You can’t always have sweet grapes
In life, you will have travel days that are great, where everything goes according to plan and you reach your destination on time. And then you will have travel days where things don’t go as smoothly as you hope. Stew and I have done our fair share of travelling this year, and we have been very lucky to have great travelling days… that is, until Sunday the 7th of October. The worst travelling day EVER, and hopefully the last of its kind!
You may be wondering how bad it could have been, right? Our flight was probably delayed (we wish) or took a bit longer than expected (would have been a dream). Nope!
Here’s what happened.
Now travelling from Siegen is generally a lengthy process. First, we have to take a bus from our apartment (well, close to our apartment) to the Flix bus Stop which is in town. Then we catch a Flix Bus (because it is the cheapest option) to Frankfurt Airport. This bus ride generally takes 2 and a half hours. No problem, we don’t mind.
Then we catch our flight out to wherever we are going, and then connecting busses/trains etc. So usually it’s a whole day of travel. Again, no stress, we are blessed to be able to see so many places so we do what we must.
So as per usual, we booked our Flix Bus which was meant to arrive in Siegen at 10:20. This would bring us to the airport just 12:30ish, in time to check in and catch our flight which left at 14:20. So we take our bus to the Flix Bus Stop, and we wait… and wait… and wait. Usually, the bus stop is filled with people waiting, so Stew and I thought it was a bit strange that there weren’t many of us there. After about 40min, we start asking around to see if anyone was catching the same bus as us… no luck.
At this point…
I realise that I received a message a few days ago that one of my Flix Bus rides was cancelled and that they were going to send a new ticket. Now you are probably thinking “Gabi, you are such a nut! You should have rebooked”. Well, in my defence, I had 4 bus rides booked with Flix Bus. The message didn’t say which one was cancelled, and I never received any email with a new ticket. Also, Stew never received an email with a new booking either, and he was the one who booked these tickets. So we thought it may be a mistake. I also checked on the Flix Bus app, and you could still purchase tickets for that specific Flix Bus ride… so surely it could not have been cancelled.
After waiting about an hour we start to get quite antsy (well I was a bit panicky). We decided not to wait any longer because clearly, the bus was not coming. Okay, so we had to come up with an alternative solution – the train. This would cost a bit extra, but we made our way to the train station anyway. Just our luck, the train that would have brought us to the airport on time to check in, had just left. The next train was in 50min. At this point, I was quite frustrated, as you can imagine. Luckily Stewart is the calm one in these situations.
I should probably mention that we do not have sim card contracts, so we function in Wi-Fi only areas… which are very limited in Siegen. Whoops.
Right, so now we have lost a lot of time and it’s getting really close to 12:00. Our final ray of hope is to drive to the airport. Why didn’t we do that in the first place? Well, driving there means money for petrol as well as 140 euros to park your car there for a week (if you do not pre-book, otherwise it’s about 45 euros). We try to keep our travels as budget friendly as possible.
So, being Sunday, the busses from the train station to where we stay are scarce, so we did the 35min speed walk all the way home, grabbed the car keys, and hit the road (praying we would make it on time).
The roads were crazy busy and full of roadworks. Even with the limitless Autobahn, we only got to the airport at 13:45. Yup, our chances were dwindling quite fast. But still, we hoped. We ran to the check-in counter and asked if we could make it. Instead of phoning the Gate and asking them to wait, they told us to go straight to the Gate, with our luggage. So we ran to the control point, where they treated our check-in luggage as if it were hand luggage… so they took away all our toiletries, except out toothbrushes and toothpaste. Thanks, guys! Then they wanted us to open the bag again for ANOTHER check. So I left Stew to do that and I sprinted to the Gate to ask them to wait.
Do I make it on time?
I get there, and the Gate is closed. Nobody there. So I ask a member of the Rhine air staff standing around, and he directs us to another lady, who tells us that it is too late. When the Gate is closed, you have missed the flight. My heart dropped. Even though I knew it was a very slim chance we would make it, I really hoped.
At this point, it was probably for the best that there were no Flix bus staff members around because I would have had some words with them. Let’s just say, my emotional state was not great at this point. No flight, and now our toiletries were confiscated – I had just restocked those haha. Ah, Murphy. But, alas, the only thing left to do was decide on the next step.
Try not to miss a flight, rebooking one can be quite expensive! So the options were: Stew could catch a flight that evening and I could just not go, or Stew and I could both fly the next day which was cheaper, but he would miss a day of his conference. And the final option, the one we agreed on, was that Stew would fly that evening, I would drive home and do the journey (Flix bus and all) the next day. The best option, but as you can imagine, I was still in a highly emotional state.
After booking new flights, booking a new Flix bus ticket (making a mistake with the date and then rebooking it), the only obstacle left was me taking on the Autobahn for the first time, alone. “That’s no problem man, that’s awesome!” you may be thinking. Well, as awesome as no speed limit may be to some, it’s quite terrifying for first timers with a car that is not as fast as 80% of the other cars. Also, the Autobahn is no joke, people take no prisoners! If you aren’t alert 100% of the time, it can be dangerous. BUT, I did it! Put my big girl pants on, and drove like it was nobody’s business… in the slow lane hahaha. Oh, and did I mention that I was almost out of petrol… Yup. Our Bad luck ice-cream Sunday needed the cherry on top. Needless to say, the petrol light went on as I got home.
Raquel, here is where I say “do as I say and not as I do” haha.
I am always the one saying “put in petrol before it gets to the red line, don’t risk it. But this time, I risked it all the way home. Again, I have not data on my phone, so if I ran out of petrol, I would have no way of calling anyone. You may call it risky, I call it badass.
But, let’s not dwell on a terrible day. Even though I had no toiletries to shower with or brush my teeth, and all shops are closed on Sunday. The next day turned out to be much better! My Flix bus arrived, my flight was basically on time, I made it to Padua and even found the hotel using a makeshift map Stew sent me! After brushing my teeth, taking a shower, pasta and Gelato, I felt a whole lot better! Worth it? A week of pizza and Gelato is ALWAYS worth it!