Missed flights, lost luggage and old friends

After the last bag is packed, breakfast is eaten and a final few phone calls are made, we head off to the airport. Another part of our trip over, another farewell, another new beginning. At least that is the plan. 5 minutes after we leave my cousins apartment, his wife asks “Wasn’t your flight at 12.45pm?”. Yes, I reply and realize with horror that we somehow have talked ourselves into leaving for the airport an hour too late. Oops! We race to the airport in 15 minutes, park in a tow-away spot, race to the terminal en masse with all of our baggage and get to the check-in counter 20 minutes before departure. We are – of course- told that the gate is closed and are sent to the ticket counter. Our name gets a last minute boarding call and I ask the lady at the ticket counter to inform her colleagues that we won’t be boarding the plane after all…

What a nightmare. A new ticket for the same day is, of course, not inexpensive, but the next day being marginally cheaper doesn’t seem to make any sense. To have told the kids we are flying today, have carted them to the airport and then to have to go back, remake the beds and start all over again the next day with more upheaval doesn’t seem to make any sense… So, I buy new tickets and am told that we can check in already for the flight 9 hours later.

The early check-in turns out to be a mistake when we still don’t have our luggage over a day later, but you live and learn. We leave the airport and go for lunch at a delightful Greek restaurant in Zehlendorf. C eats grilled meat and cooked potato chips. Perfect. The kids converse with the parrot in the cage and play in the sandbox outside the restaurant.

We leave there with 4 more hours to kill and head back to my cousins apartment, let the kids watch a movie, play together for a while and then we are off to the airport again.

The kids behave perfectly and are becoming seasoned travelers by now. We get to Arlanda airport at 11pm, but are told at 11.40 that our bags haven’t come with us and have to stand in a queue and form-fill while T sleeps on the hard floor. Not good.

We are happy to see Martins dad when we go through the ‘Nothing to Declare’ gate. Of course there is nothing to declare I think in utter disgust at the airline messing up not just our luggage, but that of about 20-30 other people.

The kids sleep in the car and fall in to bed after a ride to the 4th floor in Far Far’s cool old elevator. It is 1 am when I get to sleep. It’s been a long day.

We wake up to T asking why he hasn’t slept in his pajamas and why he didn’t brush his teeth last night. He looks quite perplexed when I explain that we need to go and buy a toothbrush and that his pajamas are still in the missing suitcase. We eat breakfast and then head out to the pharmacy to stock up on missing essentials. The kids are delighted with their new Bamse sunscreen, Bamse toothbrushes and Asterix toothpaste. Thank heaven for small mercies!

We call the airport and ask about the expectancy for our bags. There is a possibility that we may see them this evening. Apparently the large Thai delegation on the plane caused the confusion at Tegel airport as they had so much luggage. What? Why? What difference should that really make? Why check in more luggage than you can actually carry on the flight?

Having realized that this drama could go on for the next day – or two – or three. I then dash into the nearest department store to pick up a couple of ‘frocks’. I vow to charge it all back to Air Berlin for the mess-up.

After lunch at the Artilleriemuseum’s café in Stockholm (roast potatoes and shrimps for C), I head to Odensplan to meet an old school friend whom I haven’t seen for over 20 years. She lives on La Palma in the Canaries, but happens to be in Stockholm the same time as we are. Got to love Facebook! We have a super relaxed afternoon by the wading pool in Tegnerlunden. The kids are happy in the park for a few hours and we get time to chat and catch up. It’s a lovely afternoon and I wonder where those 20+ years went.

The kids are near zombie level by the time we get home. We have a quick dinner – gluten free bread rolls and 100% meat meatballs for C and then pop the kids to bed. Pajama free yet again.

We get a call that one bag has arrived in Sweden. It will be brought to the flat tonight. Of course it’s the one bag that we don’t really need…