Dictator Causes Havoc To My Travel Plans

Over the Easter break I finally got around to researching Italy and Portugal for my upcoming  trip in September. I spent hours researching online, chatting on Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree forum, reading my Lonely Planet Italy and Eyewitness Travel Portugal guides back to front.

One of my favourite things about travelling is getting out the world atlas and really getting to know the locations of the places you want to visit and surrounds. So I did notice that Libya is quite close to Sicily but thought there is an ocean in between so it should be safe and I went ahead and booked flights with Ryanair from Bari in Puglia to Trapani in Sicily and then flights out of Palermo in Sicily to Bologna for a connecting flight to Oporto in Portugal the next day. I didn’t even now where Trapani was but once discovered it was a perfect entry point for sightseeing in Sicily.

Since then I have been devouring information about Trapani in Western Sicily and had numerous day trips organised including Erice and the Egadi Islands.

Then Osama Bin Laden was killed and I was reminded that this year was the 10th anniversary of 9/11, I looked at my flight dates for departure to Europe and discovered I would be flying on this signficant anniversary…

Then last Thursday I booked accommodation in Sicily, wanting to secure a hotel in Palermo as I had stayed there before and it is a gem. Only a few hours later I received an email from Ryanair stating due to the ongoing conflicts in Libya  and the restrictions on travel to Trapani airport our flight from Bari to Trapani has been cancelled!

Now I am scrambling to find a new path, I have tried every airline, every airport in the Puglia region and even Naples to get to Sicily but nothing works. I still have flights out of Sicily and a connecting flight to Portugal so it is going to be a nightmare if I have to rejig these flights too. Of course Ryanair says they will refund the flight cost of the cancelled flight and there is a help desk but not for Australians, only countries in the EU.

Right now it looks like we have the choice of a train and then overnight ferry to Palermo or a 10 hour bus trip from Bari to Reggio Calabria! As opposed to a 1 hr flight these are not very attractive but looking more and more realistic with every day! All I need is a public transport strike and I will take the hint that someone doesn’t want me to go to Sicily!

But you know when you are not really sure about something but then you get rejected and then you really want that thing! That’s me right now, I want to go back to Sicilia!


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