Thursday, May 7, 2015

First Bump in The Road

Up until today, I have had fantastic travel juju. If I was going to catch a train, it would pull up as I arrived. Buses were the same. The weather has been cooperative 95% of the time. I've been able to figure out which train, which carriage, which seat, which bus, which direction to travel with ease most of the time. I, honestly, could not have been happier.

This morning, my host here in Copenhagen was leaving a few hours before me on a trip to the states. I had a ticket booked to Hamburg via a train that travels on a ferry. I had booked a hotel, a car for Germany and (just the night before) made a general plan for the next 10 days. 

At 11am, I was updating my blog and received an email saying that my train had been canceled. The email was in German, so I could not tell what to do or the reason for the cancellation. I jumped on Google and typed in Hamburg News. Up popped two pieces of information. Firstly, there was a tornado that ripped through Germany yesterday and killed a man in Hamburg (also, apparently causing a million euro worth of damage). Secondly, there is a train strike. 


Even if there was a reroute or delayed replacement train for my tickets, I'd be travelling to a tornado torn town, and this did not sound good to me. I cancelled my hotel and my car reservations and went to the Østerport train station (my departure station) to figure out what to do with my ticket. The woman in the information booth was very friendly, but could not help me. She said I'd have to call customer service (which I could not do, having no SIM). She then said that I could go to Copenhagen's Central Train Station and speak to customer service there. She was showing me how to book a ticket to the station when she noticed that my train ticket to Hamburg was scheduled for today and told me just to ride the train at no cost, it should be covered by my ticket in case anyone asked.

I took the train to Central and spoke to a woman in the info booth there. She was not friendly (though not rude in anyway) and told me that the 3pm train would be replaced by a local train and then a bus all the way to Hamburg. I asked if I could get a refund and she told me that I'd have to request it from the company (online) who I booked the ticket from. Okie dokie. 

So, I sat at a Starbucks and went on the Bahn website only to find that I'd have to mail in my request for a refund.

At this point, I felt a little stuck. Maybe just stuck emotionally. I started looking at options out of Copenhagen. Trains, flights, etc. Expedia WOULD NOT open a site in English or with an option to pay in Euro OR show me any flights available tonight. would only show flights in dkk (Danish Kroner) and due to the pre-loaded currency card I'm using, this was not an option.

At this point, I closed my tablet and forced myself to take some time off from thinking about this little problem I was having. It was about 2pm. I still had 2 hours until the bus to Hamburg option, so time was on my side.

I ordered a Caramel Pecan Brownie, cappuccino and bottle of water from Starbucks and fed my emotions for a little while. After I composed myself, and had most of the bland brownie, I got back on my tablet and went to work.

I weighed all options for destinations. Where did I really want to go? What did I really want to see? I decided on Ireland and found via Hipmunk (if you don't know about Hipmunk, you should download the app - it's boss) that there was a relatively cheap flight out tonight at 10pm. It was a direct flight from Copenhagen to Dublin.  Following my rule on this trip, I researched it a little bit and booked a non-refundable ticket quickly. BOOM. Done! I'm going to Ireland tonight.

Next, I spent about an hour online looking for a hotel for tonight. I found a reasonable Travelodge near the airport with a noon check-out and bing, bang, boom, booked that too. 

At this point, I was mentally exhausted and needed a break, but knew I had one last thing to accomplish. Getting to the CPH Airport. I booked a train ticket (1 stop from where I was) and made my way there. Found my terminal. Found a quiet corner with no people and laid down with my luggage, utterly drained. 

I get equally tired from walking around all day or using my brain to book travel plans. Now that the booking is done, I can relax. I have found an electrical plug to sit next to and charge my devices for a while before I can check in and drop off my luggage. 

It's super fun that I'm going to Ireland today, having NO forethought about it. Tomorrow morning, after a good night's sleep, I'll figure out my next move. Probably renting a car and exploring Ireland's countryside. 

I don't know if I will be able to do a Germany trip after this, but if I can, I've got it all mapped out and will be ready to hit the ground running. 

Now, I rest until my flight.