Alright, I'm finally sitting down to chronicle my trip to Italy. I'm going to do this is one-day size segments so that a) you'll have less text to read for a given entry and b) I'll have less text to type all at once! A win-win scenario as it were. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 2:00 pm on Thursday May 25th from Edmonton International Airport. Our itinerary looked like this (all times local to that location): May 25th, 2:00pm Edmonton: Depart for Vancouver; arrive 2:34pm May 25th, 4:05pm Vancouver: Depart for Frankfurt; arrive 10:55am (26th) May 26th, 4:20pm Frankfurt: Depart for Turin; arrive 5:35pm
Yup - that's an ugly 5 hour layover in Frankfurt airport. Ick.
On the day that we left, I stayed home in the morning and packed up the last of my stuff. My whole family came over to my place and met me along with Diane. We talked for a bit, and then my Mom went off to work and the rest of us went down to the airport where we met up with the rest of our Hex research group: Broderick, Phil and our supervisor for the project: Ryan.
I checked in my bags which was a suprisingly quick procedure. I also purchased 100 euros at the currency exchange counter so that I would have some cash to spend on the trip (lots more convenient than credit cards). I probably paid more than I would have at the bank, but there wasn't a lot I could do about that.
Before I knew it, I was saying some hurried good byes and I lined up with the rest of the group for passing through security. Its an odd feeling going through security - I know its a required procedure, but it totally makes me feel like I've done something wrong. That, and I got this paranoid feeling of "oh no, is there anything in my bag they might confiscate?". Really there was no reason to worry, but I'm not sure if there's any way to shake those feelings.
We waited at our gate for the boarding call. In the meantime, I opened my laptop and to my surprise there was free wireless internet access. After the remainder of my trip, I wonder now whether it will last very long like that. Its not free anywhere else!!!
Our boarding call came so I stepped on the first airplane I've been on since high school when I went to Toronto for a week. I'm not scared of flying or anything, but its a bit of a weird feeling stepping on an aircraft that will shortly be thousands of feet above the ground. Maybe its just me.
The flight was very smooth and fast with nothing really out of the ordinary happening. Broderick, Phil and I played a game of crib and before we knew it we were landing in Vancouver. We wandered around a bit there and Broderick picked up some food to eat before proceeding to our gate. The plane we got on after the boarding call came was *huge*. I guess that's the size of the aircraft they use to transport people overseas, but I was a little taken aback by the large number of seats.
We got ourselves settled near the back of the airplane and before we knew it our long flight was in progress. My strategy here was to try and sleep a little bit on the flight so I could be prepared to spend a whole day awake in Torino followed by crashing at the end of the evening. This plan would work out fairly well.
Our flight was with Lufthansa - which I get the feeling is a really big company. The best part of this airline? Free beer. Oh and baileys and cognac after the main meal too! The food wasn't terrible, though breakfast was a whole lot tastier than dinner I thought. I might've got roughly 2 hours of sleep, but it wasn't a very deep or restful sleep. Once I woke up from that, I gave up and proceeded to get some caffinated beverages to wake myself up and get myself ready for a day in Frankfurt and Torino.
We arrived on time in Frankfurt which is a *very* large airport but also a very dull place. We wandered towards our gate which was in the next terminal over. Finding it, we pondered a bit what we'd do to pass our time in the next few hours. Broderick, Phil and I played some cards (poker with go stones as chips) and Ryan spent some time looking at hex positions from the last olympiad. We got a little hungry so we wandered around and spent some our first euros on some pricey airport food. Nothing too special about them - but Broderick bought a glass of coca-cola ... a pricey €3.00 price (about $4.50 canadian) for what turned out to be a tiny little glass of fountain pop. "Never again" he said, and I was quick to agree!
Our layover finally ended and we boarded the last plane. I got a window seat, which turned out to be a real blessing. I nearly fell asleep, but I woke right up when the clouds cleared and I got an awesome view of Torino as we descended into the airport!
We got out and stretched our legs. We then found an information booth and found out that the best way to get into town was a bus. So we bought some tickets, picked up a map and hopped on the bus. Not long afterwards we got off (at a point in the city that I cannot remember). Consulting our new map we found where we needed to go and finally wandered in that direction. The walk took a good 45 minutes to an hour and by the time we got to the hotel we were exhausted, hot, sweaty and ready to crash ... but also starving.
After checking into our rooms we went down the street a block and had our first authentic Italian food in a little neighbourhood Italian restaurant. The food was awesome! We had some brushetta, some pasta and some house red wine. Mmmm tasty! We left happy and satisfied and went to our rooms where we prompty crashed.
Okay - enough text to read? I'll post Day Two's adventures as soon as I get a chance!