Friday, August 01, 2008


I haven't done it since I was in my 20s (well except the 4 times I had a baby), but last night I stayed up all night.
Why would I want to stay up all night the first night of my holidays? Well, thanks to Easyjet my quick (and usual) trip through Stansted to Denmark became a 24 hour adventure, the likes of which my kids have never seen.
On arrival at Glasgow airport yesterday, we were told our flight was delayed 15 minutes - no problem - we had nearly 2 hours before check-in was due to close. By take-off the delay had stretched to 30 minutes, which once in the plane took an extra 30 minutes to get airborne - air rush hour seems to happen around 5pm too. On arrival above London we flew round in circles in an ominous stack for 30 more minutes so touched down exactly 10 minutes after Ryanair's Århus check-in closed.
Technically I had actually checked in online so could have gone but Thomas, Léon and Anna hadn't as they had the luggage in their names - I couldn't go ahead because my boobs were needed so we were all stuck.
A simple case of moving ourselves to the next day's flight then going for a night in a Travel lodge or the likes - or so we thought.
Oh! Tomorrow for Århus and Billund are fully booked - let me check - oh we can't get you to Denmark till Monday, said the bloke on the Ryanair check-in. He, of course, wasn't obliged to help us given the original balls-up was of an easyjet making. Ok, it's a pain, but gimme Hamburg instead, said Thomas - Emmm that's full too, he replied. F@ck - this was becoming a problem!
He said he could give us Bremen checking in at 4-30am. Where the hell is Bremen? Somewhere north of Hannover but no idea where. We declined and tried Easyjet, Air Berlin, BA and Sterling before realizing that we were not prepared to pay between 800 and 2000 quid on offer so crept back to the Bremen guy and agreed to it before even checking really where it was!
It cost a £250 'missed departure' fee but that was definitely becoming the lesser evil. It was 11pm and we'd to be back in Stansted by 4am. No time for a hotel. We'd just have to lie in the airport. Kids asleep, adults awake and keeping vigil.
The kids were beside themselves with excitement - the prospect of even 4 nights on the floor in Stansted didn't worry them. Lots was thrilled at the improvised camping trip. Marcel said it was the best thing that had ever happened and Léon danced and sang in the airport till 1am. Next year I might just book 2 weeks in Stansted airport!
Overnight Léon and Anna slept 1am -4am. Lots and Marcel didn't conk out till 2am. Thomas and I each slept 90 minutes while the other watched the kids and the bags.
So we found ourselves in Bremen this morning at 9am and realized it was actually only 300km from where we were going. A short tram ride into town later we found we could get to Jutland by taking just 4 trains and travelling only from 11am to 5-30pm non-stop at €175 - piece of cake.
Of course there were several delays in that and we missed another connection - we got to Thomas's parents around 7pm having had little more than breakfast. A whole day in 4 trains at 30 degrees and yet none of the kids misbehaved, Anna hardly moaned and even Léon - on just 4 hours sleep was an angel. I think they've definitely inherited my calm traveller genes.
It wasn't the trip we'd planned but we're here safe and sound. We've discovered Bremen has a pretty station. And the kids have an experience they aren't likely to forget in a hurry.
I'll upload the airport photos in a couple of weeks, but you can already find the various train ones on my flickr account.

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