Another trip, yet more chaos

Another trip, yet more chaos


Dear reader,

            If you have read my Flixbus story you know how often I get in trouble when traveling. The planning of my summer vacation was a good opportunity to reflect on all my previous chaotic trips and pray for peaceful ones this summer. I recalled one trip specifically that I want to share with you guys.
            It's summer 2022, and I'm heading to Sweden (again) to visit my Erasmus friends (again). At this time, my ecological conscience is nonexistent yet, so I don’t bother taking endless Flixbus if the flights are cheaper. However, my finances are already terribly managed. Unlike the environment, this last point hasn’t changed a bit today. The shortest way to go to Lund (Sweden) was to fly from Paris to Copenhagen. Easy peasy, nothing chaotic there. However, the way back was slightly cheaper with a layover in Barcelona. Of course, I booked it. On the day of my arrival back to Paris, I had planned to celebrate my birthday with my friends. Once again, it never crossed my mind that organizing a party just after a long day of traveling might not be the smartest idea. Let me tell you what happened.

Lund (Sweden):

            I wake up at 5.30 AM, 4 hours of sleep in my body, and still slightly drunk from the previous night. I have a train at 6 AM at Lund’s station to go to Copenhagen’s airport. My lovely friend’s boyfriend is an absolute saint and drives me to the train station. He drops me off, and almost immediately after he leaves I smash my phone on the ground. Nothing unusual there, that happens every day. Only this time, it’s properly broken. The screen is completely black and no matter how many times I desperately press all the buttons, it refuses to come back to life.
           In less than 5 seconds, I realized how dependent I was on my phone: I found myself without plane tickets, information about my flights, time, music, credit card, and a way to contact my friends. Another problem piled up on top of that: the slight drunkenness started mutating into a massive hungover. I couldn’t do much except try to recall my flight’s time and avoid throwing up.

Copenhagen Airport (Denmark):

            First of all, Copenhagen’s airport is way too big for such a small country. It has three terminals and you know how Scandinavians love space: you could do a full-on marathon between the different terminals. I wander around for a little while before finding where my flight is, and at what time. Thankfully I am quite early, so I decide to try and change my ticket for a direct flight to Paris, instead of Copenhagen-Barcelona-Paris. I still have a birthday party waiting for me that night, and would like to fix my phone before then. I go to the information desk, which sends me to another desk, where I queue for half an hour. When it’s finally my turn, I have to repeat myself around 25 times, because nobody understands my French accent. The staff tells me there is indeed a direct flight to Paris, and it’s not even insanely expensive. The only issue is that I have to buy the ticket online myself because they do not sell tickets at this desk. I explain to them that I broke my phone, and they tell me in nicer words that they couldn’t care less.
            You think I gave up, right? Hell no. I found a cute guy whose face screamed kindness and asked him if I could borrow his phone to buy a plane ticket. He probably thought I was crazy, but accepted anyway. He explained to me he was Canadian and traveling with his parents, which explained why these 2 middle-aged people had been staring at me since I started talking to him. Everything was going perfectly well, I was almost done with my purchase and was already feeling the relief coming through my body. Suddenly, this notification popped on the phone’s screen: “Please confirm the payment through your bank app”. Guess where was my bank app? On my damn dead phone. I thought for a minute of calling my bank, before realizing they hate me enough for losing my credit card every other week and being overdraft 29 days a month. No need to tell them I was about to buy a plane ticket from a stranger’s phone after breaking my own, all of this because I didn’t want to be late for my birthday party. Party where I would end up spending too much money once again. Therefore, the direct flight mission was officially aborted, and I ended up flying to Barcelona.

Barcelona Airport (Spain):

               I spent the last 20 minutes of the flight avoiding my neighbor’s eyes because of casually slobbering on his shoulder while sleeping. Once in Barcelona’s airport, the first thing I check is my next flight’s gate. The first word I read on the board is “Delayed”. Perfect. I am stuck in Barcelona’s airport and can’t warn my friends about my very probable lateness to the party. You’re probably thinking why I didn’t ask a stranger for their phone and connect to some social media. But I know myself too well to know I never remember my passwords, which are all safely kept on a secret note ON MY PHONE. Now that I have 4 hours to wait in this airport, I decide to look for a phone repair shop. I ask another stranger for their phone (side note - people are surprisingly extremely nice) and look on Google Maps for the closest shop. It’s about an hour away by public transport. I think about it for a moment, before concluding that I will probably get lost on the way, and end up missing my flight. And my birthday. Instead, I change my plan and go to McDonald’s, where I try to order something in Spanish. I get everything but what I ordered, making me realize what I thought of as a strong C1 level is probably more of a shy A1 level Spanish. I sit down and read my book, feeling so superior to all these people staring at their screens.
At 5 PM, they finally call for my flight.

Paris (France):

            I arrive in Paris at 9 PM, after leaving Sweden at 6 AM. I take the train followed by the metro to go home, where I jump on my computer like an addict in need. I text my friends about my delay and get ready as fast as possible. I realize I don’t know exactly where is the place we are celebrating. I would have used maps usually, but it’s not an option anymore. I decide to write down the exact address on my arm, refusing to trust myself with a piece of paper. I memorize how to reach the place by metro, but quickly enough I get lost. I end up asking strangers in the street for the place, showing them the address on my arm. I don’t think I have ever talked to that many strangers in one day since. Finally, I find my friends, at 11 PM. We laugh, we dance, we drink and I spend one of my favorite birthdays ever. 
                        Overall, I stepped into 4 different countries in one day and completely ruined my carbon footprint. I must admit, looking back at this day I can’t help but laugh very hard. I am actually going to Sweden (again) to visit my Erasmus friends (again) in a few weeks. So prepare yourself for a potential third article about a disastrous trip between France and Sweden.

Alice Raffegeau