Trapped in Italy! Or, How Fixing my Mistake Cost me €200

Only I could turn what should have been a 12-hour trip into a 27-hours of sleep deprived chaos.
Wait, what? Are you confused?
Okay, it has been a while. So sorry. Between the soon-to-be-recounted adventures and my attempts to return to the responsibilities of daily life, blogging has sort of fallen by the wayside. Anyhow, I have a lot to recap, so in true Jeannette fashion I’m going to go in reverse and start at the end of my Semana Santa/Spring Break trip…
On the last day of my Spring Break, I woke up at the ungodly hour of 6 a.m. to make a train. The train left Munich’s central station at 7:30 and was going to take me through the Austrian Alps and into Northern Italy–specifically Verona. Was I flying out of Verona? Nope, an airport 120 kilometers to the west:  Ryanair’s “Milan” Bergamo airport.

To understand what happened next, I’m going to show you what my itinerary was supposed to look like.
7:30-12:56 Train from Munich to Verona.
13:40-15:40 Trains from Verona to Bergamo
15:40-16:30 Drink Italian coffee in Bergamo
16:30-16:45 City bus to Bergamo airport
17:30-20:30 Ryanair Flight to Santiago
20:30-21:00 Shuttle to Santiago, BED!
See a problem here? Because I didn’t. There wasn’t going to be a problem, barring the Italian trains simply neglecting to appear (apparently that does happen). However, Murphy’s Law most definitely applies to international travel and my April 1st trip was no exception…

I hopped on the German train and promptly spent a very nice morning, devouring snacks, reading, and taking pictures of the Alps as we shot through the mountains. Alps via DB train

I got to Verona about 1 p.m., which gave me plenty of time to buy my ticket to Bergamo and then get a snack while I tried to un-fog my head. Then I hopped onto the 13:40 train, settled down in a corner with my book and relaxed. For about an hour. Until the conductor showed up. And gave me a funny look. Why?
Because I was on the train to Bologna.

For the Americans among my readers, I have included a small map of Italy, so you can see that Bologna is in the Exact Opposite Direction from Milano/Bergamo area.
Once again, F*CK!
The worst part of this…I have been to Verona! I have ridden the Verona-Milan line! I know that it goes by Lake Garda! And while lazing about on the Bologna train, I didn’t see the lake, and didn’t think anything of it!

Anyhow, the conductor ever so kindly kicked me off the train, but he didn’t fine me for riding without a ticket so I call it a win. And then I had to make it BACK to Verona from South BumbleF**k of Italy, all the while knowing that I simply wasn’t going to make it to Bergamo on time.
Well…I hit Verona again, and I raced up to the Italian taxi drivers, determined to try everything. I managed to make a pair of non-English speaking drivers understand where I wanted to go, that one airport 120 kms away. And then I told them that my plane was taking off in less than 2 hours and asked if they could get me there on time. They wrinkled their foreheads and shrugged their shoulders, and then argued for a minute about how bad the traffic would be. The conclusion: “Maaayyybee”
I was less than pleased to hear this, not in the least because Italian drivers are fantastically optimistic about their driving abilities. And if they weren’t sure they could make it to Bergamo on time… And the final nail in the coffin happened as the drivers  dug out some old school booklets to figure out the price…€220! Yeah, not going to happen. I wasn’t going to pay over a month’s rent for a Maybe.

So…time to make magic happen!
Don’t get me wrong, I was really f*cking pissed. I really wanted someone to scream at, or preferably to punch. But…I had a flight to replace. And having a purpose, well that got me off my ass and down the Verona streets until I found an Internet café…well it was a casino, but they also sold Internet time.
Forty-five minutes later, I’d found the best deal I was likely to get–considering that I was looking utterly last minute for a flight from Northern Italy to the Northwest corner of Spain. It was 200€ and would get me home about 12 hours later than I’d planned. At that point, I threw down my credit card and went on autopilot.

New Plan
18:00-20:00 Train Verona to Milan
20-21:00 Shuttle to Milan Airport
23:45-1:45 Vueling Flight to Barcelona
2-5 a.m. Sleep in Barcelona Airport, I f*cking hate this place!
6-8:00 Barcelona to Santiago
8:30-9 Santiago City Shuttle
9:15 A.M. BED!

I still don’t know how I made it home. I was in an exhausted haze and just climbed on buses and trains and planes–though I was DEFINITELY checking and re-checking their destinations.

Finally, a shout-out to Lawyer Dude from  2 a.m. in the Barcelona airport: finding a friendly person to chat with was really nice after so many hours of hell. Sorry that I lost your business card somewhere between Cataluña and Galicia. I hope you found a bed to sleep in eventually–I found a nice corner of linoleum far away from the floor cleaning machine.

And middle fingers to the Barcelona security guard who had to wake me up at 5 a.m., ordering me to move because “You can’t sleep here.” Asshole, I give zero rats’ asses how bad it makes your airport look–I will sleep wherever I like!

Yeah, this one definitely goes down as my worst travel F*ck Up Ever. Does anyone have a worse one?


One thought on “Trapped in Italy! Or, How Fixing my Mistake Cost me €200

  1. Urgh…that sounds AWFUL! Glad you got home in the end though.

    I definitely don’t have a worse travel story. But I did manage to miss a train that literally left ten steps away from my apartment door, even though I left 15 minutes early to get it. Still not sure how I pulled that one off.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s