This week completely got away from me. Somehow I managed to go to classes, finish my homework, do a much-needed load of laundry, feed myself, and pack my bags for a weekend away.
Did I get enough sleep? Absolutely not. Did I eat Nutella for more than one meal? I would prefer not to say.
And none of that matters because I’m writing this post on my way to London.
The rain woke me up around 7AM this morning. After a hot bath, cold breakfast, and triple-checking my list for all weekend necessities: I headed off to my last class of the week. I arrived to my 12:30 Italian class carrying a backpack that was starting to feel heavy and about 10 pounds of rainwater.
I really don’t mind the rain, and thank goodness. We’ve had it 12 of the 15 days I’ve been in Rome! But let any Roman tell you, this city is completely dysfunctional once it precipitates. For the sake of commuting – I hope the rainy season ends soon.
Once class ended, I headed down to the center-city transportation hub Piazza Venezia to meet Alleigh. Moments after we found each other at the tram stop, we hailed a cab and were on our way to Ciampino airport.
I have to laugh to myself every time Alleigh and I see each other in Rome. The night before we scrutinize an exact time and place to meet, and after rehashing the plan multiple times, we blindly head to our destinations. We can’t quite communicate once were en route, so sometimes we find each other, and other times we don’t. But I’ll never get used to waiting at a bus, tram, or train station and suddenly seeing my best friend. Maybe I’ll never get used to us being here. Maybe I don’t want to.
Ciampino airport is an older hub on the southwest outskirts of Rome. It is accessible by train and bus, but our 5:00PM flight stole the luxury of time to chance it on public transit.
The cab ride was comfortable, reasonably priced, and got us to the airport on time. At this point, I’m already thrilled that I:
#1: found Alleigh in Piazza Venezia
#2: made it to the (correct) airport
So we’re doing well. Our luck continues as we quickly check in and have our visas verified, move quickly through security, and all but waltz through customs.
We even got new stamps in our passports, a highly-debated subject on the ride down. Our poor cab driver.
The airport was much smallest than I anticipated, but simple to navigate. Everything about the system translated well to our US airport norms.
And then at our gate, people started to stand in line. And then more people got behind them. I mean I don’t even know where all of these people came from. I wasn’t sure of this was part of the boarding procedure or if we were part of a really bad flash mob.
After looking at each other, looking at the line, and looking at each other again, we joined the line/flash mob. At this point it was winding in any which way the small gate area would allow.
If you ever played snake on a first-generation Nokia phone, our line looked like the excessively long, winding, and out of control snake right before your inevitable death.
Well there wasn’t a plane outside, and soon we were crammed like sardines on to buses and taken to board on the Tarmac.
Then out of no where, gail-force winds sweep the entire crowd. Suitcases get loose, a few umbrellas are swept away, and the group suddenly becomes impatient and pushy. Alleigh and I just had to laugh at all of this chaos.
Because we’re going to London!
And after a quick RyanAir flight and a long wait in customs, we’re on a 45-minute train ride taking us to Tottenham Hale, where we’ll meet my friend Mitch and let the fun begin!
Besides my slight shock that we haven’t had any major travel snags (yet), my first hour in the UK has me filled with so much excitement I may just explode. I already feel like I won’t be able to get enough.
As always, I’ll keep you posted.
Ciao, for now.