Scenery in Albania near the Greece border.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Korca, Albania until May 12th.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Not sure yet!

Monday, March 15, 2021

The plan is coming together, but not without some hiccups...

Writing this from FCO (Rome) Airport in Italy. It is now Monday afternoon at around 2:00pm local time. We are here waiting for our connecting flight to Tirana, Albania later this afternoon.

When we left our apartment in Dar es Salaam, we had to be out by 11:00am, but our flight wasn't until 9:30pm. So we just went to the airport and hung out. We took an Uber taxi from the house, and we couldn't believe how cheap it was. For the 12 km (7.5 mile) trip, it cost 10,500 shillings ($5.65 CAD, $4.50 USD). I thought they made a mistake, but our host had told us it was the cheapest way.

And, because it was a Sunday, there was hardly any traffic. I had read horror stories of people who did it during weekly rush hour traffic and it took two hours. Glad we didn't have to go through that even though we had lots of time.

Nobody around!

Yep, that's us!

Empty.


The International Terminal 3 was built in 2015, so it's still pretty new. Nicely air conditioned, and the WiFi worked well, which was more than likely because we were pretty much the only ones there! Not entirely true, because there were a few flights that came and went during our waiting time, but not very many.

Our flight was leaving at 9:35pm, so we didn't expect to be able to check our bags until around 6:00pm or so. They had said on the departure board which check in counters were to be used by our airline, but we could see them from where we were sitting and there was no activity going on. Eventually, I went for a walk, and they had changed the check in counters! 

We went up and they pre screen you depending on where your final destination is. We were given paperwork for arrival in Italy where there are still very strict entry regulations. But we aren't leaving the airport, just connecting. Still, they gave us papers for arriving in Italy which didn't make any sense to me at all.

Then, when we were getting our boarding passes, this one guy in charge said that we needed an exit ticket booked for Albania, which we didn't have. At this point, we don't know where we are going from Albania... or when, exactly. I argued, but he was adamant, even though Qatar Airways was only getting us to Italy... Alitalia is getting us from Italy to Albania. This guy wasn't even with Qatar Airways... he was just the local counter staff they use because there aren't that many Qatar flights out of DAR.

Anyhow, he made us sit and book a ticket then and there, which I found very stressful. I like doing the proper research and making sure we're paying the right price. But, I (wrongly) assumed that the 24 hour cancellation rule would apply, so went ahead and booked a cheap Wizz Air flight to get from Tirana to London on May 3rd. It was only like $60 each or something like that. Then after I got it booked, I went with another lady and checked with the one Qatar Airways booking personnel who was in their airport ticket office who said it was only my flight TO Albania that was important. Well Wizz Air flights are non refundable. I was not a happy camper. Worse case scenario, we lose the money, but we still might be able to make use of it because from London you can fly pretty much anywhere. We'll see.

This all took up about an hour and a half. Time was getting tight to get to the boarding gate on time!

Good thing there was hardly anybody on the plane. It was a big Airbus A350-900 which normally seats about 350 people. There might have been a dozen! But, this was only for the very short flight from Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar where a bunch of people got on.

Qatar Airways have a fantastic seatback entertainment system
And, they give you a free hour of high speed Satellite internet.

And, lots of leg room.

Us!

And pretty much nobody else!

Leaving Dar es Salaam.
Goodbye Tanzania!

It was only a 20 minute flight to Zanzibar, then we were on the ground for two hours before we took off again. I think I watched a whole movie while we were waiting. The plane ended up being about 2/3 full and we had an empty seat in our row.

Watched a couple more movies, and napped a little in between. Arrived in Doha, Qatar at something like 5:00am and had a couple of hours to walk around and stretch our legs before the flight to Rome.

That's enough for now! I'll get another post up in time for tomorrow morning!

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Good variety of Tacklife Tools on Deal of the Day!

And in Canada...


6 comments:

  1. Albania, famous as the land of the bunkers. Looks like a cool place with the Albanian Alps, ruins, and costline.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, we have noticed that and I believe we have some of the bunkers and ruins marked off on our list of places to see. We are really looking forward to hiking in the Albanian Alps, they look gorgeous! :-)

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  2. Always someone spreading false information.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

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    Replies
    1. I wouldn't necessarily say it was false information but it was wasn't up to them to make the decision to make us book those tickets, they were only there to get us to Rome, it would have been the next airline company to make the decision whether we needed an exit ticket from Albania which ended up not being the case! When we entered Albania the border guard didn't ask us if we had an exit ticket from Albania, so Kevin ended up having to buy a ticket for the two of us that we didn't need! :-(

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  3. Strange that the guy was so adamant that you have an exit ticket which you really didn’t need. That airport looked huge and very modern. Nice! Good that you had comfortable seats and a pleasant flight overall with Qatar Airways. They’re worth the money heh?

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    Replies
    1. It was very frustrating because they weren't even the carrier that was going to be taking us to Albania, it would have been the airline, Alitalia that would be the ones who would have to enforce that rule and when we checked in with them they never asked us for any proof of an outgoing flight tickets from Albania and when we entered Albania the immigration people never asked us for proof of an outgoing flight tickets either! :-( It is such a shame that Kevin had to buy the tickets on the spot without his normal research, now we may not even need to use those tickets!

      Yes, Qatar Airways is a great airline company to fly with. Had there been another flight that was cheaper, we would most likely have taken it though but during these times there isn't a lot of options to choose from.

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