We went to Italy for ten days, and it did not suck.
But first we took a detour to Madrid. Surprise! Way back in August (!) when we bought our tickets to Italy, the cheapest option was to fly with Iberia Airlines through Madrid. It was going to be a long haul (2 connections, 3 flights, 4 airports), but it was so much cheaper that we figured tacking on a 2-hour flight from Madrid to Venice wasn’t a big deal. And it wasn’t. Well, wouldn’t have been, if the flight from Chicago to Madrid had left on time instead of an HOUR late (an hour during which I was squashed into a middle seat on an airplane that had no air circulation, womp womp). We landed in Madrid at 8:00 am, the same time that our flight to Venice started boarding. Not a problem! We didn’t check any bags so we figured “We’ll just hustle to our gate!”
Oh yeah, and go through customs and then security again. After racing through customs (where they rushed us to the front of the line) and security (where they laughed at us as D chugged an entire bottle of water) we literally ran the entire length of the airport to arrive at our gate...just in time to see the plane taking off up into the blue sky, like something out of a movie. Feeling defeated, and more than a little sweaty, we trudged to the Iberia customer service desk, where they told us they could put us on a flight through Frankfurt that would have us in Venice at 7:30pm, or put us on a direct flight that would have us in Venice at 8:00pm. We opted not to visit our fifth airport in 30 hours and told them we’d take the direct evening flight to Venice. They gave us food vouchers (thank goodness) and told us to enjoy spending 7 hours in the airport instead of gallavanting around Venice like we’d planned for that day.
So what is one to do when trapped in a foreign city on zero hours of sleep and with 4 carryon bags in tow? A normal person might post up in a quiet corner of the airport and get some rest, but we decided to go into Madrid and see what we could see. Turns out that Madrid is beautiful, even when you’re delirious from exhaustion.
The sun was shining, D chivalrously carted around ¾ of our bags, and thanks to the food vouchers we only had to spend 16 euro on metro day passes (bonus: they have the cleanest, most organized metro I've ever seen). We weren’t there for more than a few hours, but we will definitely be back. I’m already mad for Madrid.