I wrote an entire blog post about one of my travel hiccups that happened while on the way to Cannes, France. But as I was writing, the travel gods had something else in mind for me. I am going to try to sum up the original post in a paragraph or two so you understand where my feelings are.
Seven of my study abroad companions and I decided to take a weekend trip to Cannes, France to get out of the city and enjoy some sunshine. Being college students on a budget, we booked an overnight train both ways for about €100. We weren’t expecting a 5-star luxury trip because it was so inexpensive, but we did expect to make it to the beach eventually. So we got all our things together and made our way to the train station. We got there and the train was cancelled. Not delayed.
It was not coming at all.
Needless to say, some of my friends got super upset. I just knew that was part of the risks of traveling. Because I had that knowledge, I knew that we would eventually get down there. And we did. We got put on a high-speed train the next morning. The only hiccup with that was the train was overbooked, and we didn’t have seats, but hey, it’s better than not even getting to go at all. So. like I said, we made it down there with actually a better ride the next morning because it was during the day and we got to see the French countryside. But this was nothing in comparison to my ultimate travel hiccup.
After I finished my program in Paris, I was going to Florence to travel with my sister and her friends for 5 days. Now this is easy in theory, and for most people, this wouldn’t be so hard to do. For me, it was a struggle.
I arrived to the Orly airport in Paris with plenty of time to spare for my flight to Florence. When the time to board the plane came, there was no plane. An announcement was made, in French, and someone translated it saying that the plane was not coming and we would be re-routed to Pisa…. 4 hours later. My flight was originally a 6:30 p.m. flight, meaning I would now leave at 10:30 p.m. in a city 1.5 hours away.
Normally, this would make me uncomfortable. Because I was alone and traveling to a country where I didn’t speak the language, I was terrified. When I was relayed the message by a kind soul, I almost cried. I wasn’t prepared to find my way from Pisa to Florence by myself at 1 a.m. So, in my fear induced panic, I did what any American in a foreign country does, and I found other Americans.
The girls I met were lovely, and they became my travel companions for the next few hours. Because of them, I didn’t feel so alone, and I wasn’t afraid to take a now almost 11 p.m. flight to Pisa, then a bus to Florence and a taxi from the Florence airport into the city. They knew that as Americans, we had to stick together.
I got to my hotel at 3 a.m. when I was supposed to arrive around 9 p.m. Now that I survived that ordeal, I know I can make it through most truly horrible travel mishaps from now on. Now I truly know that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.