My best friend and travel buddy is getting married! And in true Eliza fashion, she and her husband planned a destination wedding.
Most of my followers know that Eliza has been my travel buddy since we were 17. But we’ve been friends since the 4th grade.
I have a super embarrassing photo of the two of us from 5th grade, but she’d kill me if I posted it. So this will have to suffice.
We have a lot of history and have shared many great memories throughout the years. We have countless inside jokes. And can communicate entire sentences to one another with just a single look.
I could get super deep and mushy here, but I digress. Eliza knows exactly how much she means to me. I couldn’t possibly put it all in words.
I’m so happy she found someone who adores her and knows he hit the jackpot. I never even had to give him the obligatory best friend threat, because it was clear to me from the beginning he wasn’t playing around with her.
Pleasantries aside, today has been an absolute nightmare. Almost everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong.
Our original itinerary was NY to Madrid and then Madrid to Rome. We were supposed to arrive in Rome at 13:55. But we didn’t actually get here until 19:15. Yup, nearly a 6 hour delay. Let me explain.
Our flight to Madrid landed at 10:08 and our departing flight to Rome was at 11:25. We had 1 hour and 17 minutes to get off the plane, get through customs to get our passports stamped, get to the terminal on the opposite side of the airport via internal metro, and get through Spanish TSA. Yeah, we missed the plane by 2 minutes. And we SPRINTED.
A handful of others from our flight met the same fate. One couple in particular C and M, latched themselves to us because they didn’t speak Spanish well. They were actually heading to their honeymoon.
We waited over 2 hours in line to speak to customer service to have the situation rectified. The two women we spoke to were in no way helpful. They said plenty of others made the connecting flight so we should have too. Even after Eliza pleaded with them and explained she’s traveling to her wedding, they did not help. We had to go to a supervisor in the front of the airport. Meaning we had to exit and re-enter where you checkin for your flights. We waited over an hour to get to the other Iberia Airlines customer service desk. At that point I’d already asked my mom to put a prayer through for us! We pleaded with the gentleman and explained the situation. And thank GOD this man showed us mercy and got us on the next two flights with no charge! He put the bride and groom on a 15:55 flight and the rest of us (mom, dad, brother, sister in law) on a 17:00 flight. But we actually ended up getting to Rome at the same time because Jeremy and Eliza’s flight was delayed by 45 minutes due to the AC being broken.
The only upside to this delay was that I got to revive some amazing memories in Madrid’s airport. As you may recall, Spain was my first international trip. And walking off the plane in Madrid were my first steps in foreign land. We had some amazing jamón and made it to our gate ON TIME.
The only snag was with our luggage. We thought our checked bags would be on our new planes. And we waited and waited at the baggage claim for them. But it turns out they made it on the original flight, and they were waiting for us in lost and found. Thank God!
We met up with the rest of our party, some folks who’d arrived much earlier in the day. And then we waited for nearly 2 hours to get our rental vans to then drive the 2.5 hours to the wedding venue. Which is where we’re staying for the weekend.
The funny part is this was only some of the travel drama from today!
One group missed their flight entirely. The departure time was moved up several hours and they didn’t see the notification until after arriving at the airport. They were rebooked.
One of our original group members is not a US passport holder and did not apply for a visa to go to Italy. In his defense, he’s never traveled to Europe before. He couldn’t go.
In another travel group, one person’s name was misarranged on the boarding pass and he nearly couldn’t get on the plane.
One couple was driving around for hours and couldn’t locate the wedding venue.
What’s a wedding without drama?
Tomorrow is not the big day. But we have a day trip planned.
Cheers until then!