Sunday, July 14, 2013


Today and for the next several weeks I'm going to attempt a new post every day as a sort of diary entry on our holiday in Italy with an Irish bonus at the end. I wanted to build up a supply of entries before I started so I'm about a week behind in actual time. Please forgive the delay. Here goes my first entry

DAY 1, JULY 8, 2013
Why is it that travel is such a nightmare? I don't think this is true for everyone but for us it's always everything at the last minute even with a prepared schedule and all the reservations already made in advance. You'd think we could be a little more like the VanTrapp family; whistles blow, everyone runs down lining up by either by height or age, clothes pressed and bags packed. Off we'd march to the car with luggage measured to fit snugly into the boot of the car and well under the 62" width/length/depth requirement for the assigned airline. You'd think that since we'd been planning this trip for over six months that everything would be in its proper place, anxiety packed in a file cabinet at home, tucked neatly away and not allowed to reopen until our return. It's just not us.
Scheduled departure: 9:30am, allowing more than enough time to do the two plus hour drive to Chicago O'Hare, drop the car off at the car park and check in for a 3:50pm departure on Aer Lingus to Dublin with an hour and half layover and then a connecting flight to Rome.
Actual departure: 10:46am and we still had to drop the dog off at my sister's and get gas before we could get on the road. No one had checked the road conditions which much to our dismay were under heavy construction almost all the way from the Wisconsin/Illinois border or thought about it being the Monday after the Fourth of July holiday and all the Chicagoans taking that extra day off were now plugging the roads with even more cars than usual. This wasn't helping with all that anxiety free travel that was a part of our original plan. Somehow we managed to slide into O'Hare with just enough time to drop the car off and get shuttled over to the Aer Lingus terminal before our plane departed without us.
We had barely been able to squeak out the funds for the ultimate economy airline tickets we purchased on one of those discount online sites so we knew we were going to be relegated to a relatively uncomfortable plane ride once we made it onto the plane. In a last minute bit of panic we attempt to bargain with the airline for a more accommodating travel experience. At first the phone reservationist tried to sell us seats in what they called the maternity row. She told us the seats were a little more spacious but who in their right mind is going to pay extra to do a seven hour flight seated in a row with nursing mothers and their screaming off-spring?
We settled on paying an extra $30 per ticket upgrade that was supposed to give us a slightly better seating situation just behind the business class travelers. This would put us in viewing distance of luxury where we were given the fantasy of high-roller travel but not the reality. My one caveat was that the seats were not in front of an exit aisle; you know the seats that don't recline so in case of a crash you aren't impeding the egress of limbless burning passengers trying to crawl out of a burning plane. She assured me that our seats were not in front of an exit row. What she didn't know or sadistically kept from us was that our seats were in front of a central lavatory with our backs up against a firm unforgiving wall. We sat like soldiers for seven hours our necks cramping in contorted positions trying to find comfort on the ride from Chicago to Dublin all at a $30 per passenger upgrade. How stupid was that?

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