On Not Getting to Rome, or Italy.
In January 2012 I had a trip booked to go to Rome, Italy. I was so very excited, some of my favourite things come from Italy- pizza, pasta, Peroni! I was just going for the weekend, staying at The Yellow. And was looking forward to visiting attractions like The Colloseum, the Pantheon, The Forum, Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps.
As a teenager, I worked in an Italy restaurant, whilst living in Fuerteventura. It wasn't one of those faux- Italian restaurant's either. My boss and his wife were from Italy, and working with them, I understood Italian quicker than I understood Spanish, though never got as far as being able to speak Italian (tho' I can read a little- mostly food related). I was fascinated with Italy, and the food and the wine, ever since I worked for them.
The trip was costing me almost nothing, with my train fare to the airport, flights and accommodation, I was spending £85! Nothing really, I had managed to wangle a good price with the hostel I was staying in because it was low season, right after Christmas, and one of the reasons I wanted to go then was because in January I might have half a chance of seeing everything without queuing for hours on end.
Then it happened. That one thing that manages to bring the entire country to a stand still. Something so natural, that happens in so many other places- where there is much more of it and they cope much better than we do. It snowed. As an owner of a scooter, I already detest snow. It is nigh on impossible to ride around on two wheels in snow or on ice. Trust me, I spent most of January face- planting various pieces of tarmac this year. Yet, the thing I hate most is the fact that for some reason when we have barely a covering of snow- the whole country grounds to a halt.
Which is precisely what happened that day. First my train got cancelled because of the snow, then, several hours later (hitting on the time I should have been arriving at the airport) my flight got cancelled. The lovely people at The Yellow didn't charge me for my misfortune, and I spent a weekend off work in my local pub wishing I was in Italy...
If nothing else, I learnt that travel insurance is absolutely essential, and I did have it. I was also very lucky that First Great Western refunded my unused ticket. I was slightly worried when my flight was cancelled that I'd lose my money, as I'd booked with Easyjet, but I can't commend them enough. As soon as my flight was cancelled, they gave me the option of rebooking or a refund, and then refunded my return leg as well. The money landed in my account within 10 days (though I think it can take up to 2 'work' weeks).
So, as it stands, I haven't got to Italy, and whilst I really want to I'm not sure it is going to happen this year. My scooter conked out on me last month and needing over £500 worth of repairs, I'm not sure my funds stretch to an Italian adventure this year, on top of the other trips I've already got booked.