Several things can go wrong on a journey no matter how perfect the plan can be. I have a checklist when I travel - list of things to bring, things to do, places to visit, list of important addresses in the respective countries I'm visiting and my list goes on and on. My travel usually incorporates more than two countries and often I have people following me. Therefore I need to plan carefully.
Regardless you're traveling in a group or alone, you need to be alert all the time. That morning, we were supposed to catch a flight from Venice Marco Polo Airport to Naples at 9.20 am and by 7 am, we were all ready to board the bus near Mestre train station. We bought our bus tickets from the ticket machine and as soon as the bus stopped, the driver lifted the hood underneath and everyone hurriedly stuffed their luggage. The driver spoke in Italian and everyone got on the bus without their tickets being inspected by the driver. We sat comfortably and the bus began to move.
While I was happily chatting with my cousin next to me, I realized that the bus took too long to be in Venice Marco Polo Airport. Suddenly, my eyes caught on a big word "TREVISO" written on the window glass and my heart was thumping- we were on the wrong bus!!! There were 11 people in the group and none of us realized we were on the wrong bus. We waited restlessly until the bus arrived in Treviso and as soon as the bus stop, the driver started checking the tickets when the passengers were alighting. When I handed my ticket, he said, "Wrong!" and in a serious tone, I told him, "Oh don't worry, all wrongs!" pointing my finger to the other 10 of us. It seemed that a few others in the bus were in the same position like us!
All of us got off the bus, we rolled our luggage and ran towards the row of cabs just outside Treviso Airport. "Please send us to Marco Polo airport now!" I told the cab driver. We took three cabs for the 11 of us. In the cab, I began to compose myself, I smiled at the driver and asked "Do you speak English?" He shook his head and I thought never mind. Using hands gesture I told him "Very fast please!" and the fact that we were running like mobs made him understood that we had a problem. I kept looking at my watch and we had less than 2 hours. We were lucky the traffic was lesser on an early Sunday morning and fortunately we had checked-in online, so we're just dropping our bags. But nevertheless, we should not underestimate the security procedures which may take longer!
As soon as the taxi halted in front of the departure hall, I calmed down, paid the driver, picked my luggage and ran towards the check-in counter. The girl at the counter asked for our visa! We entered Italy via Ljubljana by car and at the boarder, there was no check on visa. I tried to convince her that we don't need a visa but she refused to accept my explanation. She went off to check and few minutes later came back to agree with us. While queuing for security check, we saw few others who were in the same bus from Treviso airport. We were exchanging smiles...relieved that we managed to be in Marco Polo airport.
In another occasion, when I was on the train from Pisa Centrale to La Spieza, I met an American guy who got on the wrong train. He wanted to go to Pisa airport but instead got on the train to La Spieza in Cinque Terre. He was restless to get down the train as soon as possible and he said that he would get a cab to the airport but his flight would take off in half an hour which obviously meant he would not be on time. After going through the same experience, I could understand his plight! I looked at him sympathetically but not much could be done
These are the common problems that could happen in a country where English is not spoken and you are exhausted. Some signs are completely in the local language and asking some locals would not be of any help. It was a great experience after that but not at the point of time!