Some observations on the trip from New York to Rome:
American Airlines' Terminal 8 at J.F.K. Airport looks like a bus station circa 1962 rather than a modern terminal for a major carrier.
While waiting for my flight, I tried a Diet Coke made with Splenda (rather than NutraSweet). I guess it's a test-marketing thing. I like Splenda (a.k.a. sucralose) in the DietRite sodas, but it didn't do much for me in the Diet Coke.
While on the flight, I sat in front of a mother and son. The latter was probably about 11 years old and spoke with an English accent (his mother seemed to be American). About an hour into the flight he asked his mother if she thought it was a good idae that we were building all of these robots. She seemed non-committal in her reply. Then the boy said: "It's only a matter of time before the robots rise up and enslave mankind." Creepy.
Why are European airports much more civilized in providing luggage carts for free, as opposed to charging three bucks for them as they do in New York?
At Stansted Airport in London, I witnessed a trio of Italian men basically confirming all the worst stereotypes as they repeatedly cut the line while boarding a flight to Rome.
My RyanAir flight gave me a bird's eye view of the eternal city in the afternoon sun. I had clear views of recognizable landmarks such as St. Peter's Basilica and the Colosseum, as well as crumbling ancient aqueducts south of the city.
It sure is convenient to be able to use the Euro in many different countries while traveling in Europe, but it didn't do me much good when the only ATM in Rome's Ciampino airport wasn't working when I needed local currency.
There seem to be a LOT of Americans here in Rome. No doubt they are exploring the Angels and Demons tour of the city!
Conclusion of the day: if you know a reasonable amount of high school Spanish, you can get by in Italy.