August 10, Fri
It is Saturday morning, August 11, 2012, and we are having our breakfast at OMNI hotel in Boston. Why? We did not fly to Rome yesterday. Our flight got cancelled.
Friday, August 10-th turns out to be an extremely intense day. As it happens, at work I had to an emergency code fix and test. Plus, my domain account got switched to a new platform, and I had to do an emergency re-pointing and re-arranging all my domains due to upgrade at Service Provider. Plus, the buyer for one of the domains suddenly woke up and deposited money on ESCROW.COM, demonstrating that he is serious about the purchase. If that is not enough, as I was driving to work in the morning on our Boston circular road – route 128 – my car Honda Accord – hit … 100,000 miles, and I had to stop and make some memorable pictures of the odometer.
|Last day of work before vacation – At 8 AM Honda Accord 2003 hits 100,000 miles||OMNI Hotel in Boston – Traveling in our own city|
Only by 12:30 I manage to escape the work and scramble back home for final preparations. Taxi has arrived 5 minutes early at 14:55. Thirteen miles later, we arrived to Logan airport at 15:22 ($55.75). We waited in Alitalia line for about an hour, and they requested to check-in out small bags based on the weight. Usually we travel compact, so all our bags are with us on the plane.
Lira had a $20 gift certificate from Brookstone for many years, and finally she used it at the airport store to buy her money belt – a skin color undergarment pouch to carry valuables. She even got $4.07 back in cash.
Current euro rate (at the time of the writing) is €1 = $1.23. My bank offered a pirate rate of €1 = $1.32 (a 7% robbery). Here at the airport the exchange rate was even worse €1 = $1.38 (an extortion of 12%). That is why I never change the money. I use either ATM or pay with a credit card. The leftovers are staying with me till the next trip.
Our flight was scheduled to leave at 17:10, but we started hearing about some delays over the intercom: 17:30, 18:30, and 19:10. Finally, around 7 PM they announced that flight is cancelled, and everyone should pick their bags at the baggage carousel.
We almost ran to the counter outside the security zone, and a huge line of people quickly began to accumulate behind our backs. They took our tickets, but left the small stubs. On these small stubs they wrote something, and we went down to collect our bags from carousel.
Next we run for a taxi stand as instructed. Apparently airlines vouchers are a major hassle for taxi drivers: drivers do not get paid (only tips), but taxi companies do. As a result, only airport dispatcher was able to summon the cabs, but it is pain for everyone. After a lot of failed attempts, we shared a cab with another couple and drove to OMNI Parker Hotel in downtown Boston. All our earthly affairs at home were completed, so we have no reason to go back home. For all intents and purposes our vacation had started no matter what.
Around 8 PM we checked in and learned that we also can use $20 per person for dinner and $10 per person for breakfast. If we go over, the charge will go to a credit card.
Dinner at OMNI Parker restaurant consisted of 9 oz. of wine and salad for Lira, and Lamb Ossobuco ($32) for Alex. Total bill with tips came out to be $66.18.
Around 10 PM we put on our shoes (as oppose to flip flops) and took an evening stroll. The highlight of the evening was a brightly-lit fruit stand right on School and Washington St., where we bought a small watermelon ($3.50) and got two bananas as a gift.
As we learned, it is not fun to cut a watermelon without a knife. But it is fun to eat it this way. We only have a bottle opener in the room, so I used a sharp end of that to make incisions on the surface and then crush the crust on the weak points.
Last thing before going to bed, I sent an email to Booking.com customer service. Usually we do not make any reservations, but we did for first 4 nights in Rome. I wrote to them, that we can make for the first night – our flight got cancelled. An immediate response was: we will reply in 48 hours.
August 11, Sat
Lira woke very early – around 7 AM. We were still overwhelmed with all the emotions and anticipations. I checked emails, and found a response from Booking.com. They informed me, that they spoke with the hotel. Hotel will keep our reservation for the remaining 3 nights, but we still would have to pay for the first missed night.
Very slowly we gathered our thoughts, and by 8:40 we were begin our descent for an overpriced breakfast. Here I ordered oatmeal ($7), and Lira ordered a fruit platter ($13) and cappuccino ($6). This time the total was $33.83. By a strange coincidence our total for both meals was exactly $40.
|We arrived to Rome very early in the morning on Sunday. It is still Saturday, August 11 23:37 in Boston|
At the front desk we learned that none of the taxis would accept Alitalia vouchers. We even called several companies ourselves. We decided to go on public transportation. We checked out at 10:26 and leave the hotel rolling our small travel gear. We walked to nearest T station. Metro called T [tee] in Boston. Here we learned that one trip in our own Boston metro cost $2.50! Could it be? Ride is more expensive than in NYC? Lira bought a card for 2 rides, and we descended into the bowels of the city. 3 quick stops on a Blue line, and we are jumping to a free shuttle for a ride to terminals.
We arrived at the airport around 11:11 and our flight was at 3PM. We were greeted by a long line again. This time the line was even longer. So we just sit on a bench and chilled. When we got rid of our bags, we learned that we are getting $15 per person – lunch voucher, and also we can get cash reimbursement for a cab ride back here. So we got a blank taxi receipt from a driver ($3), and received our dues of $28.50.
Now it was 13:46 and we needed to spend $30 for food all in one place. We had too little time for a restaurant, so we went to Starbucks, and picked a sandwich, 2 OJ(s), a fruit cup, oatmeal, a muffin, walnut bread, a pastry, and a hot tea. Somehow we got to $31.09.
Yesterday the flight was completely booked. Through the late yesterday and early today they stick people on different flights to various other companies, and today we had plenty of seats around us. I took 2 seats next to a window and Lira grabbed 3 seats in the middle isle.
Currently we are 3 hours away from Rome, and battery on the laptop shows low. See you in Rome.
Navigate through the List
- Italy 2012 August - Roma, Firenze, Napoli and between (2018/04/19)
- Aug 10-11 FRI-SAT - A two-day flight to Rome (2018/04/23)
- Aug 12 SUN - First steps in Rome - Pantheon (2018/04/27)
- Aug 13 MON - Vatican (2018/05/01)
- Aug 14 TUE - Colosseum (2018/05/05)
- Aug 15 WED - Getting the car - Starting North - Viterbo (2018/05/09)
- Aug 16 THU - Bagnoregio in Lazio, Orvieto in Umbria (2018/05/13)
- Aug 17 FRI - Orvieto - Montepulciano - Siena (2018/05/17)
- Aug 18 SAT - Siena - Villa Galileo - Firenze - Day 1 (2018/05/21)