Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Adventurous travel takes on a whole new meaning

Unfortunately, I’m not the calm, cool and collected person that Sigve is. When something unplanned for and unexpected happens, he’s just that, calm, cool and collected. I’m not.

We got to Barcelona Airport early on Monday, and had plenty of leisure time before our flight home.

Half an hour before the scheduled departure at 5.10 pm, we were told that a bomb threat in Amsterdam had delayed all flights out of Schiphol, and subsequently all flights to Schiphol. The captain and another flight officer mingled with the waiting passengers at the gate, giving out information and answering questions. At least one hour delay.

We settled down to read. At 5.30 pm I went to the desk to ask about internet connection, and just happened to mention our connection to Stavanger. Big stir. No, we would not make that connection, and we had been rebooked on Lufthansa (we were on KLM) via Frankfurt, departing in less than an hour. “Go to belt 6, pick up your suitcases, go outside, check in again at Lufthansa, go back through security and the plane leaves at 6.35 pm.”

This is where the not being calm, cool and collected comes in. I took off, Sigve could barely keep up with me. Fould Belt 6. No suitcases. Asked at Ground Force information. They recommended we wait another 10 mins, if still no suitcases, we should file missing luggage report, and just fly. So done. The conveyor belt remains empty.

Then being told we had waited in vain anyway as they had refused to open the cargo hold and offload suitcases, when already being so late. I know this sounds weird as we are frequently told that they have to offload suitcases if the owners are not on board. Anyway, starting paper work, describing the suitcases etc. Computer system goes down. The guy says ”go, I will call you with the reference number in a few minutes.” We go, through costums to arrival hall, departure hall, and to Lufthansa check-in counter. The guy looks like a question mark, but hands us our boarding cards. Gate? Check the screens! The luggage guy calls with the reference number.

Security. Fortunately no waiting. But since we last went through security, I had bought a bottle of diet coke, now stowed in my purse. We had also bought our quota of duty free wine, and had stowed some of it in our carry-ons. Unpack, rearrange, remember to take out computer and other liquids too. Exept for the coke bottle. I go through the screening portal. Beeping, and I’m wearing the same as before. I know I have no metal on me. Body search, shoe screening. Then, pointing to my purse, ”Do you have a bottle in there?” I’m like a question mark before it dawns on me. Of course I do. ”Mam, you can not take that through with you!” As if I don’t know that…
Repacking, stowing, stuffing. Running.

In hind sight, it must have totally unnessecary to go out and then back in, especially since we had no suitcases to check. But nobody said that, I did not think, I was going on auto pilot, just doing what we were told.

This flight is delayed too, so I get a five minute breather. We did not get seats together, so I ask the air hostess if changing is possible, and it is. She notices that I have been running, and as I stow my carry-on, I tell her what has happened.  ”Can I get you something to drink right now?” Bless her.

The light is fading, and I get my last outdoor shots of the day out of the plane window.

Frankfurt. Just enough time to make the next flight. But my adrenalin rush is over and my feet will not move faster than a slow walk. The lady at the transfer desk says that they are boarding in 10 mins, and "you need to get there fast". Fortunately the tunnel has an moving walk-way.

Delayed again. Arrived in Stavanger at 00.10 am.

Heaven knows where our luggage is. The reference number from Barcelona gave my name as Irina Ivanova. The luggage guy said that with my blond hair I looked like I could be an Irina Ivanova. It did not feel like a complement. Somewhere in Russia a person called Inger-Marie Sæverud must be trying to claim her suitcases.

Our friend Einar was waiting patiently, and drove us to his house where our car was parked. Got home at 03.15 am. A few hours sleep. Sigve went to work, and I started my day having my morning coffee in a hot bath to unwind from it all.

Sometimes I wish I was the calm, cool and collected person that Sigve is...

I'm so grateful for:
* Getting to go away together on a much needed vacation
* Meeting awesome people who became wonderful friends
* Being safe

Our suitcases were delivered to us two days later :-)


Kittie Howard said...

What a harrowing return trip home! Actually, I think you remained very calm, considering how you were yanked about. Anyway, welcome home!

Kay L. Davies said...

I can sure understand, and sympathize. I can't walk very fast at any time, so I have my ticket marked "help needed at airport" and they usually let my husband come along beside my wheelchair, but not always. When they do, it sure speeds things up.

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

teri said...

I have been away from checking in on you for two whole weeks... And here you are taking photos running through airports! Glad you made it home safely, get some rest. I love the image of the moving walk-way.

Laura said...

wow what a story Inger...I'm glad you are ok and everything worked out...wait, did you ever get your luggage??? I'm with Teri...that blue moving walkway photo is amazing!!!

Joyful said...

Wow, that sounds like quite the ordeal and scary at the airport with the threat. Glad you're home safe and recovering from the stress.

Paul said...

Should we avoid standing next to you when we travel to Greece?

Leovi said...

Nice pictures, great framing and wonderful reflections. I wish him well. Greetings.

nil said...

That was some eventful trip alright!

I quite like your blog, bumped in here via Karen's :)
Hope to see you around blogsville and my page!

Barb said...

Gosh, Inger, I think I'm calm, but I could feel my adrenaline rise reading your story! I had to smile though about the change of name. I'm glad at least your suitcases are safely back home - better to have a luggage delay when returning then when arriving! It makes a good story now that it's over!

arabesque said...

oh! i hate it when things don't go the way as you;ve planned.
that's one of the things I dread when I travel.
luckily though, i haven't experienced it yet.!
but as for the 3 C's, hah! i'm neither one of them!

Birgitta said...

What a story! Thanks for telling us about your trip. Very nice photos also!

Rita said...

sorry to be so slow returning your visit to my macro post last week. Since my cancer treatments my schedule is seldom sane. or predictable.

I am also sorry to read about Sigve's cancer. I have Hodgkin's lymphoma and my next door neighbor is currently hospitalized for treatment of her recently diagnosed leukemia.

Will add Sigve to my prayer list for a full recovery.

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