I came to the end of my two-week tour of Norway and my friend drove me to the Oslo airport. I was a few hours early for my flight to Barcelona, but better safe then sorry, as I am told is the case with international flights. In Barcelona I would meet up with my study abroad group. Luckily I’d managed to pack 7 weeks worth of stuff into a carry on suitcase and my backpack, so I didn’t have to wait in the bag check line. I just went right up to get my ticket on the self-service machine.
It wasn’t working. How annoying. I waited in line and eventually it was my turn to talk to the agent at the desk. She scanned my receipt, but alas, there was no record of my purchase on file. She took a minute to dig deeper into the problem, and finally came up with a cause. My credit card had never gone through. Some how I had been emailed my flight confirmation even though the airline had never been paid. Even better, I couldn’t get on that flight because it was booked. The nice lady listed my options. Wait for a much later flight (I don’t remember exactly, but it must have been the next day), or I could rush to try to catch a flight to Alicante, which was leaving in 30 minutes. And boarding in 15. Even with her magical computing machine, the agent was unable to determine where Alicante was in relation to Barcelona.
So naturally I took that option. I bought a ticket, rushed to the gate, and when I was seated I flipped to the back of the magazine in the seat pocket in front of me to find a map. There was a page of the airlines international routes. I found Barcelona, and then looked around for Alicante- up? Left? Nope. Way south, halfway down the coast of Spain. It looked pretty darn far. But at least it was the right country.
I had the whole flight to think about what I would do when I got there- but really I only had two choices- take a local flight to Barcelona or hope there was a train station nearby. Though I wasn’t really worried about it. Its funny, it is much more stressful for me to miss a flight from Florida to New York than get arrive in some mystery town in a foreign country, apparently.
Well, I got there, asked around, and figured out that it would be a better idea to take a train. A bus would take me to part of the way there, and then I would walk. This would be my first opportunity to put my high school and one-semester-of-college Spanish to the test. I managed to get on the right bus, and find some helpful people when I got off that responded to my, Donde esta la estacion de tren? That phrase became drilled in my head for the next half an hour as I donde estad my way to the train. Which I finally found.
The next train to Alicante wasn’t for three hours, and the train ride would take about as long. I was worried about meeting my group on time, so I spent another hour trying to find somebody who knew how to work a pay phone to make an international call, finally contacted my mom, and asked her to email my group.
I made it to Barcelona eventually and in one piece. It ended up not mattering at all that I was late- a few other people had missed their international flights and I was by no means the last one to show up.
If you don’t have your travels planned out to a T, you don’t know what activities you will be doing every day, or you forgot to pack something, don’t stress over it. Everything will be ok. At least you are in the right country.