True to form, the trip started off wrong. Rest easy, my faithful followers. I have not turned my back on my traveling faux pas.
And one would think that this trip would have been easy. I just traveled to Sicily six weeks ago which required a bus trip to the airport in Rome from the station two blocks from my house. All I needed to do was replicate my last trip to Rome.
But no. I got impatient. The bus to Rome was to arrive at 2:10 p.m. At 2:11, I got antsy. I kid you not. 2:11. I looked at my ticket again and misread what I saw. I thought the ticket said the bus would pick me up at the piazza on Viale Mazzini, not the train station. I panicked and began to hot-foot it to Mazzini.
I got to the piazza and looked at the ticket again. I then realized that I was looking at the address for the travel agency. I had been correct all along. I trekked back to the station and the bus had come and gone.
Furious, I immediately began doing what I do best—berate myself. Yet, in a testament to my tremendous emotional growth, I only did so for about five minutes.
I walked back to the travel agency. Since it was after 1:00 p.m., it was closed for the afternoon, of course. I would have to wait until 5:30 p.m. to buy another ticket. The next bus out of Alba Adriatica for Rome Fiumicino Airport was 1:10 a.m.
At 5:30 p.m. I sheepishly crawled into the office of the travel agency and explained to the agent my dilemma. Beating my breast, I lamented to her what a horrible representation I was for all Americans. She laughed and printed up another ticket for 1:10 a.m.
A positive sidebar—because I ultimately left so late, I did not need the hotel room I had reserved near the airport. I wound up arriving at Fiumicino Airport around 5:00 a.m., only four and a half hours before the flight departure. So, I spent an extra $25 for another ticket (they wouldn’t credit the first one) but had a savings of $80 for the hotel and shuttle I didn’t use. Net gain: $55. How much are Google shares??
With that, I sat on an uncrowded bus and tried to sleep. It was impossible. We arrived at the airport and I had several hours to kill. I hadn’t eaten since 9:00 p.m. so I wasn’t too hungry. I just logged onto the free wifi and surfed the Net for a few hours.
The flight to Krakow seemed to go quickly. Rather than the two hours my ticket indicated, we arrived after an hour and a half. I had the directions to the flat I’m renting and they were flawless. The only problem was that my host got a job interview at the last minute. He told me that if I didn’t arrive by 1:20 p.m., I’d have to wait until 4:00 when he returns.
Well, I arrived at 1:44 p.m. With nothing to do and nowhere to go, I popped into a tiny grocery at street level of the building. I bought a pint of grapefruit juice, a cracked wheat roll, a package of ham and a package of Gouda.
I walked outside expecting to find some place to sit down to eat. Nothing. Not a bench, not a stone wall. Nothing. I walked for blocks carrying my pint of grapefruit juice, cracked wheat roll, package of ham and package of Gouda while pulling my carry-on behind me.
After twenty minutes I sat on someone’s front steps to enjoy my pint of grapefruit juice, cracked wheat roll, package of ham and package of Gouda. I hadn’t eaten in seventeen hours and hadn’t slept in twenty-nine hours. Once that food hit my stomach, I was ready for a nap.
So here I am now. Sitting in the café of a gas station. I cannot find a SIM card to fit into my iPhone so I have no Internet. I’ve just downed a traditional latte from a mechanical latte maker. In fifteen minutes my host should be returning and I think I’ll go straight to bed and upload this tomorrow.
I had hoped to use today as an opportunity to charge around Krakow and get the lay of the land. Not gonna happen. Will have to be tomorrow.