Around this time of year for the past 5 years, I’ve had the pleasure of joining Ines on Vis, a beautiful Island in Croatia, to teach on a week long Tango holiday. So one hot Friday morning, Frank takes me to Marseille to catch a flight.
The journey turns out to be an exciting one….
There is no direct flight to Split from Marseille, so I am taking a detour via Rome where I will stay one night in order to catch a very early morning flight to Split. On the way to Marseille, we first get delayed on the motorway – big signs announce a complete standstill of traffic for 45 minutes because they are blasting rocks to widen the road. It’s just as well that we left plenty of time, because once we are through this traffic jam, we head into another one just outside the airport: there is a big taxi driver’s strike and they are blocking the entrance to the airport. I consider myself lucky to still be in time for the flight!
Arrival in Rome is not without its adventures: there’d been a fire in one of the airport buildings some weeks ago and they still haven’t recovered from it. By the looks of it, it affected the luggage transport system. There is total chaos in the baggage claim area, with thousands of unclaimed suitcases standing around everywhere, and many people waiting for hours for theirs to arrive. Our belt is stopped, with three flights’ worth of people waiting around it for delivery of their luggage, while other belts are going round and round with suitcases on them that no-one seems to want.
Again, I consider myself lucky, because not only does my suitcase arrive after 1.5hrs, but also while waiting for it, I have the pleasure of the Italian national basket-ball team strolling past me J. They are strapping lads, all at least 2mtrs tall, dwarfing everyone else in the hall.
The entrance hall in Rome is no better, complete mayhem, with many people frantically rebooking flights. Apparently 45% of all flights have been cancelled! This is about 4 weeks after the fire. It must be costing them a fortune to deal with all of this.
Anyway, I’m lucky that I can leave all this behind and spend an evening chilling out in a little hotel room in Fiumicino. My flight the next morning is on schedule, and by 9am, I’m in the harbour in Split, enjoying a breakfast of fresh fruit from the local market.
Not so lucky on the way back to France a week later, as my flight is cancelled – or possibly extra lucky, because I am able to rebook a flight to Lyon that is cheaper and direct, so I can avoid the mess in Rome and Frank can drive up to Lyon to pick me up from there on our way to Switzerland.
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