OL and i awaken at 4 AM. We get ready for a 6am taxi ride to the airport. His flight departs at 8:45 and mine at 9:45. He has the chills because it is so cold in our room. Luckily, I’m a heat radiator so I sit beside him.
I’m excited to go home. One of the few things I’ve wanted lately that I’ve gotten. But it also means no more OL. And despite how frustrating our trip was at times, and how annoyed I got, he handled it really well.
Despite all the ups and downs, I’ve come to count on him and the trip home seems hopeless without him. Of course, this means I’m crying the cab ride to the airport.
OL btw is used to this by now. Every trip I cry the last day or two when are about to say the inevitable goodbye.
So he get off at terminal 3 and I go onto terminal 5, where the high risk/sensitive country travel leaves from. So basically US and middle east. Yup together.
However, at 6:20 check in is closed. At 7am it opens. But first they just check your passport. Then you cart all your luggage around the corner to check in line. Then I would stop at customs to get my tax refund stamped but it’s closed. So I go through security.
Then I get on a bus to terminal 5. Chat all this time with Michelle and her husband, who were part of a large group of 3 church choirs who came to sing in Italy at churches. They got to sing at the Vatican and Michelle got to kiss the Pope’s ring.
What a chance of ten lifetimes.
We get to the gate. I happily go duty free shopping. Pick up a Pope tshirt and a Rome jacket. Then I hit the wine store. I’m so happy to return to US soil. Everything was difficult in Italy. In the US, we have a make it so mentality. Everything is possible. In Italy not so much.
I go to my gate and wait. They begin boarding the plane. Half of us go through the gate and they stop. Twenty minutes passes and they announce that in 20 minutes they will make an announcement. Twenty minutes later, they say they need 20 more minutes. An hour later, they tell us there is a problem with the plane but they don’t know what type of problem.
Another half hour we find out it is a mechanical problem with the hydraulic system. Uh-oh. Sounds bad. Then they tell us to take our ticket and go get a free lunch. They push the takeoff time back for the thirteenth time to 1:30.
Oh shit. Nothing happens in Italy from 1-3. We are so screwed. We go get our free lunches. At 12:30 we return to the gate. No boarding. Ten minutes before the flight is scheduled to take off they announce new takeoff time of 2:30.
Then at 2:20 announce flight is cancelled. Cancelled. So they gather us together and take us back through the airport to the baggage claim to pick up our luggage. Then across the parking lot to a bus to a hotel. It’s 4:15. Bumper to bumper traffic.
We arrive at the hotel gather luggage and form a massive line for check in. They take our passports. As we check in, some guy flies up to reception and begins yelling about how he is checking out because he can’t stay in a hotel where there is blood on the sheets. A hush falls over all of us. I’m thinking bedbugs or just filthy. Ick.
We continue to check in. What is our other option? This is where Continental sent us and this is where we will find out what is going on with our flight.
The elevator doesn’t go to the second floor. So a super helpful bellboy uses the service elevator to get our bags up there.
I go in my room. It’s clean. A bit dated but fine. Then I read the rack rate is 240€. Wow.
Omfg. Weird thing is the tv doesn’t turn on. Michelle is right down the hall and pops over and shows me how to plug it in. Lol.
She takes me un her wing and offers to let me join them for dinner which I appreciate. I’m tired and alone feeling the absence of my travel guru, OL. Internet is 16.5€. I need it so I can get on the internet to tell mom and dad what happened and OL.
And I just cry. For like an hour. Until I realize my blood sugar is really low. Over 6 hours without food. So I rip open the chips and eat. Pull myself together.
Check continental airlines website. Our flight is delayed for maintenance. I giggle. Serious spin happening.
Then it’s 7 and time for dinner. We go wait in line and have a nice buffet. The fish and lasagna were tasty. Desserts were good too.
Wine helped. Met two cool college girls from Toronto at dinner. Nice to have people to commiserate with and talk to. As we walk out, there is a sign posted that says we are scheduled on the 11am flight tomorrow and need to report to the airport for 8am. There is a bus from the hotel.
Went back to room, but couldn’t get tv to work so went to front desk. I have to say the staff at the Satellite Palace Hotel did a great job. The front desk was very responsive. Everyone really stepped up their game for us. Mille grassi.
Someone came and fixed the tv and refused to take a tip for it. They were among the nicest Italians I encountered.
Watched MTV for a while. Then hit the sheets at 11:30ish. Woke up at 4:30 and 5:48. Wake up call was schedule for 6:30 but I decided to take the earlier bus to the airport. Downstairs by 6:50. 7 am bus arrives at 7:10. Italy 7am.
Ride to airport and talk to random girl who missed connection to Portugal. She lives in Vegas and is taking a vacation to see dad. Kinda cool what travelers talk about when stranded together.
When I arrive at airport. It’s chaos. Normal for Italy. Then the woman who took charge of us yesterday arrives and corrals us into our own lane to check in. I chat with a nice family from the choir group. Checkin and then hit customs which is open. I am getting my vat refund today.
Guy tells me to wait outside. Doesn’t even bother opening my ring box to see what is inside it. So reediculous. Stamps it and I give it to vat refud kiosk before security checkpoint. Then through security and into the gate area.
Get some pastries and eat a big breakfast to prepare for the coming storm. Or whatever shit is headed my way. I have had to check my control freak type a self at the door. This trip taught me that I have no control. So I just go through the motions and wait to see what happens next.
Sit with family and wait for plane. Evidently the part came in. So we should be good to fly. Should be. There is no plane at the gate. EasyJet taught me that means nothing. They bus you to planes here. We spy a Continental plane across lot. Hope it is us.
We go through gate security. Poor lady gets stopped in front of me because her passport has two stickers. We all do since we did check in yesterday and today. Ugh. I try to help by showing her my passport too. The Italians look at our passports for the 4th time and act like they are fake.
Get me home. Please now soon. We take gate escalator to the bus. Ride to plane and get on board. They have half the plane empty and ask us to sit in our assigned seats. We spread out before the plane leaves and continue after it is in the air. We were an hour late at take off. So happy to be headed home.