I am sitting in a train in Geneva, and for the first time today am relaxing enough to breathe and blog.
I can quite honestly say that I have never before been in so many countries in one day. Four since lunch time, for the record, and that’s quite enough for today. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a direct flight from Tallinn to Geneva, so a quick jaunt over to Helsinki was required. This did not seem particularly problematic… until the flight was delayed enough to make me miss my connecting flight.
There’s nothing worse than sitting at an airport so close to the one that you actually want to be in, and knowing that if you’d started to swim at the time when you checked in, you would’ve made it. Still, the Baltic’s still awfully cold; and so it was that I gritted my teeth and jiggled my foot for the duration ridiculously short flight.
Humorously, we landed in Helsinki just in time to see my flight to Geneva taking off. So that was nice. I joined the crowd of grumbling people at the transfers desk, thinking that I’d maybe get a free night in a nice hotel out of it, since there were no more flights to Geneva until the morning.
I had barely finished the thought when I found myself on a plane to Frankfurt. It was all very bewildering. In fact, I didn’t even know I was going to Frankfurt until the pilot announced that it was so – I hadn’t had time to ask, or to do anything for that matter, other than grab the boarding pass that was thrust into my hands, and run like a maniac towards the gate, which was closing. What about my luggage? I called desperately over my shoulder. The transfers woman waved me on. We will try! she replied unconvincingly. If it is not there in Geneva you can fill out a form! Great.
Surrendering my luggage to Helsinki, I got on to the mystery plane and sat there with my head in my hands as they announced that they weren’t allowed to take off because it was windy. Sake. An hour, we sat there. And then, another few hours later, I was dumped out of the plane into the overwhelming city-within-a-city that is Frankfurt Airport.
According to my phone pedometer, I have walked 5.6 miles through airports today. Most of this was in Frankfurt. You know in cartoons, when they have a character walking down a long corridor or road or something, and they just repeat the background objects on a loop? That is what reaching gate A28 in Frankfurt Airport feels like. Especially when you reach it and discover that your flight has been moved to gate B8. It was at this point that I shed a silent weary tear: a tear for my feet, for my dehydrated body, for my aching head, and for my luggage, floating aimlessly around Europe at that moment. I wouldn’t have minded so much about the luggage, except that Eeyore was in it, and this has caused me more trauma today than it would to the average 27-year-old.
What about my luggage? I asked desperately at the gate as they tried to push me on to the plane. They didn’t understand that Eeyore was probably lost in Helsinki. Yes, yes, said the girl encouragingly, your luggage was checked on in Tallinn to come right through! Do not worry.
But… but… I tried desperately, but it was no use. I resigned myself to having to fill out a form and be clothesless for several weeks.
I cannot quite describe the levels of joy and euphoria and relief when I saw my suitcase trundling faithfully along the conveyor belt. I sang a little tired-but-happy song as I tried to find the train station, and now I am on a train, and le prochain arrêt est Lausanne, which is my cue to pack away my laptop. Hails in Switzerland: the story begins.
And I am never, never putting Eeyore in my checked baggage again.