Traveling alone or through an agency, possibly the most important question we have in our lives today. Here is my story of traveling through an agency. A friend of mine was offered the chance for a full-package trip to Split, Croatia at a discount price, approximately 80 euro less. Seems like a no brainer to just take the deal and run which my four friends and I did. We were excited the day to leave came, all packed up and ready to hit Split for 3 nights of debauchery and a full day on the water on essentially a cruise around the coast, island hopping as it were.
Before we even left the apartment, catastrophe stuck. My friend who will remain nameless dropped an entire bottle of white win all over the tile floor in his room causing, firstly and most importantly a gigantic waste of good wine and secondly causing an issue on whether or not ants would sneak into our apartment and tear the place apart. We did a rush job of a clean then left in a tussle hoping to make the train before anything else could occur. Upon arriving at Termini we were shuttled onto a fast train to Florence to meet the rest of our group and our adventure took an immediate uptick as we sped past beautiful Italian countryside, drinking in the austere and ancient landscape.
Upon disembarking in Florence we were shuttled through throngs of travelers and onto a bus through a torrential downpour that I am sure was worse then Harvey. It was here our decided adventure met its worst foe, the bus. A standard fifty-seater, however it was a resoundingly tiny 50 and we went bumper to bumper into the seats as we were among the last to arrive to the bus. We were wedged in like bread in a toaster, locked in and hot from all the other human bodies. It was awful for roughly nine hours as we couldn’t get comfortable.
It did get better upon arrival in Split, where we immediately immersed in the great history and outstanding nightlife. Our fun quickly turned sour when were we informed that the perceived “all-inclusive adventure” was not truly all-inclusive. We were genuinely disappointed that we had to fork over another 40 euro for our boat trip. Of course, not wanting to be left behind, we reluctantly decided to cough up the extra money. Unfortunately, the debauchery and fun didn’t start again until the next day as we got locked onto that bus once again for an hour to Krka National Park, which I admit was an excellent time.
Once our time at the park concluded, my friends and I sprinted to the bus to get prime seating, making sure we did not get stuck in our previous predicament. Things were going smoothly until we hit the Slovenian border. As it turns out, a nameless person on the trip was carrying some ‘contraband.’ Contraband that was supposed to be a quick fix, nothing minor, no more than a slap on the wrist and thirty minute delay which in reality lasted the duration of four hours on a deserted Slovenian border road. This put yet another damper on the trip. The 4 hour stop uprooted our dinner plans, and changed the demeanor of the rest of the bus ride. We arrived in Florence at 1:30am and proceeded to board another bus for the remainder of the 4 hour trip to Rome finally arriving back at our apartment at 6am. All told what was meant to be a 200 euro trip turned into something nearer to 400, along with the undisclosed side effects of stiff backs, raging headaches and a severe lack of sleep. Recommendation: go alone.
Drew is a fall 2017 SAI Rome student from the University of Tampa.