Oh, the glamorous life of an expat in Europe! After work on Friday I left my London office for the airport, where I caught the last plane out for a weekend in Milan. I spent Saturday exploring parts of the city I hadn’t seen before (Cathedral! Da Vinci’s Last Supper!) and then went back to the hotel to dress for the main event: a performance of Orphee et Eurydice at Milan’s famed opera house La Scala — with dreamy Peruvian tenor singing the lead role. On Sunday morning I caught the train up to the mountains and explored Como and the breathtaking natural beauty of the mountain lakes.
Sigh. That’s the post I should be writing right now. But it’s not what actually happened.
The first part is true: I left my office on Friday evening and went to the airport. Only after the hour’s journey to Heathrow, I pulled out my flight confirmation number and discovered, to my horror, that my flight was from City Airport on the other side of town.
Fortunately due to the snowstorm that was raging, I had given myself an extra hour-and-a-half to get to the airport. So I tamped down my panic and plotted the quickest course to the correct airport. It involved three different subway lines and a train. I only took the wrong exit once. I still made it to the airport with an hour to spare.
But pandemonium. Every flight out of this airport had been canceled due to weather. The ticketing area was complete chaos with all the travelers queuing to rebook. My heart dropped, then skipped a beat when I realized that there were still three flights that hadn’t been canceled — including mine to Milan. Yay!
By the way, security is an absolute breeze when everyone else’s flights have been canceled.
I enjoyed an hour on the other side of the airport, the quiet serene side, pleased at my luck and waiting for the gate to be shown. But the gate never came. The departure time came and went. And then the death knell: Canceled.
By the time I got back to the main hall for my own rebooking queue, it was too late for anything to be done. All the flights to Milan had already been booked; the next availability was Sunday night. There was no point in going anymore.
So I took a deep breath and went out to hail a cab. I started the cab long ride home feeling quite sorry for myself. But the cheery cabby wouldn’t stop talking, and as I watched the amazing city of London slip by, I of course realized that I couldn’t really complain. I texted Amanda and Justin for sympathy, had a supper of cold cereal, and went to bed before 9pm.