Sunday, February 14, 2010

Travel stories from hell: Italy

The other day I was reminded of our adventures going to Italy back in 2004. I was trying to save money and booked plane tickets that had two layovers. Our flights were SFO -> JFK -> Paris De Galle -> Bologna, Italy.


Our flight from SFO took off two hours late due to a passenger having to be removed due to "illness" or something. Our nice layover at JFK (listed as one of my most hated airports, btw) was gone - we had to rush through changing terminals, moving from domestic to international and shove our way through security. There were a number of people on our SFO plane connecting to the same plane, so the plane was held. . . .which meant it was late taking off!

At last, we landed in Paris de Gaulle - this was not too long after a section of the roof collapsed in the airport. Things were chaotic and somehow along the way, we were able to get on our plane to Bologna without our passport being stamped to show we had landed in the European Union. We didn't realize it at the time but let me tell you - the guy in Italy noticed when we went to leave.

Finally, after 24 hours of travel, we land in Bologna in the middle of the afternoon in August. It was hot and humid. We got our car from Hertz and got all of about 5km out of the airport and had a flat tire. At this point, tempers are long gone and we are both hot, tired and pissed. My husband replaced the flat tire (thank goodness he is adept at these things) and we drove back to the airport. We arrived at the Hertz counter looking like something out of a bad sitcom. The guy at the counter took one look at us and without a word gave us a brand new (as in hardly any miles on it) car. Smart choice on his part.

The last part of the saga was the hotel. I had booked a room at a Best Western near the airport knowing we wouldn't want to drive the two hours into Tuscany after all that flying. We finally find the hotel (after several wrong turns) and ... it looked like a refugee camp. Rugs and clothing hanging out over the balconies. It was a horrible, horrible dump. We high-tailed it out of there and drove around till we found a Holiday Inn. It was clean, had kicking A/C and rooms available. 
With a start like this, you'd think the trip never got better - but it did. We had a great time in Tuscany and while I would never recommend traveling to Italy in August, we made the most of it. 
Happy Travels!

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