Posted by: AmbleAlong | June 22, 2012

Could I Get a Side Trip to Poland With That?

Each time I set down to map out a trip, my expection is to plan it and then have everything run smoothly.  Similar to planning a wedding, this is next to impossible!

Take for instance a trip to Italy from several years back.  The plan was to combine all items into one checked bag, board the flight in St. Louis, and with just a single connecting flight touch down at Rome Fiumicino Airport.  Reality had something else entirely in mind.  Weather delays to the initial flight caused us to miss our international connection in Chicago.  There we were with carryons containing only a change of clothes each and a camera – but neither a suitcase nor additional flights to Rome that day on our planned carrier. Both of these issues were sure to delay arrival to the villa rental (not to mention missing the two-hour window to pick up keys from the proprietor).  This day was getting better by the minute!

The airline booked us on the next available flight from a partner carrier through O’Hare that would then connect us with a second flight into Rome.  It wasn’t a thrilling plan, but it was the only option at that moment…  We anticipated a rebooking on Alitalia, United, or Delta.  NOPE!  Rather the desk agent/PA announcer gleefully shared “You have just won a one-way trip to Warsaw via LOT Polish Airlines”, and added that we should be quick about it as the flight was already boarding and we would need to go through security again. 

Twenty-eight hours later, we arrived to the villa in Spoleto, Italy, sans luggage but hopeful to see our stuff soon!  We encountered some helpful people, like Elizabeth (a passenger in our aisle who spoke Polish and could translate on the flight for us) and Adolfo (our villa proprietor who tried to help us hunt down our bag) along the way, but the missing luggage was never heard from again…

Things certainly did not work out the way we had planned, but on the bright side our rocky adventure did teach us to be more flexible and roll with the changes that being “on the road” brings…  So what if we had to do laundry every day and switch between our two sets of clothes throughout the trip.  Who cares if it looks like we went everywhere in a single day due to similar clothes popping up in every picture?  We still vacationed in Italy.  Also, and perhaps more importantly, we learned that we could travel together through the good and the bad times.

As an unexpected highlight, my boyfriend proposed at the Trevi Fountain on the last evening of that trip.  So, we arrived in Italy weary travelers, yet we walked away engaged!  (Talk about ending vacation on a high note! )

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