When Jordan and I visited London for the first time, we fell in love. We were enamored with the pub culture. One of my favorite moments was when we went to check in for the matinee showing of Matilda (a sweet anniversary surprise from Jordan). After preordering our intermission cocktails… I know, how great is that… we hopped to the other side of the street corner to a pub where we enjoyed a quick pint before we headed back across to catch the show. I know that seems like such a small thing, but in a world like Orlando where every trip out feels like a big ‘to-do’, the casual nature and ease of access to the environments I love was all I could ask for in a city. That being said, this article is actually to talk about the times that things don’t turn out quite so perfect. We talk a lot in our blog about all of our great experiences, but we feel it’s important to talk about our mistakes too.
On this particular trip to London we had an evening flight out on our last day, as we headed on to Amsterdam. We were able to store our bags at one of the stations before heading out for a day of sightseeing. We were able to knock a lot of stuff out that day and planned to make our last stop Ye Olde Chesire Cheese, one of the oldest pubs in London. Well… we enjoyed our stop so much that we decided to get just one more pint before heading to the airport. I distinctly and vividly remember choosing to get one more… knowing we were going to extend beyond our safety net of travel time. A pint later, a sprint to the tube station, a transfer to get out bags, back to the same tube station, on to the Gatwick Express with a few minutes to spare and BOOM! **Conductor Strike**. Out Gatwick Express turned into a triple cancelled express, which then turned into a much delayed Local Train. Even with that unexpected delay we made it with enough time to run up to the EasyJet counter to toss them our bags. Unfortunately, that was the EasyJet counter in the WRONG TERMINAL. Seriously?? How is that even possible! We hop on the train the other terminal sprint up the stairs following signs to “check-in” only to get upstairs and find that EasyJet just so happens to have it’s baggage check downstairs. Back down the escalator we go, running up to the baggage attendants with a Please help me! look. “Sorry, we stopped accepting baggage 5 minutes ago.”
…and there it was. Our first full on travel snafu. We missed our flight to Amsterdam. BY 5 MINUTES! The last flight of the night to Amsterdam. We were stuck.
I’m going to pause that story for a moment to explain that Jordan and I have a long standing history with close calls. During our honeymoon I misread the departure time for a flight home by a full hour. Luckily, we were able to pull the Business Class card on that trip, somehow talking them into opening back up the counter for us. When in Costa Rica we got rerouted off the highway through all of Downtown San Jose. PTL for the incredibly kind Rental Car Host who bypassed the usual shuttle and ran to grab a rental car and drive us, himself, to make sure we made it in time. Needless to say, we pushed the limit a little too far one too many times.. we were due.
Back in London, I was in the midst of a total and complete meltdown. Not only were we going to miss a night in Amsterdam, but we now needed a place to stay for the evening, had to pay to rebook our flight, and lost a full night of our prepaid stay in our beautiful houseboat. I won’t spend a ton of time talking about the less than ideal service we received from EasyJet, but lets just say, remember that you can only expect budget customer service when booking with a budget airline. Luckily, one kind woman took pity on my poor teary eyed soul (and forgave my husband’s elevated tone) and got us on the 6:30 flight the next morning. Once we had the plan squared away we did what I believe was the most important thing we did the entire trip, we forgave ourselves. We gave up on feeling bad about what we missed out on and chose instead to make the most of what we had. We checked in to the attached Hampton Inn by Hilton, cozied up to the lobby bar, and relaxed with some Guiness and French Fries. We even made friends with a gentleman, native to the UK, whose family lived in Tampa (practically our neighbor). He delivered planes for a living… as in, someone orders a plane and he picks it up and flies it to them… pretty neat. We ended up getting a great nights sleep and woke up ready to take on the day in Amsterdam after our quick flight over.
I’m certainly not writing this to say that it doesn’t totally suck when your travel plans go wrong. Yes, it was frustrating. Yes, it cost us a lot of extra money we didn’t plan for. Yes, we should have passed on that second pint. That being said, we loved that second pint and we made the most of our extra night in foggy London town. What I want to say to those that may be preparing for their first big adventures, or maybe just haven’t experienced a big screw up yet, my biggest advice is to forgive yourself. Tell each other that it’s okay and do everything you can to make the best of situation you find yourselves in. In the end, it’s all just more memories and stories to share… what story do you want to tell.
Here’s to planning,