I wanted to keep this blog in chronological order. I thought It’d make more sense that way. However, considering I’m writing these stories 9 months after they’ve happened, that’s a lot of time to wait if I want to get something out of the way now. And today, I do. So fuck it, let’s see what happens if we mix things up a bit.
I’ve been told many times that I’d encounter tough times during travels and the most important thing is to accept the feelings and stick it out. And yesterday is a complete ode to that advice. This is how the story goes.
I’d spent 3 months in the UK, mainly procrastinating. To kick-start everything again, a few weeks ago (with very little thought) I booked a flight from London (Luton) to Krakow (Katowice). I thought that flying would be a quick way to get me back to Europe.
During the period in-between, I went to Sheffield and decided to stay a bit longer, so I pushed my flight back a week. I had booked an airport transfer through WizzAir, so I emailed them to update my transfer. 5 days passed and I heard nothing. With 2 days to go, I emailed them again, hoping I’d get a response before the day of my flight.
The night before my flight I decided to actually figure out the transport plan for the next day. I hadn’t heard back from WizzAir, so I knew I’d just have to try and get the bus anyway. The flight was at 8.10am. Seemed like a good idea at the time. I had a look at the transfer, 5am from London Victoria. Ouch. No tube options could get me there by 5am. James at Monkeys gave me the good idea of catching a nightbus. Still, I had to get up at 3.45am. Didn’t think that one through.
I barely got to sleep at all that night. I woke up a few minutes early, and thought I may as well just get up and head out. I put my stuff together and walked out the door, and the 207 was already at the stop – 15 minutes before (or after) it should have been there. Happy that I was “early”, I followed my plan, got off at Marble Arch, and walked to Victoria. I ended up getting to the coach at 4:50. If I hadn’t have got up those few minutes earlier, I would have missed my transfer. It was still unsettling to know I only made it due to luck. I jumped on the bus, and of course, my ticket was invalid – I had to buy another. This was a minor inconvenience, but it’s the incompetence of WizzAir that really pissed me off. Wasted money is one of my pet hates, so now I was feeling angry.
I got to Luton before 6am. Boarding closes at 7:40, so I had almost 2 hours – at least I could relax. I sat down and ate breakfast, then it clicked – I was at Luton. I thought it was better to be safe and just get through to departures, so I went to the bag drop, and queues were passed the cafes. Took me over half an hour to just drop off my bag. I then went to security, and again, queues for miles on end. I got to security and they told me I had a liquid in my bag. I racked my brain and figured it out – ah, must be my emergency hand sanitizer. They took it off me and rescanned my bag. There was still something in there. I dug through my bag and found it; my ridiculously overpriced €13 sunscreen from France. I completely forgot. They took that too. I fucked up. Still, I was starting to get angrier.
I barely made it to the gate by 7:40. But of course, there was a gigantic queue and we didn’t even start boarding for another 30 minutes. These queues were getting on my nerves. I found a Foursquare tip that summed it up perfectly: “Best tip for Luton is to try and fly out of Heathrow”.
The flight itself was ok. I landed in Katowice, and went to the bathroom. I found it ironic that the soap was out; the one time I actually needed my hand sanitizer. I went to the info desk and asked them for the best way to get to Krakow. They pointed me outside. There was a little schedule on the stand that said the bus was due at 12:00, and 15:30. It was 11:55. Great! I waited, and waited, and waited, and waited till 12:30. Nothing. I went back inside, and they told me it needed to be booked in advance. Thanks for telling me that when I asked. Now I need to wait another 3 hours? No thanks. I looked on the map and realised how far Katowice was from Krakow. I was not close to where I needed to be. I decided there and then to go to Katowice instead as the bus was at 13:00.
Drained, I just slumped down in a chair for a few minutes, thinking This is too much. I’ve had no sleep and I’ve been travelling for 8 hours. I’ve got another hour and a half till I get to Katowice, and it’s not even near to where I need to be. I burst out crying.
I get angry, annoyed, and upset. I don’t cry. Yet I couldn’t stop this. I felt at the bottom of the world. I felt like staying in Katowice, and booking the next flight home. I felt like ending travelling completely. There was a photo of a frog in front of me. Every time I almost stopped crying, I looked up and saw the frog, and started crying again. Fuckin’ frog. Perhaps that frog doesn’t have to deal with shit like this.
It’s funny looking back on things like this. After writing it all down, I don’t see what the problem was. It was just waiting. I fucked up a few things, which were causing me delays. That’s not a real problem. I wasn’t stranded. I wasn’t out of money. It was just waiting. And it was the middle of the day, so I still had all day to get to Krakow. I’ve been in much worse situations before. But I know how I felt at that moment in time, and I really did feel bad. All the pressures of the day amounted to more than I could cope with, and it got to me.
The bus to Katowice came at 13:00, and it was fine. Looking out the window & seeing I was getting somewhere started to make me feel better. The bus terminated at the train station, which is where the train to Krakow departs. That was a win. It also had a McDonalds and Starbucks. Things were starting to look up.
After my McDonalds, I was feeling much better, laughing at how bad I’d felt just a few hours before. I went to Starbucks and sat my bag down on a bench seat. As I ordered, I noticed someone sit on the seat, about 1 metre from my bag, and do the most awkward lean putting their arm closer to my bag. I don’t like to judge, but this guy looked dodgy. I instantly sat back down, casually took my bag, and picked up my coffee. About 1 minute later security came and started yelling at the guy. I wasn’t imagining things, this guy was out to steal my shit. They grabbed him by the neck and took him outside. Then I felt sorry for him. Still, I laughed it off as a learning lesson, rather than letting it get me down. Had that’ve happened at the airport, I’d probably have been on a plane to Melbourne.
The train to Krakow was supposed to depart from Platform 2 at 15:14. I had ample time and waited until it was due, but nothing was approaching. There was a train on the opposite platform which had been waiting for about 10 minutes. I decided to actually look at the monitor for that train… And it was my train. It had been moved. But it was due to depart now. I ran downstairs, and the escalator was broken, so I had to run further to the stairs, sprinted up, jumped inside the door and it locked behind me. Fuck! It took just over 2 hours to Krakow. I saw heaps of abandoned factories – just my type of thing. That made me happy. I got to the hostel, and they didn’t have my reservation. By this stage I was just laughing at how wrong the day was. Luckily they managed to fit me in, having to move rooms once during my 7 night stay.
Comfortably in my room, I dropped my bags, and went wandering with a bit of evening sunlight to boot. A 2 hour flight had turned into a 13 hour trek. Flying, especially from out-of-the-way airports, takes much longer than you’d expect. Next time I’ll take the bus.