we finally arrived in India and found the time and energy to post the below, which we wrote on the plane just after leaving Norway.
Oh boy, what an eventful start into our backpack trip around the world. Today early in the morning, we calculated a little extra time as the airport in Hamburg announced, that there will be a strike of the ground staff starting with the early shift. As we arrived there we saw the people already gathering with their flags and vests branded in union colors… Thoughts like: Will we leave? If yes, will our luggage leave with us? Not to worry… as good Germans we calculated this in. Arrived on time (before the strike was announced – they said it should start around 6 am) – good for us that we were there at 5! 😉 Sleep is overrated anyways. 😛
But a miracle happened. Contrary to the comments we got from the ground staff, our luggage arrived safely and on time with us in Oslo! We couldn’t hope for more. We couldn’t have been so wrong…
At the airport in Oslo, first we locked our backpacks away and then tried to figue out, how to get to the city. As we were looking on the board with the next connections, a crazy idea struck us and we spontaneously decided not to go directly to Oslo but instead to Lillehammer, the home of Johnny Henriksen and of course the winter Olympics 94’ :D. Lillehammer was beautiful, as we imagined and as saw it in the TV show. It was freaking cold! Minus 13° Celsius, snow everywhere, ice, cars with spikes and people moving around with sleighs. – As you would imagine Norway in winter. The train ride was a bliss, wonderful winter landscapes with snow, mountains and frozen lakes the whole way (and free WIFI!!!)! Unfortunately, this spontaneous couple not only decided to lock their big backpacks at the airport, but also decided not to take any of their well packed winter cloths with them – the hand luggage was packed for Istanbul with a forecasts of 12 -15°C Long story short- We froze our “behinds” off, had tasty tea and saw what there is to see from the city (that one street with the wooden houses) and decided to take an earlier train back to Oslo to have some lunch/dinner.
We arrived hungry in Oslo and were heading to this amazing fish store which had a petit bistro to have some fresh fish and a drink. While we were sitting and staring at the market place in front of us, smug and content with ourselves that we decided to take this trip and make memories for our live, we did not know it would start with a “bang” right away. Just to be sure, we took our Turkish Airways boarding passes out to check when we have to be at the airport to pick up our backpacks and leave for boarding. We checked already yesterday that our flight was late (9:30 pm) so we had all the time. But while looking at our documents, we realized two boarding times. One at 9:30 pm and the other at 5:50 pm, which was just a bit more than an hour from now. We ran to the main central station to catch one of the trains heading to the airport – we caught one by one minute left from departure! Thank you for accepting credit cards everywhere! Arriving at the airport we ran to reclaim our backpacks, then ran to the check-in desks to be turned away as we missed the last check-in possibility by ten minutes. The man at the desk was very firm and wouldn’t be swayed by our pleas to make an exception. He kindly pointed us to the lady at the Turkish Airline desk to whom we ran. She was at the beginning as stern as the guy at check-in, but when we calmed a little bit down and described our predicament that our boarding passes showed us two different times and it was very unclear for us when we had to be at the airport and that this was the reason we arrived late, she still wouldn’t let us through. She already checked flights for the next day, recommended us a hotel to stay and gave us the customer support email so that we could make our claim. We saw ourselves already staying one unplanned night in Oslo and buying new tickets to India. But then she saw the despair in our eyes, heard our story – this couldn’t be the end of the first day into our trip. It just could not. And it was not. The lady picked up the phone and made a call. After she put the phone down she gave us clear instructions:
- Run to the guy at the check-in. Drop your luggage. We will take care of it. We will send it to you!
- Then run through security. Do not stand in line – get through it. Make it happen.
- Once you are through: Run as fast as you can through the airport to terminal F (yes, it is the last one) and make it through the passport check. Do not stop at any cost and make it to your gate in 10 minutes. They will be waiting for you. Once you are through security all is up to you!
The instructions were very clear. We hauled our asses and ran as fast as we could (which unfortunately isn’t that fast 🙁 )! We flew past security – thank you strangers who’ve let us through. We ran zig zag through the terminal trying not to hit anyone. We flew past passport control and arrived at the gate ON TIME! We are currently writing this post from inside this plane. Guys, I just don`t know how lucky we are. We are so very thankful to the lady at Turkish Airlines, who definitely pulled some strings and made this happen. We will write to the airline and ask the management to give her an award!
This day two miracles happened. One, our luggage did not get lost and two, we made it to our flight probably with our luggage lost. I see you Karma! I see you clearly! 😀 UPDATE: Our luggage was actually checked through to India and arrived with us!
What do we learn from today?
- Triple-check your tickets at all times! If you notice inconsistencies get in touch with the airline.
- Be friendly to the staff. They appreciate this and in the end you will appreciate it as well. Being kind to people gives you good Karma points it seems.
- Pack extra clothing, just in case
That being said… after spending a day with spa treatments and delicious Turkish food, we will be heading to the Karma-Capital tomorrow: India!
Michael and Alice, mic drop…