Returning with Mom to Canada
Tuesday, October 2
We awoke at 3:00 a.m., bags packed and ready to go (We were actually supposed to get up at 3:30 a.m., but my mother got her wires a bit crossed, and got us up at 3 instead). This was, arguably, the most important day of our entire trip - the reason, in fact, that we were here. If you recall, the agreement between my mother and I was this: you agree to go on a visit to Italy, and we will escort you back from Italy to Canada.
We quietly transfered our bags to the car and rolled out of the driveway at around 3:50 a.m., driving into the Italian pre-dawn night. Soon we were cruising along the Autostrada towards Rome.
We arrived in the vicinity of the airport at around 6:30 a.m. - too early to return the car to the rental station, which opened at 7 a.m.. We took the opportunity to give the car one final going-over, using headlamps to examine every nook and cranny for something we may have forgotten. I then dropped my mother and sister off at terminal 1, then circled the car around to the car rental return garage, and hurried back to where my mother and sister were waiting.
I wasn't entirely sure which terminal contained the counter for Swiss International Airlines - the airline that would be taking us from Rome to Montreal - and it turns out, I chose incorrectly when I had earlier selected terminal one. The Swiss counter is in fact in terminal three, so we had to make a bit of a journey between the terminals.
I had arranged in advance for all legs of our flights to include a wheelchair service that would take my mother from the check-in desk to gate (or gate-to-gate, in the case of transfers). Everything was in order as we checked in with Swiss for the first leg of our journey back, from Rome to Zurich. We soon boarded our Swiss A321 and waited in line for take-off, watching as flight after flight of regional Alitalia Airbuses took off ahead of us.
It was another clear day in southern Europe, and we had beautiful clear views of the Alps as we neared Zurich. I managed to get a great shot of both Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn - two of Europe's most famous peaks.
At Zurich International Airport, we had a fairly complicated procedure to get us from the domestic to the international terminal, but it was all made quite painless by the wheelchair service we had requested. In fact, as my mother's co-travellers, we were permitted to take some shortcuts that would normally not be afforded to regular passengers!
Our flight from Zurich to Montreal was a fairly long 7+ hours, but unlike the red-eye journey we endured in the other direction, it didn't seem so bad when conducted as a daytime flight. Swiss' good selection of on-demand in-flight movies kept me occupied most of the time.
We arrived in Montreal mid-afternoon. It was here that my mother and my sister and I would part ways - she heading off to the little New Brunswick town of Bathurst, and my sister and I to Ottawa, Canada's capital city. We still had quite a number of hours to spend together, though, for both of our flights left nearly five hours from now. This was no coincidence: I had picked our return to Ottawa flight leg such that it left after my mother's flight, allowing us to escort her all the way to her departure gate and stay with her until she left for home.
We burned off the time wandering around the Montreal airport, and having a nice final dinner together at an airport restaurant. We then wheeled my Mom to her departure gate, and waited as the little Dash-8 turboprop arrived from Bathurst.
Shortly before eight, we saw my mother off to Bathurst, "completing our mission", so to speak. She would be greeted upon arrival in Bathurst's tiny airport by my brother and my Dad.
In closing, I'm glad that I was able to convince my Mom to take another trip back to see the country of her birth and spend some time with her cherished sister. And, I'm also glad that my sister Elvira decided to accompany me. Hopefully everyone enjoyed themselves and would not be averse to going again! Are you reading this, Mom?
Wait - There's more!
There are many extra pictures that didn't make it into the main trip report. To see additional "family" pictures, please click here
. To see other additional pictures, click here