20sb Blog Swap: An Italian Catastrophe

As it is blog swap time and Phampants is running a series on travel, I thought I’d offer a little insight into the little known side of Dating is My Hobby.  You can find his post on my blog.

The year after I graduated college I moved to Europe to teach English. While there, I traveled practically every weekend and experienced my share of cathedrals, roman ruins, art galleries and chocolate-filled pastry. When my 23rd birthday rolled around I decided I wanted to go off the beaten path and I decided to chase one my passions – Italian food—to the origin. Cinque Terre, a collection of five villages on the western coast of Italy was chosen. It had it all—hiking, picturesque countryside, the birth place of pesto, and its own famous local white wine! I couldn’t wait to leave.

Italy 3

The sunny April morning of our flight, my boyfriend and I packed up our backpacks and caught a cab to the train station, a bus from the train station to the airport, and 2 hours later we were waiting to check in. I dug through my backpack…only to find that I had forgotten my passport. I tried to haggle in Spanish to let me on (I had an official national ID after all) but it was to no avail. 3 hours and $400 later, I had to book new tickets into Rome—a city 4 hours away from Cinque Terre v. 2 from Milan. Fun. Also, we had to go BACK HOME to get the passport and do the whole journey the next morning.

Twelve hours later, I was back at the airport, passport in hand and ready to travel. While waiting to get on the flight, I started to feel funny. I got on and fell asleep immediately. Within an hour I had a splitting headache, was numb on the left side of my body, and couldn’t speak. Then I became the annoying person who is vomiting into everyone else’s barf bags until we landed. (I also managed to get it all over myself too. Adorable, really.) Once we landed I was carted off to the hospital at the Roman airport. No one spoke English, so my boyfriend tried to explain my symptoms in Spanish hoping our romance languages would understand each other. I was half passed-out on an exam table when I was rolled over and given a shot of some unknown medicine in my butt. They determined I wasn’t having a stroke as we assumed, but I should stay for observation. Two hours later, I was woken up with some apple juice and miraculously felt fine. I paid the grand $32 bill (Um in America that would be— $10,000?) and left.

Italy wine sign

Minor problem. We had hotel reservations in Cinque Terre and not in Rome. I called my cousin living in Switzerland who called my second cousin who used to live in Italy, who called her ex-boyfriend who lived in Rome, who called his friend, to meet with us. I was under the assumption that at midnight this guy assumed we needed a place to sleep—he thought we were looking to tour the city. Minor miscommunication. We tried to vie for a place to crash, but as all good 30-something Italian men, he lived at home and his mother would not tolerate 2 Americans on the couch. On my 23rd birthday I woke up in a crummy Roman hostel, but it was a gorgeous day and coffee never tasted so good.

The next few days in Cinque Terre were pesto and mozzarella filled, with gorgeous views and plenty of hiking. The last night my boyfriend and I decided to splurge on a big dinner out and as luck would have it, the stuffed mussels weren’t quite fresh, and I ended up with food poisoning that night, and threw up the whole way home back to Spain…but that’s another story…

Italy 5

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