My alarm went off at 5:00 AM, Saturday morning. Taormina, Sicily, was the most beautiful city at dawn. A mist off the Mediterranean covers the city. Shops are already open, and the locals have already had their first round of cafÃ©. This was the end of an amazing week and the start of the longest day, ever.
After a two hour drive, we finally arrived at the airport. We checked in, and got a bite of breakfast, sat down and listened to the almost synchronized voices of the announcers, informing everyone of the flight delays and the take-offs; everyone but those people who do not speak Italian, Sicilian, or German.
In about two minutes, the most calm of the people had gone from very calm to frantic. The announcers came on and let everyone know about the most recent eruption from Mount Etna; all people but those who spoke English. Ashes and smoke had covered the surrounding cities, and the air outside was too dirty for planes to safely take off and land. We were still in Catania and it was about 10:30, about an hour after our scheduled departure time. As a courtesy, we were put on a bus and driven to Palermo. There we would be able to catch our flight. We were supposed to be in Castiglione Fiorentino, Italy that day by lunch time. We did not want to get into Castiglione by 4AM so we ended up buying new tickets to get on a flight scheduled to depart in 30 minutes. This would put us there by 9 or 10 at the latest. We ignored our hungry tummies and rushed through security, boarded the plane, and joked about the inconvenient events that had unfolded before us not sure of what was still to come. This new flight we were on was not taking us to Florence, but back to Rome where we would have to take an even longer train ride to Castiglione. We finally arrived at the airport in Rome, which is not actually in Rome; it is about 45 minutes outside of Rome. We had to take the train from the airport into Rome, just to get on a different train and head to Castiglione. About halfway through the train ride, the electricity went out on our car, and we were kicked off and moved to another train car. In this car was about two cars worth of people crammed into one with another two hours to go. We finally arrived in Castiglione, where we met my brother. It was about a mile walk to the school which included a hill named “Vicolo Repente” (this means Alley of the Repentance). With the events of this day, we realized we still hadn’t eaten since breakfast. My brother took us to the local bar where all the college kids hung out. After meeting all of his friends, we finally got to sit down and enjoy the best pizza in town. We called our bed and breakfast but no one would answer so we made my brother convince the R.A. at his dorm to give us an empty room to sleep in for the night.
At last, after an early morning car ride, a volcano spewing, a bus, a plane, two trains, and a street named “Repente” that we hauled our luggage up, we finally were able to relax and rest from the hectic day.
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