Italy: the first 34 hours

Taking time to write about our trip to Italy!  So those who have not heard and are curious about what we did and how we got around can read about our travels if they would like. Plus, it's bella Italia!  

Day 1: Our traveling day

Plan: Stay overnight in Englewood, drive to the Greyhound station in the early wee hours of the morning, ride to Chicago, get an Uber from the Chicago Greyhound station to the Chicago airport, get on our direct flight to Roma.

Reality: Obviously it was easy enough to stay in Englewood and prepare for everything the day and night before.  We got up at about 3am to get there about 3:45, even though we thought the bus didn't leave until 4:20 am.  We got there so early because on the ticket it says to get there 30 minutes before the bus left.  So we get there and the building isn't even open. Okaaayy. Well, we will just sit over there and wait... for 5 minutes, 15 minutes, someone is in the building at this point, but the doors are still locked... 20 minutes, 25 minutes, and a guy with keys walks up and goes in only to tell us before going in that it opened at 4, but the first bus doesn't leave until 4:50... 
The 4:20 time on our ticket was the boarding time, not the actual time the bus left. Heh, whoops. So we're there super early (didn't plan on getting that much sleep anyway..).

Sat inside waiting and at 4:55 we receive news that the bus is running late (well duh. We were supposed to leave 5 minutes ago...). Then again about 5:25, "the bus won't arrive until 7am," which would get us to the airport at about 1pm, only 2 hours before our flight.  Well, it could still be enough time right?  In the meantime, we argued over maybe finding another way to Chicago... only to have the bus show up literally 5 minutes later (thank god). 

*Phew.  We will still be on time.  Less worried now, I am able to catch some sleep on the bus.  We get to Chicago just fine, grab an Uber and head to the airport. Everything goes smoothly, we've checked in, just need to check baggage and go through security. 

Baggage check lady #1: Our belt is down, you are going to have to take your bags through security.
Baggage check ladies #2 and 3: What? We've never done that before. 
#1: Yeah we have -as she hands us back our luggage.
(Note: Not exactly what she said, but something around what we understood her to mean.  She might have added something else, but was definitely not very descriptive or helpful in telling us exactly where we needed to take our luggage.  Which turned about to be a few machines in the opposite direction of security.  Where you can throw your checked baggage in so they can take it and put it on the planes).

Us: thinking, okay... this is weird, but we have the tags, so maybe there is somewhere else to put them once we get over there.  
Go through security but not really figuring out what is going on.  Of course they stop our bags and we end up throwing out sunscreen, shaving cream, and a bottle of pop.
Luckily we didn't have anything too important in our bags. So that was fun. 

Get to our gate with an hour left before the flight leaves, so we grab some food and before we know it, we're on the plane ready to go! And the 9 hour flight goes as any long flight does-on and off sleeping, eating free food, and watching movies. 

Then, after a long "night" (for Italy time that is), we land in Rome at 7:00am on Wednesday (which is 1:00am EST).

Luckily directions in Rome are decently easy to follow (especially considering we had them all written out for us by our fabulous and sarcastic *tour guide).  Found a shuttle from the plane to the train, took a train to get to a bus, and took a bus to get to our AirBnB stop.  But considering we got to our stop at about 9am, we had 2 hours to kill before we could check in.  Rather than walking all around the city with our luggage, we found a small cafe to get some brunch and coffee.  It was a lovely first stop in the city and it gave us time to get acquainted with our agenda, wake up some, and look up walking directions.  The cappuccinos and panini and fruit were just what we needed before our first day trek. 

Our AirBnB was only supposed to be 10 minutes away.  It wasn't until we started walking that we realized there was a whole triangle patch that was labeled with the same street name (after we walked around the whole block twice and another block once).  Then it took us another time around to find the address-after we stopped at another cafe for water and free wifi to see if our host had messaged us). Yay! we thought.  Until we realized that the one address held 12 apartments. We never got an apartment number.  So the only thing left to do was knock on every door to see if we could find our host...and after all that, we still didn't know which one it was.  Lo and behold I knocked on a door Tim already thought wasn't ours since he saw a child walk into it (though I didn't know that).  So I knocked and a kid answered.  This was the place! It was the cleaning lady and her daughter that were there waiting for us/still cleaning the place. Finally! Air conditioning already felt like bliss, but we were in Italy with a full day ahead of us! And we couldn't wait to get started...

*tour guide: our travel planner and awesome friend, Cristina


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