Obtaining passports was our first order of buisiness. My partners application was processed promptly and he received his passport within a month. Getting mine proved to be somewhat more problemactic. Due to a snafu with my last name, the stringient policies of the U.S. post 2001 and inept employees at the passport agency, it took some time, and several irate phone calls before mine was finally processed and in my hand. At one point, they were requesting 3 I.D.'s, all containing a photo and signature. Some of the options were, a passport (!!?!??!), nilitary I.D., I am a pacifist and have been openly gay since my late teens or a student I.D., I was 48 at the time. I have resolved since that time to never let my passport expire!
All travel arrangements were booked online. This is always a gamble since pictures of hotels and rooms tend to be "edited" to show the properties in their best light. We have since become somewhat more savvy regarding online booking but at this point we were still somewhat new and green to the process.
In November the flights overseas are less numerous than during the summer months. To get to Rome from Chicago required a stop in Toronto. So we had to fly north to travel south, coming and going.
Our departure date arrived and we headed to the airport for our flight(s). Once we landed in Toronto an airport worker, seeing us walking through the terminal, graciously offered us a lift on the back of her motorized cart. After going through security a second time we settled into seats in the shuttle that wopuld take us to the terminal where we would catch our flight to Rome. I looked around and asked my partner "Where is your carry on?" He realized that he had left it at the checkpoint we had just gone through.We raced back, retrieved it and caught another shuttle, arriving at the gate with just minutes to spare.
Flying over the Atlantic is tedious. Flying over the Atlantic at night is even more tedious. Somewhat sleep deprived, we arrived in Rome.