Wednesday, January 18, 2006

36 hours later...

The good news is I made it to Spain safe and sound.

Monday was the day I was set to leave home and things had pretty much fallen into place. My visa had come in just in time, paper work was taken care of, I had said goodbye to friends and it looked like everything was going to fit into my suitcase. (By the way it is really something to figure out what you will need for a year and try to fit it into a suitcase and two carry-on bags.)

I think I woke up around 7:00 - please remember that number- and spent the morning doing some last minute things. I had about an hour of pre-trip anxiety but everything was fine and my family took me to the bus where we said goodbye. Once I was on my way the excitement really started to kick in.

At the airport I was told that the suitcase that I had stuffed as full as possible was 18 lbs over the limit. "Well, you have two choices," said the lady. "You can either buy yourself another suitcase or pay $35."

I paid the $35, sent the suitcase on its way and headed off for the security check.

Other than that everything was smooth. There was a couple of hours to wait at the airport but the passed quickly and in no time I was in the air watching movies and being served dinner. I had a window seat and the seat next to me was empty so I was able to take off my shoes and stretch out most of the way there. It would have been great for sleeping except that I love flying so much and was so excited to finally be on my way Europe. I tried to sleep but gave up thinking it wouldn't be that bad. Maybe I could doze on the next flight.

There was a lot of cloud over Munich and as we got closer to the ground we got snow. All I could see as we landed was farmland covered in snow. It actually looked very much like home. From the way things looked the runway could have been the Deseronto Road.

I was a little nervous because I had never had to catch a connecting flight before but I got checked through just fine. There were two big differences between the airport there and in Canada. One is that the shops look very fancy there and included expensive looking jewelry stores and a lingerie shop. The other difference was the booze. I got there at 9am and there were men sitting around having big glasses of beer with their breakfast.

There was a couple of hours wait for the flight but we were told there would be a delay because of the snow. Annoying but not that bad. When they did board us we were put on a bus and driven out to the runway. I couldn't believe it. This was a little plane and we had to get on it from a little set of stairs on the outside like in the old movies. Once again I had a seat to myself.

There was quite a bit of snow by this point so we had to wait. And wait, and wait. And then, "I'm sorry ladies and gentlemen. I have just been told that due to the snow there will be a delay of at least 3 -4 hours. This flight has been cancelled. "

Back we went on the bus to stand in line to get new flights. The line was long. I think I was standing in it for about an hour. When I finally got to the desk the lady found my another flight but said, "I can't book this, we have to go see my colleague."

Okay, over we go and this lady starts asking me if I speak German. No! Okay. I got booked onto another flight but didn't make it to the gate in time. So back I had to go to get a third flight booked. Now, by this point I was very aware of the fact that I had been awake for about 22 hours and was trying very hard not to cry as I waited in line again. It was okay, there was another flight but not until 7:30. I found my gate, sat down and figure out how to tell people where I was.

I got a calling card but had to get a stranger to explain how to use it because I didn't know how to dial within Europe and kept getting a German recording telling me I was doing it wrong. When I finally got it right the number I had for my friends was busy. I called and called and called but couldn't get through. I finally realized that I could use the card to call home but Mom could hardly hear me when I got her. At least I was able to tell her sort of what was going on and she said she would try to get in touch with our friends for me.

The plane finally left for Spain but not without about an hour delay. I got to sleep for about 10 minutes but was pretty revved up from dealing with everything. When we landed guess who's bag was missing.

I was never so happy to see friends in my life. It turned out their phone was not working but Dad had sent an email that got through and they were there to get me. Everything has been fine since.

The suitcase was brought over this evening.

Not counting the 10 minute nap I was up for a total of 36 hours so needless to say I am still a bit tired. I think I am going to go rest some more.

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