Europe Trip day 1: I think I’ve caught Francie’s travel curse!

Francie‘s travel curse is well-documented – wherever she goes, some unimaginable event occurs which causes delays, rerouting and changes of plans – especially if Lotusphere is involved!

I’ve always been fairly lucky with my travels – nothing of note to really have a cause to complain about, apart from a 9-hour delay at Gatwick with a 1 year old on a one-man-distruction-mission, but that’s a whole other story.

However, this week I’m a bit worried… The plans are a bit ambitious to say the least.  Fly to Frankfurt, Germany via London Heathrow (Bill, I agree with you, LHR really is the pit of the world!) for a meeting, pick up a car, then drive down to Sofia, Bulgaria for a meeting on Friday.  It can’t be that bad, just 1,300+ miles (2,200+km) through Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Bulgaria, taking in the sights of cities including Munich, Salzburg, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, Bucharest and Sofia.  Whilst a lot of the journey will have to be completed at reasonably high speed, I am hoping to get some time to explore along the way…

Image:Europe Trip day 1: I think I’ve caught Francie’s travel curse!
The voyage started badly, with a text message from BA just minutes into my taxi ride to Heathrow informing me that the 10:20 flight to Frankfurt had been cancelled due to the bad weather over Germany.  Not a good start.  A call to BA customer dis-service suggested that the best I could hope for was a change to the 14:15 flight, with not even a mention of an apology or any understanding of any knock-on effects – usual BA in other words.  However, on getting to LHR, and standing in a very very long BA reservations queue, they switched me onto a Lufthansa flight, due to leave at 9:50.  Awesome, though only 20 minutes to get to the gate in Terminal 2 (I was in Terminal 1 at the time) – was I glad I was travelling light!  So, mad dash to T2 completed, through a mercifully short Passport Control queue, into the departure gate for the Lufthansa flight… And, a message over the tannoy saying that this flight was also delayed! Argggh!  perhaps I would have had time to pick up that Macbook in Dixons on the way through 😉

To cut a long story short, the (100% full) flight eventually left at 12:00 after an hour-long sit on the tarmac, and following an incredibly rough landing, touched down at Frankfurt safely.  That’s fine, chill out, the rough bits done I thought.  Shame that the contact that was supposed to be collecting me from the airport was nowhere to be seen.  Turned out that his daughter had suffered an accident at School and so they were at the local hospital having a plaster cast fitted!  So, after a two hour wait sampling the delights of the airport food at Frankfurt (which actually isn’t so bad), I eventually got collected, had the meeting, collected the car and was on the road.  Shame that it was then dark, very very wet and windy, and in the middle of the post-rush hour traffic heading for the Autobahn.  Not quite “grand touring” by my definition 😉

But today is a new day, the weather is a little brighter, the overnight stay in a roadside Motel wasn’t so bad, the breakfast remarkably good, and I’m off…

Munich is the first stop, about 150km South East from here  in Nuremberg.  Then it’s Salzburg for lunch, followed by a pretty drive through central Austria to Vienna for dinner.  It promises to be a good day!

Image:Europe Trip day 1: I think I’ve caught Francie’s travel curse!

Stuart McIntyre is a Senior Strategist at Fostering Community Limited. He curates a number of product-focused news sites, is a lapsed podcaster, founded the Social Connections user group and regularly speaks at conferences and events. This blog represents his own slightly-eccentric and usually-controversial opinions!