Getting There

WOW! I used to think that after flying to Tallahassee alone I could do anything, but now that I’ve traveled to ITALY alone (partially) I know I can do anything.

The first of my three flights that would take me to Florence, Italy was scheduled for 5:55 pm Sunday. Of course, my parents and I got there 2 hours early to check-in and be stress-free. Well neither of those things happened. When trying to check in to my flight, we were told there were problems with my connecting flights on my way home (in MAY) and for some reason they couldn’t print a ticket. Long story short we waited at the front desk for almost 2 hours on hold with so many different people from so many different airlines to get my ticket. By 5:20 my friends had already boarded the plane and I wasn’t even through security! They finally just printed out a receipt for my final connecting flight and told me I had to get the ticket at the Barcelona airport. I said O.K, kissed mom & dad, and ran through security and to the terminal, where it was just like from any movie and the door was closing and I was the last one let on. I found my seat in the middle of 2 older men and sat down in a complete fluster, not at all ready for the long journey ahead of me. Looking back, I am kind of glad it was so rushed only because I had no time at all to be sad about leaving. Once we were headed to London I was absolutely PUMPED.

Boston > London

This flight was scheduled to be 6 hrs and 20 mins. but ended up only taking a little over 5 hours. I watched the majority of a season of 30 Rock  and woke up the man to my left a couple times from laughing out loud, mainly because Liz Lemon was wearing a Chip Clip in her hair, and I just thought it was hilarious and couldn’t get over it. I got the pasta option dinner but didn’t eat the ravioli, instead just had some salad and pocketed my carrot cake for later.

London > Barcelona

Once we got to London I was all happy because the longest flight was over with and I was with my friend Ally for the rest of the way. However, once we went through a round of security (and they didn’t stamp my passport, which I was mad about!) we realized we weren’t on the same flight. My flight was already boarding (!) and Ally’s didn’t leave for another hour and a half! We said we’d meet up in Barcelona and I sprinted down three flights of stairs onto a terminal train and then up more stairs. Once again, I made it to the gate to be the last one let on. Luckily, however, the plane was practically empty and I got a whole row to myself. As soon as we took off I put up all the arm rests and laid across the seats. A nice flight attendant brought me over a blanket and pillow and I was out for the 2 hour trip. I woke up to the pilot saying “we will be landing in 10 minutes” so I sat right up and buckled up and immediately felt a wave of nausea and a splitting headache. I had to breathe into the paper bag thats always given out and the same flight attendant sat with me and rubbed my back. EMBARRASSING! I’m supposed to be a mature twenty-something-year-old traveling the world. Oh well, it made me feel better.

Barcelona > Florence

The Barcelona airport was completely empty when I arrived. No one else was going to a connecting flight, which I didn’t know, so I followed everyone to the EXIT (I saw no signs in English, dad!) but at least got my passport stamped. Once I was outside I knew I did something wrong and went back in just wandering alone in the halls for 20 minutes scared, nervous, worried, and upset. No one was speaking English! Somehow I found some security and just went through it and on the other side was the real airport with all the normal hustle and bustle one would expect. I asked three people where the “Vueling Airlines” desk was before I found it, and once I made it there – “no hablo ingles”. Cool. I tried to just point and give her my “receipt” ticket so she could give me the real thing. She looked at it then called someone and it was a flashback to 12 hours earlier when I stood waiting on hold for so long and almost missed my flight (and that was with my parents calling the shots and in ENGLISH). I knew deep down that I was going to be stranded in Barcelona the rest of my life. Thankfully, she got off the phone after about 15 minutes, probably because she saw I was crying, and gave me a ticket and waved me along. Finally, something went my way. It was three hours until my next flight and I had to get some food & water in my system, because I was still feeling queasy and gross from that last flight. My first euros purchase was an Evian water bottle and a bag of Lays Original – how exciting! Then I waited about an hour and finally Ally met me at the gate and I was no longer alone. The flight to Florence was quick and painless and I lucked out again with an empty row. Taking off from Barcelona was so pretty and when I saw the Swiss Alps it was the first time I truly realized what “a picture doesn’t do it justice” meant. It was absolutely breath-taking and indescribable.

I was on cloud 9 when we landed in Florence, but then found out it was raining (ew) and that they lost my luggage! I really shouldn’t have been shocked after the way my trip started out. Hopefully my bag will be here by tomorrow or the next day, and I do have enough stuff to hold me until then, but not much longer so let’s keep out fingers crossed it comes soon!

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