Monday, September 17, 2012

Luggage and Other Stories

After a whirlwind few days of packing, I left for Austria on Saturday. In an attempt to save money, I booked a flight on Icelandair to Frankfurt and then would take the train to Bischofshofen. Icelandair luckily allowed two checked bags, which of course I took advantage of, but would come to regret later.

The adventure started at the airport when I was informed that one of my checked bags was too big. After a little shuffling around, everything was good, though I probably reached the limit of my carry on luggage, with my duffel bag, backpack and purse. I did tear up a little at security, as this will be the longest I’ve been away from home, but after I made it through security, I was fine.

I have a hard time sleeping on planes, but was so exhausted that I hoped I would fall asleep. Unfortunately, as I was about to fall asleep, the plane hit some turbulence. I don’t really like to fly, and I know this is ridiculous, because flying is safer than driving a car, but turbulence really makes me nervous and of course I could not sleep after that.

Icelandair always routes through Reykjavik. Despite what a man said on the plane, I’m pretty sure the Reykjavik airport is not the world’s smallest airport. We arrived in Reykjavik around 6:30 a.m. Reykjavik time. I barely spent any time in the airport and was on another flight to Frankfurt. Most of the people also on this flight were speaking German. At this point, it really hit me that I’m leaving for 9 months.

When I got off in Frankfurt, I had to fetch my bags, which were both massive and weighed a lot and find the train station. While retrieving my bags, a German man helped me and laughed at how many bags I had. I was sweating from all the effort of trying to wrangle my bags. I was also nervous about catching my train. Frankfurt is one of the few European cities with a train station at the airport. This made it easy to catch the train from the airport and not have to go into the city. I first had to take a bus to the train station. Waiting at the bus stop was a massive horde of people also hoping to catch the bus. I wheedled my way onto the bus with my five bags and held on precariously. There was a woman with a baby in a stroller behind me and every time the bus lurched, I was worried I would fall on the baby.  

Once I was in the Frankfurt train station, finding the right track was pretty self explanatory, but getting on the train was not! I want to thank all the random people that I met on Sunday that helped me with my bags, because it was not an easy task! I almost fell off the train while trying to get on with my luggage. Trying to maneuver down the aisle was difficult as well, and I had to cram my luggage in and hope for the best. I found my seat and was sweating like crazy, which seemed to be the theme of the day. I've been to Europe several times and have noticed that Europeans don't seem to sweat. Is it just me or has anyone else noticed this? I feel like I'm sweating like crazy and Europeans just look like so cool and collected.

The train ride to Munich became notorious in my mind. Shortly after I got on the train, I heard a man yelling in English and generally being obnoxious, even though others were telling him to calm down. Another rider finally got up and started talking to him and the (possibly drunk) man told the “mediator” to hit him and argued. They made him get off at the next station, but not before he could tell a woman sitting near him that she was a “ladyboy.”

I made my connection in Munich, which was very crowded, but a little easier to go from one platform to the next. On my second try of getting my luggage on and off the train, I was more successful and it was easier because of my earlier practice. I also didn’t have to maneuver down the aisle this time, because I had planned on it a little better. I was so exhausted by this point, that I could barely stay awake on the train and kept dozing off. At one point, I could see the Alps in the distance, which excited me, but darkness came quickly and it was hard to see anything.

I was nervous about getting off at the correct stop, so I got up too soon and waited near the door with all my luggage. The granddaughter of my landlady was waiting for me at the train station and helped me with my luggage and she drove me to my new apartment. I had seen pictures, which I posted here, but it’s even nicer in person. Plus there were sheets on the bed and towels in the bathroom and everything was provided for me! I was pleasantly surprised by the generosity of the family and how nice my apartment was.

Unfortunately, I do not have pictures of my apartment or Bischofshofen yet. I’m still unpacking and I’ve been too exhausted to take any pictures. More updates to come later!


  1. This entry gave me a flashback to the first time I went abroad. I also had two bags and it was such a hassle and I definitely got overwhelmed. I have a feeling the Europeans you see probably never sweat and look calm cool and collected because they haven't been up all night and aren't carrying all of the stuff they will need for the next 9 months through train stations. So, don't let them make you feel bad with their no sweating. :D

    1. Yeah, I had the most luggage out of all the people I saw. And I hope to never do that again! I thought it wouldn't be that hard, but I think it's been the hardest traveling I've ever done.

  2. Don't Europeans sweat in situtions like these, too ;) I don't even know how all these people did it to seem so relaxed and calm. I can tell you whenever I'm stressed out people can see it right away ;)
    And I would have done the same thing: taking too much luggage on a trip like this. I always pack too much, and I would have no idea what to take for such a long trip to another country.
    I think you managed pretty well :)