I don't like you London. In fact I've decided I don't miss you either.
Today began as any ordinary day (but then again my days haven't been too ordinary lately so maybe I shouldn't use that phrase). Bella and I both did our laundry, watched a movie, and sat around waiting for our flight at 6:10. We were taking a certain flight company out of London, RyanAir, maybe you've heard of them. Based in only Europe, they are notorious for their lack of customer service and "you're on your own attitude." Rumors can be heard that their pilots are pilots in training but I tried not to entertain that idea. Suffice to say we've heard horror stories of RyanAir overbooking their flights and people having to buy another ticket, despite already having bought one. RyanAir isn't big on customer service......Europe in general isn't big on customer service, but that's another story for another rainy day.
In an attempt to ensure that we didn't have any problems I told Bella that we should be there 3 hours early to ensure we make our flight. We did. But 3 hours wasn't really enough. Even 10 hours wouldn't have been enough. But I digress. We stood in line to check-in our luggage and heard the horror stories of all the people around us about RyanAir. Ha. We weren't going to be in that same boat. No sir. We is smart.
Well I went to the kiosk and scanned my ticket; it didn't scan (clue 1). I rejoined Bella, she told me our flight times had changed (clue 2). I went to look at my ticket it said 6:10 (clue 3). And then asked a friendly British fellow why I couldn't scan my ticket in. He said "here lemme have a look." I let him look. It was as if it happened in slow motion....he turned and looked at me and said "what time is it?" I replied "I'm here early, it's only 5:10." He looked closely at me and I knew what he was going to say before he said it "oh love, that was 6:10 this morning....we operate on a 24 hour clock here."
Oh...........................goodbye $80 and goodbye Milan, Italy.
Bella looked at my face and I told her the news. We quickly thanked him and got out of the queue (line). We had to create a plan fast. Plane tickets out of Stansted, England were $600. Not an option. We could ask Bella's sister to come back and pick us up. Also, not an option. We could take a train to Paris and then to Milan. That's an option.
So we got on the next train into London. Blasted London. Earlier, we had exchanged all our British currency for the Euro, so we were really going to wing it. I had a few extra dollars on my tube card so that hopefully would get us to where we need to be. Through a few slight of hands, we would pass that one card back between one person to another....the attendants never caught on.
We then arrived at the station, St. Pancras International Station, that had trains that could take us to Paris. The only problem was that they were booked for the next 3 days. Not an option. But he did have two tickets left for Brussels at 6:19am next day.
Now our options were to get a hostel in London which would be a bit pricey and hang out there for the next 10 hours....or save our money (as we just lost $80) and hang out at the train station. I rationalized that 10 hours isn't a long time in the grand scheme of things so we might as well just get those two tickets and wait it out. We bought the tickets and looked at our new surroundings for the next 10 hours. I realized I wouldn't sleep at all that night.
We decided to head to a local McDonalds, get cheap dinner, and use their wifi to get tomorrow nights hostel in Brussels. Booking a hostel shouldn't be that difficult but we ran into a few problems here and there (ie. Booking on the wrong day, losing our deposit, etc). Suffice to say we were delirious enough to laugh it all off.
The McDonalds closed at 1 o'clock so we made our way back to the train station. It hit me like a load of bricks. We were homeless. At least for that one night. It was humbling to say the least. You forget how much you appreciate clean teeth, a nice hot shower, your own space, and mostly your own bed. And do I miss my bed. It was here, during this what I might be inclined to call low point, that I began to think about catching the next flight out of here. It wouldn't take all that much effort. American Airlines would probably be happy to work with me.
But then....where's the adventure? Where's the good stories? Where's the real life nitty-gritty experiences? They wouldn't exist if I didn't do this. So I mentally told myself I was going to do this and I was just going to leave the rest to my Maker. If that moment didn't show me anything else about life, it most certainly showed me that God's in control, even when they are out of control....and that night....I was feeling like it was out of control.
There ended up being a Starbucks that was open all night so we sat there and abused their wifi and played games. Me and Bella also saw each other go through every mood ever known to woman. We giggled, got grumpy with each other, got tired, got moody, I mean every aspect of a woman's human emotion was seen that night. It was a night I shall never forget.
The last few hours dragged by. Bella really had a hard time staying awake. I've never seen a girl fall asleep in 10 seconds. We made it though, and made it onto the train. 3 hour train ride to Brussels under the English Channel and we both slept through it. I only ever recall waking up to the stops along the way, otherwise, I slept like a baby. I hope the previous day's experience doesn't carry on over into our unintended stop in Brussels. But I guess we shall see what the day brings.