Adventures of a Different Kind in Italy

Italy is rather infamous for its bureaucracy and some of its . . . idiosyncracies. We’ve been back for a few days, and we’ve definitely had some moments that made me laugh and some that made me want to pull my hair out.


Arrival to Italy

We flew into Perugia from Bucharest, which was a nice 2-hour flight. As Wizz Air wasn’t currently offering assigned seating, I paid the small extra amount to get priority boarding. That proved to be wise because it meant we were one of the first in line at passport control. They had 1 officer available, so it made the process extra long. I think our guy was at the end of his shift as well, which didn’t help.

He began thumbing through all 52 pages of Tigger’s brand new passport. “Have you been to Italy before?” he asked. I responded that we have, but this was a new passport.

“I can’t find the stamp.”

Ummm. “Yeah, it’s a brand new passport.”

“I can’t find the stamp.”

“Right. It’s a brand-new passport. We just got it 2 months ago in Romania.”

“S’ok.” He then picks up my passport, which was also renewed not all that long ago.

“That’s a new passport, too,” I said hoping to preempt any further confusion.

“I can’t find the stamp.”

He continued thumbing through my passport while his partner did his apparent sole duty of looking over his coworker’s shoulder and giving people looks of suspicion. He finally gave up and stamped us in.


Taxis? What taxis?

We headed out into the beautiful springtime evening weather and quickly discovered our Airbnb’s host assurance that taxis would be waiting at the airport was completely wrong. You have to call a phone number. We don’t have Italian phone service, and the only public phone in the airport doesn’t work.

I finally found a guy dressed like a paramedic and explained the situation to him. He was kind enough to call us a taxi. What did our host have to say? “You’re the first people to stay here who arrived by plane so I didn’t know.”

Dude, don’t just make stuff up!


The train and another Airbnb

After a few days in Perugia, it was time to head to Firenze. We had bought our tickets online, and thankfully I checked the website the night before because I discovered they’re having computer system issues and it “may take up to an hour to get your tickets at the train station.” Had we left our place as scheduled, we probably would’ve missed our train.

Having had our weird experience in Perugia, I tried to get more info from our next Airbnb host. Is there a intercom? What is the flat number? I explained I would not have phone service. “No problem. There is free WiFi near the train station. Just sign in and send us a message in WhatsApp.”

He is correct. There is free WiFi near the train station.

However, in order to get a login one must have an Italian phone number and service as you have to call a number after registration to validate it.

Many swear words were uttered as we walked to the apartment. Upon arrival, I found their name listed on the intercom. Phew!

I buzzed it. No answer. After 7 attempts, someone finally answered. “No Airbnb! They moved!”


We hung around while I punched various intercom buttons that didn’t have names. No luck. I decided to try to find a helpful stranger or ask someone in one of the nearby businesses to call for me, and as I was contemplating I noticed an older gentleman who looked kind. He was staring at his phone as he walked.

I said excuse me and asked if he spoke English. Thankfully, he did. I explained our situation, and he was only too happy to help.

Want to know something strange? It turns out he is an old friend of one of the hosts. In fact, they were friends many years ago and used to attend the same school.

Out of all the random people I could’ve picked, I happen to single out the one guy who is old chums with our host.

Are you singing “It’s a small world”?

And after all that one of the house rules is “Never confusion or noise.”

Yeah. Mission not accomplished, folks.

After having lunch and coffee with friends, I was sitting on my bed when suddenly there was a horrifying loud noise, and I found my butt almost touching the floor. The mattress is on basically a cot as a frame, and it has wooden slats going across. Five of them had popped out. I’m just hoping it doesn’t do that again at 3 AM.

I notified the host who said she would come check it out right away but was driving right then. That was 5 hours ago. Anyone want to bet we won’t be getting a visit from her?

At the end of the day, though, you just gotta laugh. The joys of travel, especially in Italy.

Do you have a fun example of a different kind of adventure in Italy?

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  1. I hope you leave the Airbnb hosts the reviews that they deserve.
    I’m sorry it was such a hassle, but I have to admit that you had my chuckling at the airport bit with the guy and the passports! 😀

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    • Oh yes, I most definitely left appropriate reviews.

      I was laughing at the passport guy, too. Tigger and I looked at each other like “What part of ‘new’ passport doesn’t he get?” It was pretty funny.

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  2. Is there a review system on AirBnB where you can post comments – you know like your bed fell apart?!

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  3. We didn’t have any specific things in Italy but we’ve been travelling RTW for the past seven months…without a cellphone. And staying in mostly AirBnB’s in the Europe end of the trip. So I feel your pain.
    In Barcelona, we didn’t know the time changed in Spain so we arrived 15 minutes late for our bus to Madrid and couldn’t get on a bus for three more hours. So we found a cafe and emailed our Madrid AirBnB host that we’d be late. He was fine with that and said he’d be waiting. We arrived to our destination only to find that the Airbnb address was missing a crucial letter after the number 4. There were eleven number 4 apartments! Our 11 year old twins were exhausted, it was late and I thought – this would never happen at a hotel. But a woman let us in and told us to check the mailboxes. We, of course, could not find his name on any of them. We walked up to the top floor and were just going to start knocking on doors when I thought, ‘let’s try the apartment that had no name, first.’ Thank God! It was the right one.
    Fun times!

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