We had an odd experience leaving Rome. A day or two earlier we had been at the Roman site of Ostia (very impressive, I will write about it on other days). The site is near the main airport of Rome and I remarked to my wife that I was surprised at how few airplanes were going over head. Not a complaint mind you, I rather enjoyed the quiet. We had also seen an odd plume of black smoke and wondered what it might be.
Well, as it happens the main terminal for international flights had suffered a big fire. Cause unknown but I have heard suggestions of arson in response to staff cutbacks.
So when we were ready to leave Rome there was some uncertainty as to which terminal to go to. Following the information on the internet we went to terminal 3. It was back in partial operation but had a very odd feel to it. Out front were lots of police. There were pallets full of water bottles that were being handed out. Folks in hazmat suits walked here and there. It was creepy. We were directed to a shuttle bus that was to take us to a temporary terminal. People were a little edgy, running to the bus, trying to get in at the last minute. The police helped a few more get on with their baggage. Coupled with the smell of burning in the air my wife and I arrived at the same idea: this is what it must be like to flee a city that is about to fall to an advancing enemy. Paris, 1940. Saigon in 1974. The rush, the uncertainty...
Then we got off the shuttle and went to our gate. And saw this:
Yes it could be a starved refugee on the run, but the cloying smell of affluence and parfume in the air says we had arrived at an undamaged part of the airport.
Long hours of travel by air and train ensued, finally landing me here:
Glorious Northumbria, where I will be again a volunteer excavator at the Roman site of Vindolanda. The road you see above is about 2000 years old and leads straight to the site
I had a bracing stroll up from the train station, through sheep fields and past moldering, mossy walls.
And speaking of moldering and mossy, here is the 2015 photo from "Jet Lag Drinks Night" a long standing tradition for the night before digging begins. A good crew and a good turnout.
Time for a few hours of sleep.