Travel woes due to a careless booking error

Today we returned to cloudy England, hangover in tow. On our way to the train station in Munich, we walked by a sporting goods store (think REI) and we thought the window display above summed up the Bavarian culture.

Presumably, the couple is going on a camping trip, with a backpack that is a barrel-of-beer. I mean, what more does one need on a camping trip than a giant salty pretzel, two large beer mugs, and a barrel-of-beer?

On a side note, I think that the camera tripod looking thing is really a stand for the barrel-of-beer. It makes sense, doesn’t it?

On to the stuff stories are made of…

Upon checking in for our flights, the ticketing agent informed us that Peter was flying into Heathrow via Zurich and I was flying into London City via Zurich. “Huh?” I said. She repeated the destinations and we realized that we had incorrectly booked my ticket. The only thing worse than flying hungover is flying hungover to an airport that isn’t your intended final destination.

How could two educated people make such a mistake? I’m not sure but our first flight was about to begin boarding and we had no choice but to try to deal with this debacle in Zurich. We figured out that the London City airport is about the same distance east of London that Maidenhead is west of London. So a long, long, long way from Maidenhead. I began looking up public transportation and Peter began researching car hire companies to collect me and deliver me to Maidenhead.

Public transportation would have required two train transfers and taken about an hour-and-a-half. Fortunately, Peter was able to find a car hire company on short notice to collect my ass and drive me 64 miles to Maidenhead.

Upon landing at London City, I approached the UK Border Control and for the first time, got hassled on why I am entering the UK.

Border Control: “What is your occupation?”

Me: “Housewife [of London].” 

Border Control: “How long are you staying here?” 

Me: “Until you kick me out my visa expires.” 

Border Control: “Is your husband employed or is he studying?” 

Me: “He works.” 

Border Control: “Where is he? Why isn’t he traveling with you?” 

Me: “He flew into Heathrow.” 

Border Control: “Are you going to meet him? How are you getting to Maidenhead?” 

Geez, lady! I’m hungover! Knock this shit off!

Me: “We hired a taxi, Dot-to-Dot.” 

Border Control: “Put your right thumb on the fingerprint scanner. Now, your right index finger. OK, thank you. Have a lovely day.”

Stamp, stamp.

Me: “Cheers!”

I’m glad my fingerprints matched my fingerprints in my visa file, otherwise, I would have been toast!

I left Border Control, gathered my bag, and walked outside to meet my driver (sounds fancy, huh?). Due to motorway lane closures, the workaround drive took an hour-and-a-half. I was not a happy camper for two reasons: (1) I didn’t have a barrel-of-beer backpack and (2) I had to sit in a car for an hour-and-a-half with a total stranger. Thankfully the car was nice and the driver made no effort to chat me up.

A 35-minute flight from Munich to Zurich, an 80-minute flight from Zurich to London City, and a 90-minute car ride to Maidenhead made for a long travel day but totally worth it for our first successful trip to Munich and The Oktoberfest!

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