Essentially Snowed In

Finally arrived to Edinburgh – one problem: the giant snow storm that took over the rest of Europe in the past week just hit the UK and has shut everything down.

Those are the view from the hostel window, which has basically been the only part of Edinburgh I’ve seen besides the places along the bus route here. After having to drag my suitcase up a giant, snowy hill to the hostel, I was exhausted enough to sleep all day.

Side note – I really should remember that if your hostel is next to a castle, that means it is at the top of a hill. And you should take a taxi.

Hopefully it’ll be better tomorrow so I can see more of the city, but as of now the city is shut down and I’m taking shelter in the hostel, watching the snow from a distance.

P.S. Dad – I’m exhausted and freezing, but still alive. (Yes, it is the return of the ‘I’m not gonna call my dad everyday so here is proof I am alive’ sign off)

A Bit of A Delay

When the plane broke yesterday, there was the usual massive group of angry passengers vying to get on the next possible flight to their destination. I, on the other hand, was very flexible – I’ll be in Europe 6 weeks, I don’t mind a day delay. So I decided to call customer service and have them rebook me, staying very calm and open to whatever works best for the airline. Maybe if I’m nice enough they’ll upgrade me, right? (It has happened before.)

Unfortunately for me, I got the world’s most incompetent representative. According to this employee, every flight for the next week is preemptively delayed and my only choice is to go to Charolette (a 3 hour drive away) to fly out; fly into Gatwick (a 1 hour train from Edinburgh); or refund my ticket (which would mean buying a $2000 last minute, one way ticket with another airline). Obviously none of these were acceptable options. 😑

Instead I spent 40minutes on the phone, and finally convinced the employee to put me on an early connection to Newark on the 27th, and get me on (accord to him) ‘the next 8pm connection to Edinburgh’. With a disturbingly long layover in Newark. Now, later I found out there is an 8pm connection every day, but at the time I agreed I did not know this. (Future update – all flights were on time and I had a sickening 5 hours to kill time in the most boring and expensive airport on earth.)

So essentially my Edinburgh trip is going to be cut short a few days, but I’m okay with it. I got to repack and take out some pointless things, go to the gym for an unnecessarily long run, eat some delicious home cooked food, and cuddle with Phantom more. But good lord, 7 pointless hours at the airport and a horribly incompetent customer service representative was not the best way to start a long trip.

Side note – if you ever have checked bags and need to be rebooked, only talk with the airline representative at the desk because you’ll have to talk to them anyway to get your bags back/changed to your new reservation. Not worth dealing with a person on the phone.

Attempt Number One

I was suppose to fly out of Raleigh today. I said goodbye to Phantom, packed my bags in the car, went to the airport, and sat there – for 4 hours. The weather front in the northeast delayed my flight from RDU to Newark to the very last second; any more time and I would have for sure missed my connection.

To my relief, we boarded the plane and I was off on my Grand Adventure 2018! The plane started down the runway, picking up speed fast. But right as the wheels were lifting off the ground, the plane came to a screeching halt, essentially taking off and landing at the same time.

The first thought through my head was ‘oh gosh, is another plane in our way? Will we have enough runway to stop?’ Ultimately I settled on ‘well, this is a new experience!’

It turns out the plane had a mechanical error where there was a massive flux in power to the engines in the middle of takeoff. Thankfully we were in a position to stop easily and no one was hurt, but of the thousands of flights I’ve taken – and of the thousands my best friend who works for the airline had taken – we had never heard of that kind of error.

No such thing as uneventful travel for me though, right?