Dr. Walt's Health Blog

Trip to Italy – Days #1 and 2 – Flight Nightmares

Trip to Italy – Days #1 and 2 – Flight Nightmares

Okay, so you don’t know anyone whose plane to Europe was canceled due to the volcanic ash … well now you do!

Our alarm woke us from a deep, deep slumber at 0215 on Saturady, May 8th, and were in our car heading to DIA by 0300. Boy, the interstate is empty at this time of day.

Our 0600 flight to Washington Dulles went without a hitch, and our upgraded first class seats were a delightful luxury.

However, when we arrived in DC, we found out our flight to Rome was canceled due to the volcanic ash spreading across the continent.

But, we found an extremely bright lining to the change in our travel plans. Dulles has a “Five Guys Hamburger .” We had a late but delectable lunch – even if saturated-fat soaked!

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If you’ve never had one – Five Guys gives In-And-Out a run for their money.

While sitting at Dulles, I was able to update our monthly family newsletter – which has news on several articles I had published this month, and updates on a couple of my new books — including my second novel, which will be out in June.

I LOVE this cover and think the publisher did a great job with it.

Then, we learned they had rebooked us through Brussels to Rome. We were to get in a bit later (today, May 9th) Sunday, but we thought, Lord willing, we’ll still be there for Mother’s Day.

When we were getting ready to take off to Brussels, they announced the flight was to take 1 1/2 hours longer as they would have had to fly over the polar cap due to the volcano.

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Not actually our plane (but then, you knew that)

We were just praying the airport in Rome would be open the next day, as otherwise, it would have meant staying overnight in Brussels or taking a train to Rome.

Well, neither was to be the case.

Although the flight to Brussels took off on time, after a little time in the air I noticed we were flying in circles.

Never a good sign. Here are the comments I posted on FaceBook, as they happened:

  • We are returning to Dulles after blowing a tire on take off a couple of hours ago – and then flying around burning and dumping fuel for the last two hours. Prayers appreciated these next few minutes.
  • Thanks for the prayers. We landed safely and now have scores of firetrucks and emergency vehicles racing towards us. Looks like a Mel Gibson / Danny Glover movie scene.

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Hmm … were they drawing lots before approaching the plane?

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The view of emergency vehicles from the cockpit.

  • Once the emergency crews finish inspecting us, they’ll tow us to the terminal. Weird seeing firetrucks with headlights on the side driving around and inspecting us.

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Not want you want to see outside your plane window!

  • They must have been expecting worse, as there is a line of ambulances waiting on a nearby runway. I guess they don’t know how my friends can pray!!!
  • Pilot says we had two tires that blew. The mechanics want to change the tires on the tarmac which will take at least an hour, so the pilot is serving drinks to all who want.
  • The large people mover just arrived at the plane. We’ll deplane in a moment and head back to the terminal at Dulles to learn what plans they have for us.
  • We’re in the terminal at Dulles, and they’re talking about us taking another plane tonight. We may get to Rome yet!
  • Oh dear! Our flight to Europe tonight was canceled. So, off to an airport hotel for the night, then hopefully leave for Rome tomorrow with a Tuesday arrival.

Finally … we arrived at the hotel at midnight after a 21 hour day. We slept great after our harrowing first day of vacation.

Today, Sunday (5/9) Barb and I had Mother’s Day breakfast at the Marriott Dulles and will be spending the afternoon in the International First Class Lounge at the Dulles Marriott (not a bad place to spend an afternoon).

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Nice grub!

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Smokin’ hot babe!

Well, they say they have us re-booked on a direct flight this evening.

Rome, hoping to see you Monday morning.

Here’s the entire series:

Dr. Walt and Barb’s Italian Adventure – May 8-25, 2010

If you’ve ever wanted to go to Italy (or even if you have in the past), you’ll want to come along with us and enjoy the sites, sounds, food, and art.

Hopefully, this blog will stimulate you to put visiting these amazing cities on your to-do list. Just click on any of the days or cities you want to visit with us.

