Thursday, September 18, 2014

Dolomites Trip Part 2: Getting there and Getting home

I'm not the only one who stays at a 4 out of 10 on the panic attack scale for the entirety of every trip, am I? I might be. From the moment we left our house (4 MINUTES LATER THAN I HAD PLANNED) on Tuesday, I was a bundle of nerves. We had tons of time for our drive to Dulles, but DC traffic is the worst, ever, and we were pushing up on rush hour time, which around here starts at like 2pm and lasts until 8pm. True story, I was once stuck in traffic on a Sunday afternoon and on the radio they called it "Regular Sunday afternoon congestion." Wtf, people. Why is that a thing?

Anyway. My dad took us to the airport, and the drive was flawless. We got there super early, dropped off our bags (already checked in online) and we through security and to our gate in less than 30 minutes. We were 3 hours early for the flight. I'm not going to complain that it went too quickly, but it sort of did. There's only so much Hudson News browsing you can do before you go crazy staring at vapid magazine headlines. Also, when my anxiety is on high alert and I'm bracing myself for things to go wrong, it is very disconcerting for things to go right. I can't just relax, I feel the need to fret about something. So productive. We got on the plane and the flight was delayed almost 2 hours due to weather. At least I could fret about missing our connection.

We flew Austrian Airlines and had the best seats ever (36A and 36C for life!). On our plane, the back few rows on either side narrowed just enough to go from 3 down to 2 seats in the side sections. That meant that instead of being in super cramped 3-across, we had so much space with 2-across. It was glorious! I watched a few movies, slept, and got irritated at people loudly conversing in the aisle right next to my seat. I tried to kill them with my death stare. Didn't work. It is the middle of the night, jerks. We missed our next flight into Innsbruck because of the delay, but Austrian automatically rebooked us, plus gave us a nice meal voucher. Way to go, Austrian! We hung out for a couple hours, then hopped on a teeny tiny propeller plane to Innsbruck. We got another snack. +1, again for Austrian!

Once in Innsbruck we experienced our first episode of total confusion. We needed a bus to our hotel. We didn't have Wifi, and only had an address for the hotel, not a map, so the bus maps weren't helping us. Finally, Nick asked a random bus driver if he could get us where we needed to be. He could. It was awesome. We were so lucky that the vast majority of people we encountered were able to help us in English. The bus the next morning to the train station was also confusing, but we got there okay. Then it was train time.

Full disclosure: my only reference for train travel is Harry Potter. I was raised on cars and airplanes (and the Metro). I did not understand the train compartment thing. 

It's like a little room, with a limited number of seats. Are they reserved? No one knows. We luckily found a spot with little drama and settled in for our first train ride. Our second ride was also flawless. Plus- bathrooms on the train! Bonus! The trains took us to Dobbiaco, where we needed yet another bus. This one got us to the middle of the small city that is Cortina D'Ampezzo, and we still needed to find our hotel. I DID NOT HAVE AN ADDRESS. I think even if I had an address, it would have been useless without a real road map. So underprepared. We luckily found a map with hotel locations on it and were able to walk there. And finally, I could relax....

Getting home was all of those steps, in reverse. Plus extra bus and train drama. Minus available seats on the train. Minus the plane delay. Plus cold and rain. Plus an extremely adorable baby on the plane. Overall, the travel was a great success, if a bit challenging. And now that we're home I can worry about everything else. The usual.

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