Sunday, August 28, 2011

Missed trains and a plane

So as previously mentioned, I was travelling with my mother August 12-23. We were in Italy and then in Nice, France (which was her last minute decision because she likes that boring and extremely overpriced and overrated place, I actually had flights and a hotel booked for us in Bari).

We had flights out of Milan, hers back to Russia via Istanbul, mine back to Berlin, both within an hour of each other. To cut a long story relatively short, first and then second taxi failed to show up to drive us to the train station  in Nice (we were supposed to take 3 trains to get to Milan and then a bus to the airport there), people in the street refused to help us get there (for $, obviously), regular cars wouldn't stop, it was 04.30am, so no public transportation, policemen didn't give us a ride (in films they always do...), we missed the perfectly timed trains and my actual worst nightmare came to life.

I kept thinking that I will probably wake up soon.

If it had been me alone, it wouldn't have been so bad, or me with a friend. But with my mother it was the worst, because, first of all, the stress was enormous for her and secondly, she wouldn't like... run and do something crazy like I would do to make it for the train and so on.

We took later trains, with them we had a small chance of making it for my mother's flight, but the last train was 10 minutes late (I mean this is Italy we're talking about). This was already 8 hours after the day had started for us. From Milan central station we took a taxi to the Bergamo airport (which cost me 100EUR!.. last winter I paid the same amount for 6 or 7 flights with Ryanair) and even though I called the airline and asked them to please hold the check in because "my mother has been discharged from the hospital late", they didn't and we arrived 13 minutes after the check in was closed! Talk about devastation.

My mother had already lost it several times by then and was completely uncooperative when it came to coming up with something, just crying with her sunglasses on which added to the already insane situation. I had only 45 minutes left to check in for my flight and I had to do something. There were options for her to go to another airport and fly from there, but I had no Internet and couldn't be sure there'd be tickets and she'd actually make it, also I wasn't sure my sister was skilled enough to buy a ticket from home without my supervision and so on. Plus, on top of not being perfect with directions, my mother doesn't speak enough English to get by. And I couldn't leave her in a foreign country by herself! I couldn't stay because how else would I go back and we had a limited amount of money on us. Also, we couldn't rebook her tickets for anything earlier than like 5 days from Tuesday, for an enormous fine, and we didn't have enough money for this many nights in a hotel anymore.

This was all happening in an overcrowded airport, 40C/105F outside, etc. etc. Somehow it was extremely emotional and nerve-wracking, I'm afraid words don't relay that very well. Eventually I bought a last minute ticket for her for same Ryanair flight to Berlin (the most expensive one-way ticket I ever bought, 300EUR, I had enough money by accident... I normally prefer not to take a lot of money so that there is no temptation to spend it).

We flew in here, she spent these 1.5 days in our flatshare. And then, on August 25, her birthday, she flew home. We actually had a good time here and except for the lost money, it all turned out fine, but I don't think I've ever been so stressed in my life. I mean, lots of people have missed flights in their lifetimes and probably it's not the end of the world, but it felt like it was...


Mari said...

I think you are very brave, in the first place to be traveling with your mom. If it had happened to me, we would have yelled at each other all day long.

I missed connecting flights a couple of times, in the US (always in Washington DC): after traveling from Europe, with jet-leg and everything,put in the waiting list for the next (and last) flight of the day, not being able to board, spending the night somewhere near the airport and having to be back at about 6am. Once we were awakened by the fire sirens around 2am. Firefighters came in a and we could "sleep" between" 4 and 5 am. On the next day we were of course too late for our room (and too early for the next free room) at the hotel, so we had to keep ourselves busy (we only wanted to sleep though...).

Anyway, back to transportation in really sucks!(send you a pic on twitter...)

True story said...

Damn, that sounds even more stressful! After such an exhausting fly all I'd want to do is sleep, too. I'm sorry to hear about these bad experiences. But they make for good stories eventually, don't they?

As for being brave... I don't know. It's my oversight that I thought I could travel with my mother like this, in reality she should only travel on packages - where there is a bus taking her to the doorstep of the hotel and tourists don't make any odd turns. But... you live and you learn, eh?

Maria said...

You couldn't have paid me to travel with my mother when I was younger and she was alive. So, I get it.

Anonymous said...

Horrorstory, but with happy ending.

When reading this, I'm kind of relieved all went so smooth when I went to Malta with my parents in spring (first trip together in 20 years)

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