised they would be found and delivered soon. Dianna's was, three days later. Mine wasn't.
Rome was not our destination. Castiglion Fiorentino, about a three hour drive north, was. It was where we would spend the next nine days with me attending a writing workshop led by Cary Tennis who, with his wife Norma, has become a permanent resident, having made his escape from San Francisco. Nine days in a small old fortress town atop a steep hill can be a wonderful experience, and it was. But that's another story, because this is about my bag. It took Alitalia eight days just to find it, and who knows where it had been. It might have sat on the Cape Air baggage chute behind the stairs until someone noticed it hadn't been picked up. It might have gone to Delta instead of Alitalia, and sat around for days until someone spotted the FCO tag. It might have been lost in the baggage labyrinth in Rome, where efficiency is not the highest priority. In any case it was found on the eighth day, with delivery promised that day or the next. Some promise!
It was consigned to a courier service whose website boasted guaranteed four to eight hour delivery anywhere in Italy. One day passed. Two days passed. The courier service denied any knowledge of the bag, didn't have its tag number in their system, and didn't want to be bothered with my crank calls. The airline assured me it would be delivered 'today' and quit bothering us. Day nine passed. Day ten dawned, and we were ready for the drive back to Rome for one short night at the airport Hilton and then home by way of Amsterdam and Seattle. Wonder of Italian wonders, the bag was magically delivered to Residence Le Santucee in Castiglion Fiorentino five hours after we left. Cary, being the good guy that he is, hopped in his car, drove three hours south and put it in to my hands. We celebrated with a dinner and hugs and handshakes before he headed back north, and we to bed for a few hours.
So what had I done in the meantime? Locals buy a lot of their clothes at a store in the middle of the old city called, oddly enough, Blu Jeans Mania. With Norma's help we became their best customers, no doubt making the month for them. Pants, shirts, sweaters, underwear, and a jacket, enough to get by, proving that we tend to overpack. And now for the big question. We checked our bags through to Walla Walla from Rome. Would they make it? Alitalia to Delta to Alaska: what could go wrong? We got home last night, bags with us. Mine full of clean, never worn clothing. Oh yeah, why were we on Nantucket in the first place? A family visit before the start of our Italian adventure.