Saturday, September 6, 2014

Venice! No Bologna!

Arrive at the Istanbul airport in plenty of time for our 10:30 flight from Istanbul to Venice. Will more people speak English in Italy than in Turkey? (Mmmm, and I am the one who has " Visit Country that does not speak English" on my Bucket List.)

We already have our boarding passes and line up to check baggage. When it is our turn the woman looks at our tickets, shakes her head, types for a while, and hands them back to us. "No Venice. New ticket. Go behind B.

"What do you mean? We have Turkish Airline tickets to Venice." She has no more English words for us.

We go behind B and snake again through the line. The young man takes our boarding pass and says,

"No Venice. Bologna? 
I say "No Bologna. VENICE." 
He says. "Impossible."
"But Turkish Airlines sold us tickets from Istanbul to Venice."
"No problem with Turkish Airlines . . . but Venice."
Carol and I both demand "What is the PROBLEM with Venice?



But not EVERY city. Just the ones tourists fly to.
We have reservations at a hotel in Venice and reservations for the train from Venice to Florence and then Rome.

"Can you fly us to Florence? To Rome?"
"No. Strike."

At the next counter is an Italian couple trying to get home. They want Bologna, not Venice. But their attendant won't offer Bologna. Something is odd here.

Our attendant starts naming Italian cities to which we can fly, including Bologna. I say we want to leave TODAY and ask which city is close to Venice or Florence.  He knows as much about Italy as I do. He asks the neighboring attendant about the geography of Italy as I try to  quickly find an Italy map on my iPad. Neither know where in Italy any of the open airports are located. 

I pull the Italian gentleman to my counter.
"Which of the cities he names is close to Venice or Florence?"
The attendant reads the names and the Italian listens. But as he reads, some of the named cities suddenly announce a strike too.
"Milano or ???
A map of Italy comes up on my screen. I show my map to the Italian gentleman and he quickly points to Milan and says " Milano. Milano."

So we get new airline tickets to Milan for 3 pm.  5 hours to wait and hope the airport workers of Milan don't decide to strike.  They don't list a gate for our flight so we look for a seat in a very crowded hot un-airconditioned airport in Turkey.

I look at my Italy map and see that Bologna is closer to both Venice and Florence.  Carol reminds me that all flights to Bologna from Istanbul leave late tomorrow. (More time for their airport workers to strike!)

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