I have safely, and happily, arrived in Nice. It took about 45 hours in transit, including three planes and four trains, but I made it! My bags, however, are still in Frankfurt. Once my clothes and plug converter arrives, I will have no complaints.
Before leaving, I was sure that the ash cloud would affect my Chicago-Frankfurt flight. I didn’t even think to check the status of my Frankfurt-Nice flight, as the Nice airport has remained open throughout the Iceland volcano drama. I was more concerned about missing my short flight to Nice with only an hour layover in Frankfurt. After running out of the plane–past the cots set up for those living in the aiport these last few days–I was shocked to see that just about every European Lufthansa flight was cancelled. I could wait and try to get on the wait list for the next flight to Nice–and there was no word when exactly that would be–or I could figure out another way. I decided to skip the massive lines that surrounded every Lufthansa counter and try my luck with the trains.
All trains to Paris were full, dashing my dreams of perhaps a quick weekend in the City of Lights. Instead, I took three trains to Strasbourg with the hope that I could figure out something from there. My only option was a night train to Nice, so I spent the afternoon and evening in Strasbourg hauling around two very heavy carry-ons.
Once 8:30 p.m. finally rolled around, I was more than ready to go to sleep. It was my first time on a night train, and I was surprised to find to be two sets of triple bunk beds in teeny tiny compartment. Mine, of course, was the very top bunk and I briefly wondered how far I would fall if the train stopped too suddenly!
Despite the adventure, I have arrived and found my home for the next six months. I love the apartment–trés française–and my host mom. It’s everything I could have hoped for, including a room with a bit of a view! I’ve also found multiple places with wireless Internet, so I’m anxiously awaiting my baggage with my plug converter so that I can get back on my Macbook!
I’d like to note is how fabulous all the Lufthansa and train employees were, despite being constantly harassed with questions to which they didn’t have the answers. Every single person I dealt with was courteous and kind, despite being undeniably overworked. Huge points to them.
What I’ve learned: there isn’t any point in worrying about things over which you have no control, and every situation is truly what you make of it. Sure, I’ll probably have more cancelled flights and lost baggage in my future travels. But will I be able to say it’s because of a gosh-darn volcano that has a name I can’t even come close to pronouncing? Probably not.