I need to start with a caveat. Timberley told me a while ago that I needed to clarify two things about our trip to Italy. First, we did actually go there. I have been sharing about all the problems with us getting tickets and whether the airline was still solvent, but in the end we did get the tickets and we did fly. The second thing she wanted me to clarify was that we did have a good time while we were there.
Our last lesson to learn about flying with Alitalia is that you have to check with the airline to confirmthe flight. While we were enjoying the run-up to Christmas at my brother’s place outside Chicago we read a disturbing news story. The Alitalia strike in Rome had left hundreds of passengers stranded in the Rome airport. People were sleeping in the airport for days unable to travel. We immediately checked on the Dec 24th flight from Chicago to Rome, two days before our travel day of Dec. 26, and learned that that flight had been cancelled. There was no information given about our flight.
Timberley called Alitalia customer service and spoke with a very Italian representative who basically wanted to know why she was bothering him. Of course our flight was leaving as scheduled. Why wouldn’t it? Strike? There is no strike in Rome. Don’t you Americans know the difference between a strike and a labor dispute? And on it went. In the end, we felt assured that our flight would leave as scheduled. This was all part of the adventure.
I should tell you a bit about how we got ready for our trip. We decided early on not to make reservations anywhere. We thought that by not making reservations we would not be tied down to any specific itinerary and would be free to travel around the country as we saw fit. Also, since it was off-season we did not think that places would be full. We packed light. We rented backpacks from the rec center at the seminary. We basically left with our plane tickets, passports, about three days worth of clothes . . . and an ATM card. We were ready for the adventure.