Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Hello Everyone! We had another adventurous weekend, but a little more than we bargained for—after arriving home a few days late. This post will be in two parts: one for obstacles and the other for pictures. On Friday, we traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland to experience the Christmas celebrations even though we didn’t know it at the time of planning. We stayed in a—“colder than a well digger’s ass in Montana" Inn--because apparently they shut off their heat to save on energy. I guess they didn’t read about the dropping temperatures into the 20s, so by the time Sunday rolled around, we were ready to head home and thaw out.

Before leaving for the airport, we ate breakfast at the Inn and saw this outside (picture). The owner said this amount of snow was very unusual for Edinburgh as we looked out the window—mouths wide—hoping we’ll make it to the airport in one piece.
While we were driving to the airport, I decided to take a picture of some sheep’s grazing…or trying to keep above the snow, and the snow-filled trees. By this time, I hoped they had an “Oh Shit” handle on the passenger’s side, because the snow wouldn’t let up and traffic crawled.

We arrived with enough time to drop off the car, walk fifty miles (that’s what the European experience is at airports—walking down long hallways and going up and down stairs), and go through security. We made it, BUT the flight is now delayed four hours—more than enough time to find somewhere to sit and grow anxious while watching the falling snow. The delayed time creeps up and we find out the flights canceled. Ryanair so graciously stated if we want to rebook or cancel to please go to ryanair.com. BLAH, BLAH! They left everyone stranded—no one could even get to the website to do anything.

My Love contacted his mother to see if she could get us a flight from anywhere to anywhere in Germany or Brussels while we talked to different car companies to rent a car. AHA! We had a flight booked at Gatwick Airport, and we got a great deal to rent a car. Our driving journey began Sunday night for a few hours before we decided to stop at a hotel to sleep. We had been dealing with travel since the morning, so we slept and woke very early to continue on. Below is a map of the U.K. and I circled our beginning point, Edinburgh to our destination, Gatwick Airport.

I must stress that I didn’t do any of the driving. My Love was stuck since I left my driver’s license at the flat, I’ve never driven a manual car, and everything is on the opposite side—drive on the right and the roads are on the right. He drove the entire way—AND STILL—after all this time—did not complain. He just went along with everything. Psstt…I think this is why I fell in love with him…anyone who knows me knows I’m high maintenance, compulsive and anal. He’s VERY good for me.

We did make a stop at a town called Windsor before getting to the airport. At first, we thought about Stratford-Upon-Avon, but I was already there. Here are a few pictures of Windsor.

We arrive at the gate 1-1/2 hours prior to take off to find out the flight is canceled due to snow in Dusseldorf. We just drove 356 miles! It’s Monday—another day lost! At that moment, I was about ready to cry and I dropped the F-bomb a few times. Now what? I pull my Love with me and we head up to the EasyJet desks to rebook for early tomorrow morning. The line behind us was extremely long, but we ran to get there before most. My Love had his mom try to rebook us online, but she couldn’t. When we got to the counter, the representative was about to book us on a 7:10 a.m. flight to Cologne, but because my Love’s mother was online, it locked the account. The representative said it takes about 15 minutes to unlock itself; meanwhile we waited as seat-by-seat started to fill on this flight. FINALLY, she was able to book us seats on this flight—the last two seats. I couldn’t believe it and I thanked God right there and then.

EasyJet set everyone up in a hotel room for the night and fed us. Thank you, EasyJet. You guys ROCK! This morning, we sat on the plane (delayed) while they de-iced the wings and arrived in Cologne later this morning. From there, we had to take two trains to get to the station in Hattingen, where we walked home with our heavy carry-ons.

We’re Home!

So, how was your weekend? Get any shopping done?



  1. Whew! What an adventure! Great & appropriate title! I don't blame you for not driving during the snow (not to mention the whole manual car/right-side-of-the-road thing). The photo of the sheep is very telling. Glad you made it back safely. Yet again, you've probably had enough adventure to tuck away for future novelling.

    I was thinking...every time I come over here it's such a cool blog post, I feel like I'm reading a novel already: a little adventure, a jet-setting duo...a little romance... (((wink-wink))) Life in Chi-Town seems so hum-drum in comparison.

    Thanks for the update on how you're doing out there. Your posts make me smile. :D

  2. Wow Bea! Glad you guys made it back OK. Kind of like Murphy’s Law.

    I had a bad experience a few years back of taking 12 hours coming home from Louisville, that I still remember. United Airlines was just as customer unfriendly, un-informing and misleading as possible. It should have taken only 2 hours, but your adventure makes mine look like nothing.

    Shopping has been interesting this year as I already have had three instances where the prices have gone down a week or two after I made purchases. This happened at Best Buy, Amazon and Fannie May Candies. Fortunately I noticed the changes and got refunds. It’s funny if you don’t notice and ask for a refund they are certainly not going to tell you.

    Winter has started to present itself in force in the Chicago land area. A couple of weeks ago we had near Spring like weather and in recent days it's steadily gotten colder and colder (bitter with the wind) and today snow.
    Hope you get to enjoy future travels much more and you'll say this isn’t bad I remember when etc.

    Take care!!

  3. Hey Barb, I knew if I even attempted driving, we would be in a snow bank within 3 minutes of me getting behind the wheel. We actually had a trip planned to Bologna, Italy this weekend but we canceled. It’s time to rest.

    Aw, you’re too sweet. I’m glad you like reading snippets of my life’s novel. As much as I’m enjoying the experiences, I still miss my family and friends back home.

    Take care and I’ll be in Chi-Town for the holidays…If airports are in operation.

    Veejay, I’ve heard United Airlines is one of the worst in customer service. They ranked the lowest. EasyJet is the first airlines I’ve been on where they had some organization, and treated people with respect. Even on the flight the pilot apologized for the delay (not a mechanical apology) and thanked us for our patience along with the steward(s)(ess) bringing beverages to those requesting.

    LOL! You are so right about refunds. Many people buy and move on to the next item without keeping an eye on the item prices they already purchased. I’m one of those people. That’s one of the most frustrating things—to find out you paid twice the amount for something everyone else got a bargain for.

    I don’t feel bad that you’re getting snow, because we’ve had cold temperature and snow for a while. :D Take care, Veejay.