The sadistic bastards at EF Tours thought it would be fun to arrange it that we get the wake up call at 2:30 AM (that is not a typo. 2:30 A frickin' M) so we could leave the hotel on top of one of Rome's seven hills to NOT catch the flight at 6:45 am.
Did you catch that? 2:30 am to catch a flight that 18 out of the 29 of us were NOT booked on.
By the way, 2:30 am Monday in Roma is 6:30 PM Easter Sunday Arizona time. Remember that detail...
We drove through the dark not so foggy but very damp Roma night to get to the Airoporto Leonardo Da Vinci in time for our 6:45 am flight to Zurich. Funny thing, that. 18 of us were NOT in fact booked on the flight home. Somebody, either at United or EF Tours, mucked things up completely and we had no way home.
The United rep who works at the Airoporto Da Vinci wasn't there, as it was way too damn early and as a little bonus, a holiday. Some Easter Monday kinda holiday thing. How handy for us.
I have no photos. Just imagine 17 people looking really cranky and tired, buried in suitcases full of dirty clothes and Italia sweatshirts, slumped in completely and utterly comfortless airoporto chairs and on the hard hard cold floor, while our fearless leader...
went a little nuts on the phone with various clueless and slightly less than helpful people. He found the number of the head of operations for EF Tours and woke her up and informed her of our situation.
She wasn't exactly happy, but I believe Mike (our fearless leader) put the fear of God or somebody into her, because she got 4 or 5 people working to get us out of Rome.
The 11 who were on the original reservations left us, to fly to Zurich to Dulles to O'Hare to Phoenix. They didn't like to leave, and we didn't like to see them go. It was tough that at the end of the tour we had to be split up.
Eventually we got on a flight to JFK in New York. Fortunately for us, the people Mike had woken up had been busy and got us on a flight to Phoenix.
In the end, we got back to Tucson around 11 pm Monday night. Like 29 hours after that wake up call. And we beat the other 11 back by two hours or so.
Yup. We started the trip 6:30 pm Easter Sunday, and finished it at 11:30 pm Monday. 29 hours in cramped planes and crowded airports and to finish, a two hour school bus ride. Woot.
Now I am stupefied by the exhaustion and jet lag. I am going to take my daughter's lunch to school, since she forgot it, and then I am going to take a nap.