It seemed like a simple task…

Part 1: In which I am foiled by my own procrastination

At the end of September, I am going to Italy to participate in a conference at the Institute for Central-Eastern Europe and the Balkans (University of Bologna). I’ve known about the conference for months and could have made plans well before this week.  But I didn’t receive confirmation of the arrival and departure dates for participants until the end of August and I was focused on getting myself to Lithuania not to Italy.  And I was hoping to plan my trip with Giedre, a doctoral student at my host university here in Lithuania, so that we could travel together.

All this to say that I didn’t start looking for flights from Vilnius to Bologna until Monday – a mere three weeks before I wanted to travel.  Giedre and I first checked various Lithuanian travel websites and found only really expensive tickets.  Then we went to a travel agency; then to another travel agency.  Then we had the bright idea to fly into Milan, which is cheaper, since we wanted to travel for a couple of days anyway.  Then we decided to hold the tickets and sleep on it because we’d spent most of the day going back and forth between different scenarios and needed to clear our heads.

On Tuesday, we went to the Humanities Faculty office and spoke to the director of international programs who had purchased her ticket well in advance and found a great flight schedule at a good price.  Much to our surprise, she checked the travel websites and found the same flight at a much better price than anything we’d found the day before.  Giedre and I walked back to her office to go online and purchase the tickets — only to discover than in the 20 minutes it took us to get there, the deal was gone.

Part 2: In which I am foiled by technology in Lithuania

At this point, we decided to keep the travel agency tickets on hold until Wednesday and to check the online sites a few more times just in case.  On Tuesday evening, I found a slightly better flight schedule and a slightly better price online and put a hold on the tickets.  Since I still don’t have secure internet in my apartment, I didn’t want to pay online from home and risk having my credit card number information stolen.  Wednesday morning I went to the American Center to use their computers to purchase the tickets.  Except the Lithuanian online website refused my credit cards – both of them.   My friend at the center called the contact number for the website and was told that I could go pay at a local travel agency.  So I went there, only to find out that they have ONE American Express credit card machine and it was at another branch today.  The helpful travel agent did, however, confirm the tickets and asked me to return at 4:00 when the American Express machine would be back at his branch.  Fortunately it wasn’t too far from home so a second trip was only a slight hassle.

After three days of trying to do something that I thought would take an hour, I am happy to say that Giedre and I have tickets, the price wasn’t too horrible and we will be in Italy in a few weeks!


About amanda

Creating academic and public environments for the humanities to flourish Researching Soviet and Eastern European history Engaging people and ideas as a writer and interviewer Traveling as much as possible View all posts by amanda

One response to “It seemed like a simple task…

  • Anne

    Whew! Glad you persevered and with success. I’m checking airfare too – SEA to CDG at the end of Oct/early Nov with a weekend in VNO perhaps. My friend Robbin in Paris is interested in seeing some of Lithuania too. What’s your schedule like during that time frame? Any must-see events or festivals?

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