These days going abroad should be easy. But the pandemic has for me at least put back all the stress possible into going abroad, what with all the paperwork, testing etc etc.
Having sorted all that out, the rest of the stress that I suffered last week was largely my own fault. Did I check the tube was running to the airport? I did not. Did I really think I would have time for all the flight connections? Did I even think about it? I did not. Did I realise that economy class gives you next to no sustenance? Spoilt by travelling business class with my husband I did not. Did I check how to get to our apartment from the airport? I did not.
Could all have been a disaster. But actually it was not.
My son and I were going to Split in Croatia to meet a relative that I hadn’t seen since 1968. More on that some other time. The only flight I could take from Heathrow was in three stages. But first I had to get to the airport. 630 in the morning and my husband took me to the underground station and left me there as planned. But all of a sudden I felt abandoned.
There were no trains. Engineering works, as one of the lovely engineers explained. Or as he shouted at me. Get him back! as my husband drove away. So I did. And he did. And drove me to the airport pointing out my defective planning all the way. Ah well!
My son was luckily already there, and then the next big stress manifested itself. Check in. I hadn’t been able to check in online because I’d started the process of verifying documents too late. (chorus: why didn’t you start earlier? I know. I know.)
We stood in the queue and waited to be verified, heart in mouth, still ready to be sent home. But no. My luck was in. The lovely person at the check in looked at our passports, peered at our QR less papers and waved us through.
Brilliant. Security was fine, and we went for breakfast. Luckily the breakfast was huge
at the Perfectionists’ Cafe. Expensive. But huge. Just as well.
Our flight was delayed but we arrived in Frankfurt after an hour or so with only a small bottle of water and a tiny bar of chocolate for sustenance. See photo above.
And then the rush to catch out connecting flight to Zagreb. Two kilometres. A train. Security again, when Andrzej’s purchases from Boots were confiscated and finally on to the plane. We lost one of our fellow travellers on the way. She was even more stressed than I was and finally lost her boarding card. So painful to watch her at the gate getting more and more flustered. She didn’t get on.
We did, and realised we were getting hungry. This time we were given a small bottle of water and no chocolate.
But no matter. We had another flight to go but we would surely be able to get a snack at Split airport. Wouldn’t we?
We got off the plane in Zagreb and rushed for our connection. Not too far this time.
We arrived in Split absolutely starving. Our passports had been stamped in Zagreb so we were free to eat. To eat.
Of course not. Split Airport is a food free zone. Luck on our side. We caught the airport shuttle and dreamt of food. Half an hour of a beautiful journey later we arrived. And straight to the first fast food place we could find.
A large square of pizza later we were ready to start our climb to our apartment.