  • Days #1 and 2 – Flight Nightmares
    • Okay, so you think you don’t know anyone whose plane to Europe was canceled due to the volcanic ash … or who were on another plane that blew two tires on take off and had to make an emergency landing … well now you do!
  • Day #3 – Rome
    • Rome and the Vatican Museum. Come visit the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, and Michelangelo’s Pieta.
  • Day #4 – Venice
    • The tourists call it ‘Venice,’ the Italians call it ‘Venezia,’ while the Venetians call it ‘Venexia.’ Barb and I call it romantic and captivating. Come on an afternoon and evening stroll and be quickly drawn into her whimsical wonderment … right to the Rialto Bridge.
  • Day #5 – Venice
    • We were awakened by the sound of an accordion and an operatic voice, singing to a couple taking a romantic ride in a gondola in the canal just outside our hotel window. Then off to Piazza San Marco, St. Mark’s Basilica, the Bridge of Sighs, and an amazing discovery.
  • Day #6 – Venice to Cinque Terre
    • We spent the day traveling to the Cinque Terre. If you’ve never heard of it, you’ll want to visit the next two days with us.
  • Day #7 – Cinque Terre Day #1
    • We awoke this morning to throw open our shutters and let in the fresh sea air and the sound of the waves crashing on the shore. The music of small children laughing in the square, and the smell of fresh-baked bread from the bar below us wafted up and in our window. Today we explored Riomaggiore, the ‘Via dell’Amore,’ Manarola, and Corniglia. Come along with us.
  • Day #8 – Cinque Terre Day #2
    • Cinque Terre is a remote mountainous chunk of the Italian riveria that is called “the traffic-free, lowbrow, underappreciated alternative to the French Riveria … just sun, sea, sand (pebbles), wine, and pure, unadulterated Italy … exploring, hiking, shopping, and evening romance in one of God’s great gifts to tourism.” Join us as we visit Monterossa.
  • Day #9 – Florence Day #1
    • A trip by Carrara (home of the world famous marble), Pisa (home of the world famous tower), and then to Florence for quick visits to the Duomo and the Baptistery to see Ghiberti’s bronze doors. And, it was a hot night in Florence.
  • Day #10 – Florence Day #2
    • Come visit the Oltrarno area, to the south of the Arno River, to get a sense of rustic, old Florence. Then, off to the Santa Croce Basilica and the amazing tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo, Dante, and Machiavelli.
  • Day #11 – Florence Day #3
    • The Uffizi Museum, the greatest collection of Italian art anywhere, was our morning adventure. Then join us at Piazzale Michelangelo, where we saw a second copy of Michelangelo’s David, and relived our memories of romance 30 years ago … followed by an evening at the Palazzo Vecchio and a wonderful meal at the Fescobaldi Wine Bar.
  • Day #12 – Florence Day #4
    • Join us at the underappreciated Duomo Museum and then the Academy, to meet the real David. Our afternoon was Fra Angelica and the Santa Maria Novalle Church. For our Florentine finale, the Lord was pleased to provide us a riverside, bridge-view table near the Ponte Vecchio for sunset.
  • Days #13-14 – Rome Days #1-2 – The Wedding
    • We’ve been to a lot of weddings in our lives, but a wedding at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican comes right at the top. We had a magnificent time with dear friends, accompanied by fantastic fellowship and food.
  • Day #15 – Rome Day #3
    • Join us for a journey through the Trastevere area of Rome, and then to devotions at the Church of St. Cecilia, followed by our amazing trip to the Villa Borghese Gallery. Our evening was capped off at  the magnificent Trevi Fountain and the the world-famous Spanish Steps.
  • Day #16 – Our Last Day – Rome Day #4
    • We’ll start at the Roman coliseum, an tour by the Arch  of Constantine,  the ostentatious Victor Emmanuel Monument, and Bernini’s Four Rivers fountain in the Piazza Novona. As well as a visit with an amazing young man.

We’ve hoped you’ve had fun accompanying us on this trip to Italy, and that one day you’ll be blessed to experience and enjoy her yourself.

3 Responses to “Trip to Italy – Days #1 and 2 – Flight Nightmares”

  1. Anne writes:

    Walt & Barb!!

    Oh my goodness! I’m so sorry to hear about all of the travel-mishaps – nothing like spending the first part of a vacation stuck in the airport – especially on Mother’s Day!! I promise it will all be worth it!! :) Sean and I truly appreciate (and even more so now!!) the effort you’re making to be at our wedding!! We can’t wait to celebrate with you in a little over a week!!

    See you soon!!
    Anne

  2. Rick writes:

    Amazing patience!

  3. Gail writes:

    That was God making sure you would be at the right place at the right time to collect my pebbles. Seriously, think that would have been one wedding I would have missed or you would have had to send to the airport pharmacy to get me something that would have knocked me out. Also, next time put the “hot babe” before the food. Seriously, glad all worked out wonderful. Was it not you who told me part of faith was to know “it happens in God’s time -not ours” I truly believe that when things happen that delay us it is God’s way of protecting us from trouble that we will never know about.
    Love ya’ll and God Bless and thank you so much for my surprise.
    They came on a day I was so down and out – made my day.

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