Thursday, October 8, 2009

Italy Trip - Getting There


OK, I'm finally back blogging.  I'm still in Italy but I finally have some time to sit down and blog a little bit.  My intention was to blog along the way but there was a little hiccup with that plan.  Internet access has been spotty and I was way busier with wedding stuff than I thought I would be.  I'm going to try and catch up in the next few days but we will see.  I have a week left to go in my vacation and the second half is probably as jammed packed as the first.

Getting to Italy was an adventure by itself.  We had booked a flight to Naples Italy with stops in Seattle and in Paris.  The stop in Seattle was fortuitous because I got to visit Rick and make a stop at one of my old favorites Sushi Land.  Great to see Rick, not so great to go to Sushi Land.  Maybe I've been away too long or maybe something has really changed, but it just wasn't like I remembered it.  The pieces were smaller and the fish not as fresh.  Oh well.  After stuffing myself with fish and saying goodbye to Rick, we were on our way to Paris.  It was a lovely twelve hour flight.  I slept some and then watched The Hangover on the plane.  I'm usually not a fan of these types of movie but perhaps my low expectations and my being trapped on a plane with no choices made it entertaining. 

After departing this flight, this is where the fun really began.  All I have to say is the Paris airport probably needs to be rethought.  I had two hours to get to my connecting flight.  I barely made it.  First, I had to walk what seemed like an eternity to Passport Control.  I walked so long I seriously thought they were going to make me walk the rest of the way to Italy.  After getting through Passport Control, I had to walk again through security.  This was very odd to me.  Security in Paris was odd.  They asked for our passports (not odd) but then made me empty out my camera bag.  Then they stopped my (then) fiancee and checked all her stuff again.  Then they asked for her passport again.  So now she has had her passport asked for three different times. 

By this time, we are cutting it pretty close to the time.  But my fiancee is extremely hungry and thirsty so she needs to stop for some food and water.  As we approach the gate she stops at a small cafe.  I can see our plane boarding and I'm worried because we have quite a bit of carry on and I want to be sure I can get a spot.  She gets her food and water and we rush to the plane only to be once again be asked for our passport!  This is now four times since coming into Paris that she has had to produce her passport.

When we finally reach Italy we land in an airport where there they make you exit onto the runway before reaching the terminal.  Just outside is a bus waiting to take us to the terminal.  So we board the bus and, I'm not exaggerating, the bus drives 20 yards to the terminal.  It was kind of crazy.  We wait for our bags, which comes really fast, and then look for some sort of official looking person to either ask us about our bags or to check our passports.  Neither happens.  When you compare that to the Paris experience you can see why we were quite confused.

At this point, my fiancee is pretty ill and is in no mood to get on a bus for an hour.  So we sit in the Naples airport with all of our stuff for about two hours until she feels well enough to get on the bus.   She is not getting much better but time is running out for us to get to where we need so she muscles up some courage and we get on the bus run by CURRERI Viaggi .  It is a private company who specializes in making the trip between Sorrento and Naples.  However, hen we get to the bus, the driver tells us he can not take us all the way to Sorrento, he can only take us part of the way.  There is some stupid bike event or something blocking all the roads to Sorrento.  Seriously, they stop all the traffic going into a city for one stupid event?  What am I getting myself into?  Looking back, I kind of doubt they did; I think the bus driver was just being lazy and not wanting to drive us the whole way (we were the only people on the bus). 

The driver drops us off at a train station, the Circumvesuviana, close to Sorrento but still a 15 minute ride.  Here we are, tired and weary from our long drop, and still needing to slog through the local train to get where we need to be.  To make matters worse, we have no idea where the hotel is as soon as we get there.  It could be on the other side of town for all we know.  When we finally arrive Sorrento much to our delight, the hotel is just minutes away from the station.  We were REALLY lucky because most of the hotels are not that close.  Most of them are quite far away.  We get to our hotel room, which is quite small but typical of European hotels, and just finally relax.  We shower and then go get a quick bite to eat in town (the above picture is of the main Sorrento square).  More of Sorrento in the next post. 

All of this reminded me of why I really hate to travel sometimes.  It wears on you.  Things are never as easy as they should be and you are usually not as comfortable as you are at home.  This is magnified when you are in a foreign country where you don't really speak the language.  All in all, it was an ordeal to get to Italy (and every time we have had to move) but so far, a great trip.  More on that in the next post.

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