In the early 1990s in Charlotte Douglas airport, I discovered that I could get my shoes shined and walk the moving sidewalks all morning without getting bored. From that day forward, I realized that I am the kind of gal who looks at the hours before boarding and during layovers as opportunities for complete indulgence and utter amusement. An airport slut, so to speak, as I make the most of my terminal stay.
Airports are like ex-boyfriends, familiar, somewhat reliable and always offering a smile. Unlike the Professor who always bumps into a celebrity at every airport he is in (last time it was Anthony Bourdain), I am rather anti-social in my terminal amusement. I like being by myself to check the scene-- though I did appreciate the lunch offer and pin from the air marshall in Denver. But to be honest, I'd rather walk the escalators, ride the navettes, charge up any rechargeable device and browse the shops.
Here are few of my favorite things: LAX's some-what depressing Terminal 1- "best" worst customer service always good for a story, Philadelphia for the Goldenberg Peanut Chews, Any French airport for extreme chic-ness, great candy and caviar selection, Hong Kong- a veritable city of its own whose ranks #1 in best improvisational entertainment-- watching the smoke fill the glass-paneled smoker's lounge, and Tokyo Narita for fabulous selection of mini make-up that you cannot find anywhere else
I may have finally grown up when I sat down at dei Frescobaldi at my hometown Rome FCO. dei Frescobaldi is the layover luxury-- three terminal wine bars run by Casa Bleve (one of Rome's top enoteche) with delicious salads, antipasti, wine by the glass and bottle and most importantly oysters. I had an Attems Pinot Grigio and oysters, while the Professor enjoyed a nice glass of Ornellaia from Signora Bleve was besotted with his hair. [Signora B told me that dei Frescobaldi is also in Florence and at Harrod's in London, though not run by them.] Despite what you've heard or experience at FCO, from its lack of organization to its penchant for misplaced baggage, Fiumicino is pleasantly civilised, once you get past security.
1. Cappuccino at Tazza d'Oro
2. Navette surfing
3. Summer wear shopping at T1
4. Gifts for me and you at Fabriano and Feltrinelli
5. Fonzis at Autogrill (B arrivals)