The worst travel day ever
I am writing this looking out over the cutest little harbour, I am sitting in the bar of the Chelsea Harbour hotel, looking out at dreary London. We've had a good weekend of connecting up with fellow entrepreneurs, learning from Kyron's mentor Roger James Hamilton and launching our new financial education platform.
Getting here was a real adventure. The morning of our departure I posted: "Breakfast in Bulgaria, lunch in Germany and dinner in London today" expecting a smooth transition. That did not quite happen. Welcome to my worst travel day ever. Let me walk you through it.
Friday the 9th
7 am - the alarm goes off. I am not quite convinced of the necessity to get up.
7.20 am - Kyron threatens to empty a bottle of water over my head if I don't get up. I jump out of bed and give him death stares from the other side of the room.
8.00 am - trying to grab a taxi. Normally there are heaps around, where did they all go this morning?
8.10 am - we found a taxi: on our way to the airport!
8.30 am - The taxi driver asks us if we are going to terminal 1 or 2. We tell him to go to terminal 2.
8.35 am - The taxi drops us off.
8.40 am - It's not terminal 2.. the next shuttle buss will come in about 10 minutes. There are so many people waiting though that I'm not sure we're going to fit in.. Time is running out, we need to catch that flight!
8.50 - we found another bus to the right terminal. Things are looking up again.
9.00 - checked in and waiting in the lounge for our flight to depart. They've got good orange juice
10.20 - we are off to Cologne! I was hoping to meet my grandparents, but sadly that didn't work out. I will however eat ALL the food! Damn I miss German food!
12.00ish - we arrived. We got through customs smoothly and are ready to catch a train to the city.
12.15 - found the ticket machine for the train, that line is so long! Why aren't there more machines? Train leaves in 9 minutes.
12.17 - why doesn't this machine accept ANY creditcards?
12.21 - back to the end of the line of another machine
12.27 - saved by 2 lovely Spanish guys who lent me 10 cents so I can buy my tickets
12.41 - next train to Cologne leaves
13.10 - all the places look lovely, however neither have the specific food I want. Hangry raging sets in...
13.40 - Finally! Bratkartofeln, Schnitzel (yes I cheated on my vegetarian lifestyle, because: German food!)
14.20 - I notify Kyron that he'll have to roll me to the airport because I am so full.
15.00 - we are at the trainstation. I proceed to spend way too much money on books. However I now own a book advertising "not entirely legal relationship tricks". I consider this to be an investment.
16.00 - back at the airport and hanging out in the most amazing lounge
18.15 - our plane is boarding! Soon we'll be in London. I am already super tired but tonight we'll have to go to meet up with some people.. I secretly wish we wouldn't have to.
18.45 - all ready to go! One more hour and we are in London (at 9pm local time)
19.00 - we are still on the ground. I didn't notice this at first because my book was so funny. Ah well, it sometimes takes a little while.
19.15 - our captain tells us that there is a problem with the engine and they are calling an engineer to have a look at it. "The engineer should be here in 45 minutes"..
20.00 - the engineer is here. He should be able to fix the problem. Within an hour. We are told to stay put for the time being.
21.00 - Supposedly it's not the engine but the panel that should be showing the engine (or something like that, I am not technical and slightly cranky at this point)
21.30 - We are told that we'll be leaving the plane shortly to wait for the problem to be resolved
22.00 - Shortly seems to have a different meaning in Germany than in other countries... It reminds me of "Spanish/Moroccan" time (slightly flexible concept of time, my fellow travellers will understand)
22.30 - yep we are leaving the aircraft. There is no food but some crappy sandwiches at the gate we are at and we cannot go to the McDonalds, which big yellow letters are haunting me from the other side of customs. They have called another plane over from Warschau. We are given the option to not fly today, however we have to be at the conference in about 8.5 hours, we really don't have a choice.
23.00 - Kyron gets an e-mail that the flyers we needed for the event aren't where they should be. Ryan air starts handing out coupons for food (which we already bought a while ago)
23.01 - apparently we are boarding now. We -along with all the other passenger- get rushed into the "tunnel" (by lack of a better word) that leads into the plane.
23.14 - we are still in the tunnel
23.30 - back in the plane again
0.30 am - we land in London. London Stansted that is. We are hoping there is still a train/bus going into the city
00.40 - we separate at customs due to different passports. Assuming I'll be through quicker I tell Kyron I'll buy the tickets while I wait for him to make it through. We turn around the corner. The non-European line is completely empty, the EU one is madness. Let the elbow game begin.
00.42 - I picked the wrong line, however mine doesn't actually seem to move that much slower. Another corner.. F**** there is a 20 line deep labyrinth like structure I have to pass through to get to the customs officer. The whole thing is packed. The other one is only 7 lines deep, however there is no way back, the babies in front and behind me are having a screaming contest
00.50 - I bet Kyron is already through customs, I hope he doesn't think I left and walked out. 17 more lines to go
1.00 - I am starting to have a mini meltdown. Almost through customs, I see Kyron at the other end. I bet he's had a smooth ride.
1.10 - Apparently Kyron almost didn't get into the country. That would have been a real nightmare. The counter for the bus we wanted to take is already closed, Another one is leaving in 5 minutes, we run down, hoping to catch it.
1.12 - Luckily Kyron was smart enough to take out cash. We get on the bus closest to us and relax.
1.15 - The bus besides us has already left. We know it takes at least an hour to get to London, after that we still have to take the metro. It's Friday night though, we might get lucky
1.23 - on our way, why is that French couple so loud?
1.47 - seriously, WHY ARE THEY SO LOUD?
2.00 - can they please stop talking?
2.07 - they have got more energy than Kyron, this is ridiculous
2.10 - oh shit we have to be up in less than 4 hours, actually talking and socialising, this is important, how will I ever get through a (at least) 12 hour day after this?
2.25 - we are at the metro station. Our line has already closed for the night. Luckily there is a cab.
2.27 - driver, please please go! You turned on the meter 2 minutes ago so let's go!
3.00 - we are at the place we are staying. Finally, sleep!
3.02 - walking into the elevator is like walking into the headlights of a car. I am awake
3.08 - I am awake, this bed is too small for two people (or maybe just us), I can feel the springs in the mattress and will the people in the hallway please stop yelling?!
3.12 - seriously, WHY ARE THEY SO LOUD?!
3.27ish - sleep, finally
3.32 - ok, it's a Friday night but this is ridiculous. It takes a lot to wake me up but these hallway guys just succeeded. Also, will Kyron please stop fidgeting?
3.35 - the guy is snoring, there is no way I can sleep like this. I'll try pushing him over
3.37 - pfff, that turned into a mission, I almost have him on his side
3.38 - Kyron wakes up and looks offended, I don't care dude, I am over all of this.
3.40 - sleep
6.00am - The alarm goes off. I am not quite convinced of the necessity to get up.
6.02 am - Kyron threatens to empty a bottle of water over my head if I don't get up. I give him a pained look, stumble out of bed. Let's do this.