In the spirit of cheap travel and being a student abroad Erin and I were able to plan a trip to Amsterdam for only $100. Yes, it involved a train, a bus, a flight, a bus, and another train, but it was cheap! All week we looked forward to Amsterdam. Two of our best friends were going to meet us there, and we were staying in a hostel. For some reason, I found the idea of staying at a hostel with strangers fun and exciting.
Wednesday I got an email announcing we had a snow day on Thursday. On the one hand, I was so excited and it made my day of travel the next day way more manageable. On the other, I was sort of bummed out that it was my cooking class I was missing.
Snow in Florence is not snow in Ohio and is definitely not snow in Boston. I woke up early and walked down the street to get last minute travel needs. Okay, yes, it was the mini bottles for toiletries. I’m a product girl, I cannot help it! The “major snowfall” was a light dusting. The Duomo was breathtaking with a little bit of snow covering the dome. I did not expect with weather like this any of our travel plans would be a issue.
Should We Just Take a Cab?
I was wrong. Our train was canceled and we were not given any kind of notification. I asked a woman if she knew where the bus station was, she did not. There is a bus that goes directly to the Bologna airport and I needed to find it. Approaching her again, I told her I needed to get to Bologna as soon as possible. After glancing at the board she told me the 12:15 to Venice would get me there. Better yet, I didn’t even need to buy a new ticket!
The snow had only picked up when we arrived in Bologna. We waited for the bus to the airport that ran every 11 minutes. After 25 minutes we decided the snow had impacted this too and we needed to get a cab.
Multiple times throughout our journey to the airport I looked at Erin and said “Should we just get a cab?”
The Bologna airport has no seats at the gate. We arrived with an hour before boarding. To feed Erin’s hanger we walked around the packed airport in search of food. It felt like each step I took another announcement about a canceled flight. In front of our gate people had begun to line up, as they normally do. The airline which was definitely not Ryanair had not said we were boarding, in fact, they had not said anything.
We stood in line for about 30 minutes until we were told we were boarding. 30 more minutes pass and we are still standing in line. I look up at the screen: Delayed.
WHY DID NO ONE SAY ANYTHING?
Definitely NOT Ryanair.
I begin to look up other possible flights, trains, buses, any other way to get to Amsterdam. After the second delay with no word from the airline I had a feeling the flight was not going to make it out.
I found a direct flight out of Bologna later that day. It was very expensive online but I wondered if it might be cheaper from standby. Erin stayed at the gate and I told her to inform me if anything happened. Power-walking through to the gate, my brain was racing: why had no one told us anything? Why were people calmly standing in line? What would happen if I demanded the person at the gate told me what was happening?
No one was at the gate for the other flight. The flight takes off in an hour and no one is at the gate? I thought about how well I could run this airport. As I waited I checked my phone praying Erin would text me that we were boarding finally, this time for real. Nothing came. I refused to take a night bus again after that trip t-
“BOARDING” “WE ARE BOARDING” “COME NOW”
I sprinted back to the gate and was so excited to see people scanning their tickets and walking to the plane.
Still NOT Ryanair.
Finally settled in my seat on the plane I was relieved. Earlier, I had convinced myself this flight would never happen.
“Hello ladies and gentleman welcome aboard. I am so glad we were able to get you on this flight. Before we take off we just need to check and make sure the aircraft is fully de-iced. We are in the que for this and we should be ready to take off in about 1-2 hours or so.”
I almost screamed out loud. The man next to me began to anger eat a can of nuts. 1-2 HOURS sitting on a plane that was going to be in the air for maybe an hour.
Turns out the entire airport had one machine to do this de-ice service. YUP. Definitely not Boston.
Will anyone ever look at my passport?
I got off the plane and rushed ahead in order to be in the front of the passport line, eager to make the train to Amsterdam. I continued to power walk ahead until all of a sudden I was in the airport, exit outside in front of me. How was it that no one at any time on my trip looked at my passport? Still, I am unsure.
Erin and I were able to make it to our train with time to buy snacks and charge our phones. We got into Amsterdam around 11:45 PM after leaving for Amsterdam at about 11:30 AM. Both our friends were waiting in the Hostel for us and we were able to all go get late night burgers and catch up.
A weekend filled with nothing important but spending time with some of my favorite people on Earth. A travel day from the devil is worth a weekend like that.