Travel has a way of teaching you to always expect the unexpected and more importantly, to accept the unexpected when it arrives. You just have to hope you’re well rested and up for an adventure when the time comes.
The journey home began around 1am on Sunday morning. After a family party and night out at the pub in Ireland, I said my goodbyes and boarded the overnight bus headed to the Dublin airport. From there I had a five hour wait until my first flight to Oslo where I would have another lengthy wait before my return flight to New York City. By the time I landed in Norway I was in desperate need of a serious nap. I was also starving so I made my way through customs and headed to the food court (my favorite area of any airport). I knew Norway was expensive but nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to discover — the price of a banana. This discovery came about by another discovery — that I couldn’t afford a slice of pizza. As a budget traveler, there is no way I could justify spending $8 on one slice of pizza. So instead I opted for a bottle of water, a banana and a coffee, which came to about $10. I swallowed the cost and went to my gate. I waited and waited and waited some more. Five hours later it was about time to begin boarding, or so I thought. One delay lead to the next. Hours were passing and the aggravation was building among all 200 passengers. With no airline employee in sight, people’s aggravation was starting to get the best of them. People were demanding answers and the airport employees had nothing except, “We will let you know when the problem has been resolved and the plane is safe to fly.” If that isn’t reassuring I don’t know what is.
After four grueling hours an airport employee finally announced that the flight was canceled and they would “let us know when it’s rescheduled.” From that moment on it was like mayhem in Oslo. People were yelling, some were crying and the rest of us were running around like a chicken with our heads cut off trying to figure out what to do. Fortunately, the airline provided a hotel free of charge. The downside to that was they had three airline employees trying to book over 200 people into a hotel. It was a long night to say the least.
After another couple hours of waiting for luggage and for the bus to the hotel I finally arrived to my room and nearly collapsed on the bed. The next four hours of sleep were going to be vital in getting through the next travel day! I set three alarms and asked my mom to FaceTime me so I wouldn’t oversleep. I was not missing my flight home the following morning!
I woke up and grabbed breakfast with some new friends in the hotel lobby. I love the sense of camaraderie that comes hand in hand with travel disasters. By the time our plane finally took off I looked around and could see that everyone was leaving Oslo with new friends. It’s such a good feeling to see strangers come together like this!
I still had two meal vouchers from the night before that the airline representative assured me I could use that morning so I went to grab some munchies for the plane (since they don’t serve ANY complimentary food or beverages during the flight). The cashier informed me that my vouchers weren’t valid because they weren’t dated correctly. At this point all you can really do is laugh. I paid for my $6 coffee and waited with my new friend Shayla at the gate. Of course, the flight took off about and hour and half late but we landed safely and that’s the most important thing. The five hour train home to Syracuse was long and cold and also delayed but 50 hours later I finally arrived back home to my parents house in Lafayette and I couldn’t have been happier! My dream of visiting Norway came true, kind of. The catastrophe wasn’t a complete fail. I left Oslo with a new friend and learned an important lesson: do your research before booking a flight based solely on it’s cost. There is probably a reason it’s so cheap!
I’m adjusting to American life slowly but surely. The upcoming couple of weeks will be jam-packed with family time, visiting friends and getting ready for my next adventure. Details on that coming very soon =)