March 13, 2012

Epic Travel Fail

Jake and I have been attempting to make some travel plans for the upcoming year. While daydreaming about potential destinations, my mind wandered to the worst travel experience of my life.

During my senior year of college, I spent a semester living abroad in Rome. In the four months that I was in Europe, I traveled to roughly ten countries and close to twenty cities. I went to Rome with two of my best friends and met some incredible people while there.


You may be wondering which part of what I just described was so epically awful... I'm getting there.

After the semester was complete, my friend, Emily, and I stayed in Europe for an extra ten days to travel to Spain and Portugal. 

I hadn't seen my family or Jake in months and was really looking forward to heading back to the States. We arrived at the airport in Rome, sad to leave but eager to taste the comfort of home. 

And then, like many Italians before them, Alitalia (our airline) went on strike. 

We were stranded in the airport, with hundreds of other travelers. Christmas was only a few days away and because of the heavy holiday travel, all of the other airline's flights were booked.

Emily and I spent two days in the airport clinging to each other for dear life. We both took our turns simultaneously sobbing and swearing. At a certain point (maybe after sleeping on a dirty marble floor), we became so delirious that all we could do was laugh. We bought some wine, and watched Six Feet Under on my ipod. 

My parents stayed up all night calling different airlines and eventually found me a flight into Atlanta. After something like 48+ hours of travel, I made it home... Where I demanded a shower and Mexican food (not necessarily in that order).


I've had some pretty awful travel experiences since, but I am fairly certain that nothing will ever top my epic trip home from Italy.

(Me, at around hour 27... Note the bottle of wine in the cart)

Update: How could I forget to mention what happened to Emily? She still lives in Terminal C of Fiumicino International Airport to this day. She made it back to Chicago safe and sound (during a blizzard) around the same time that I arrived home.

26 comments:

  1. That is craziness! I can't imagine being trapped in an airport for 2 days. Ugh!!

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  2. Bless your heart, that totally sounds like a dreadful experience!

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  3. sounds terrible. why is it that sometimes these kind of experiences make for the best stories?!

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  4. Oh my gosh!! That is crazzzzy! This kind of makes me nervous to travel now... haha. I wouldn't handle it well if I got stuck in an airport for dayssss.

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  5. Oh wow, kind of awesome story in now that it has past, but in the moment, pretty crappy! I have also spent the night at an airport, but it was empty, so it was kind of fun. Like the Breakfast Club.

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  6. Oh my gosh... that does sound like the worst trip ever. ):
    But I am glad it is a thing of the past and you're back home. hehe.
    I love mexican food too.

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  7. oh my gosh - that is pretty horrible! wow . i'm glad you made it back home :)

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  8. Love this, Brhea! And I definitely remember this time for Emily! :)

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  9. What an adventure! I completely forgot about the people sleeping on the conveyer belt.

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  10. Oh my that is so crazy. I wouldn't make it being trapped in an airport for two days! I barely make it an hour waiting for a flight. I love love love Janis! You are awesome for loving her too! I am a new follower can't wait to read more! =]
    -chelsea
    chelseajuarbe.blogspot.com

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  11. Sooo I was initially going to comment about how jealous I was about your abroad experience! But after getting to the end, not so sure that's warranted! Just kidding, haha. Even despite the unfortunate ending, it sounds like an amazing trip! And at least you got some really interesting photos from the not so pleasant part!

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  12. bahahaa - the bottle of wineeee, we would definitely be friends.

    so happy to meet you! xoxo

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  13. Oh goodness, friend, that seriously sounds awful... but also like quite the adventure. I especially appreciated your last picture and follow up of Emily. So funny!!

    Thanks for sharing! When I go to Europe I will certainly keep this in mind :)

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  14. UGh, that sounds awful. I've been to rome before, and if the airport is anywhere near as smelly as the rest of the city, I feel sorry for you.
    I feel bad for you anyway, but you know, I feel EXTRA sorry for you.

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  15. How horrible!! Fiumicino is no joke. We took a Ryan Air flight from Rome to Madrid while traveling in Italy and I thought the place was going to erupt in complete chaos. I can't imagine being stuck there during the holidays when a major airline is on strike!!! Glad to hear you survived! :)

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  16. Oh my goodness that is crazy! And awful! I sure hope you never have an experience that beats that in awfulness! No fun! Although I'm sure if Jake was with you then nothing would be quite so bad!

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  17. wow, that is so crazy!!! it is definitely NEVER fun having to just sit around at the airport for hours on end.
    hope your next travels don't come to this!
    xo TJ

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  18. oh my goodness, what a story. so glad I found your blog. I'm definitely following now. I can't wait to read more. If you get a sec, I'd love if you'd check out my blog. It's all about the adventures of a small town girl taking on the LA fashion scene. xo

    www.fashboulevard.blogspot.com

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  19. Ugh, that's awful! But on a more positive note- that last picture is hilarious, and it perfectly sums up how must've been feeling. And now you have a great story to tell! :)

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  20. That is such a crazy story! I can't imagine sleeping in an airport... well, I've done it once, even pulled out the air mattress and inflated it in the terminal. But I knew I was taking off in eight hours. I can't imagine not knowing if you'd ever leave. Crazy!

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  21. Oh my word! So glad you made it out of there before Christmas.

    I had a somewhat similar situation when I was in Florence. My friend and I were catching the last train from Florence to Venice (to catch our flight back to Ireland) before the train employees were to go on strike. Well we didn't know that the trains were named for the very last destination. We had to sprint down the terminal to catch the train.

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  22. Oh man! The summer following my senior year of high school a group of us went to Spain. It was a great experience. On the way there and back we had layovers in London. On the way back we were taking a subway to our hotel in London to spend the night...this is at roughly 11pm. Mid-trip, the subway shut down. For the night. Game over. In London. Gross! So we had to WALK [about 15 of us] to our hotel...where I spent the night with a bumblebee!!

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