And so, our holiday was at an end. We got into a car and drove to KLIA for board our flight home.
This was to be our home for the next 13.5 hours. It was to be our last experience of Malaysian hospitality; and we intended to make the most of it. Many films were watched and a couple of books were to be read. And all was well until around 12.5 hours in and someone behind us asked why the screen now mentioned “Distance to Frankfurt”.
At this point people paid close attention to the map. It looked like we’d gotten as far as the English Channel and then pulled a u-turn. Which resulted in a longer flight (just over 14 hours) and a landing several countries over. All because of a little snow in the UK.
Upon arrival at Frankfurt, matters were confused to say the least. Lots of people had questions but none had answers. After a short delay, we were put on buses to Darmstadt1 for the night, with a plan to fly back the next day.
We did not fly back the next day. In fact, we did not fly back the following day either. We ended up taking off at around 1am on the third day following our landing.
It wasn’t all bad: the hotel we got for most of the time was pretty good, the feeding at the hotel was done well considering they had no notice of 400 folk arriving. Darmstadt at least had a small shop and a stall selling hats open on the Sunday so we could get some essentials. And of course, it being Germany meant some minor compensations: excellent beer being amongst them. Some of the people we met were Australians, and they were in the midst of their first experience both of snow, and of German beer. Lucky them on the first day, but the next morning they were suffering like I haven’t seen in a long time.
The less good things? Well, we were in sub zero weather in the clothes on our back, because nobody was going to give us our luggage. We were OK, since we’d planned ahead and knew that London wasn’t exactly warm. We just needed to get hats and gloves. But others weren’t as lucky; one poor guy in particular was wearing shorts, a light t-shirt and flip-flops. For three days. Also: washing your underwear in the hotel sink every day wasn’t the most pleasant thing to do. Nor was shaving with a cheap hotel supplied razor. We were in better conditions than many (for example, Hails) in that we didn’t have to sleep in the terminal and nobody mentioned riot police or red cross assistance, but still we’d rather have been at home by now.
But eventually, we got back on our transport, and got to wait some more.
Five hours we sat on the plane, while waiting for the various ATC people to let us go. Then we got offloaded again, and waited in the terminal for a couple more hours. Then back on the plane to wait some more, finally leaving at 1, landing in Heathrow at 2. Where we found no trains, no buses, and few taxis. And even fewer taxis willing to drive as far as our house at that time of night.
But we found one. And at last, some sixty hours after we were supposed to, we arrived home with our luggage, a lot of memories, and a need to sleep that had to be rectified immediately. The honeymoon was over.
Of course, that now means that we need to start planning another holiday…
1 – we’ve since been told that Darmstadt is a most lovely place. However, I disagree and will forever associate it with conference hotels and closed shops.