Last summer, I was lucky enough to be able to check off one of my top 5 bucket list items: Backpacking Europe. I took a six week trip along with my girlfriend to 9 countries and 17 cities. The trip ended up better than I could have imagined, with some rocky obstacles to get through, and more than a few good stories. We booked lodging mostly through Airbnb, with a few hostels peppered in where we couldn’t find listings, travelled by train, and lived as frugally as we could without missing out. The following, is the story of how we got there…
Well the adventures began before we had even gotten out of the country, our flight from Springfield, MO to Chicago was a late arrival, like a 10 minute window to make it to our next gate… in O’hare, the second we stepped of the plane, we were olympic track stars (queue starting pistol). It was an all out sprint to the next gate, weaving through families, unpredictable child walking patterns, and our arch nemesis of the event, the elderly (it almost seemed like they wanted us to miss it)… Luckily for us, we were relentless, and those who tried (see above) couldn’t stop us. We made it, with about two minutes to spare before the gate closed on us indefinitely. As we had only known each other just over six months, it came as a surprise to me that my girlfriend seemed to be losing her lung next to me when we sat down. Apparently she had “a mild” (because if you heard this, mild would not have been the first word to come to mind) case of athletically induced asthma, for which she had no inhaler. I felt bad for her trying to suppress the hacking in one of the most awkward places to be coughing like that, eventually it subsided, and we were finally on our way to Dublin, and in the clear…
Fast forward about 9 hours. We land in London on our way to Dublin (by the end you’ll see the haplessness in that flight path). We surprisingly land on time and make our way through customs, a lengthy process as it is. Apparently there is a second round of security at this airport and we miss our flight to Dublin, with the assurance our bags will be transferred (foreshadowing?). We eventually get on another flight, only to sit on it for 2 hours before de-boarding for mechanical issues. We are required at this point to grab our checked bags which (surprise) weren’t there.
So we are sent from one person to another in attempt to retrieve them, at one point we end up in a restricted area and get kicked out. Finally we talk to a manager of the airline Air Lingus, and he tells us that Delta is responsible for our lost bags, but he wants to get us to Dublin that day, but we are worried about our two backpacks with everything we brought for our trip.
Apparently it wasn’t up to us and they said that our bags would be in Dublin before we got there… they weren’t. So at 12am we are talking to the bag attendant who tells us that the area we are staying is not a pleasant one, and that our bags will be delivered by noon the next day. Now we are bag-less and a little frightened with the newfound news.
The place wasn’t as bad as we imagined, and the people we stayed with were great. The bags didn’t come the next day, and we missed crossing the delivery truck’s path to go to the airport and find them. It takes another 2 hours to finally get back to the carousels again, and I watch the bags drop onto it from the plane they got in on, late of course. It was a rough start, but we made it!
I can only imagine that taking a plane in hell, an experience such as that would be the norm.
(Pictures inserted for calming effect)