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Published: April 20th 2010
COPENHAGEN/HAMBURG/ROTTERDAM Day 86
I went extra early to the train station to scout out the best location to get onto the train and to see how many people would be waiting for the same train; there were far too many people waiting. My plan on getting on to the train was not even to bother searching for an empty seat that is unreserved, the staff already warned us that there maybe 15 seats unreserved and about 100 of us waiting to fill them, I would look for the best spot to put my bag down and sit on top of it. So that is exactly what I did. I got on the train and found the perfect spot that I could comfortably sit on top of my pack while everyone else scrambled up and down the aisle looking for a seat and then eventually returning to where they began to find that they would have to cram into a corner or lean against a wall. So I sat on the floor for the 4 hour journey and made it to Hamburg to change to another train where I also didn’t have a seat and after an hour there I had to change to another train and finally one more until I arrived in Rotterdam.
As I have ridden the trains, overhearing conversations, I have received more details about exactly what had caused all these flyers to wind up on the rails with me. Apparently, a volcano in Iceland erupted and sent ash up into the atmosphere. Well this ash can be very dangerous to the engines of planes that fly so all throughout Northern Europe ( Some 20 odd countries including:Ireland, UK, Amsterdam, Belgium, France, Spain, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and the country that shall not be named) airports have literally closed. No planes fly in Europe. This precaution is taking place because some many years ago a volcano erupted and a plane flew no where near it but through clouds that had the particles in it and it stalled all the engines and it started to fall. Thankfully the engines started back up just in the nick of time but no one wants to risk it again. And since Iceland is the furthest north the cloud is slowly making its way south across all of these European countries and even though it isn’t over Ireland anymore or the UK the planes have no where to fly to because the cloud is heading south and covering other places. So it is a right mess. And on top of that this is the last weekend of the Easter holidays for the UK so all these families that have been holidaying in Amsterdam and other places in Europe were already returning home this weekend which made the trains and ferries a little more full than usual and now add on thousands of people who had flights that have been cancelled with no definite on when the planes will start back up it is just getting worse by the minute.
I met a girl from London who had a flight from Berlin cancelled. We met on the train to Rotterdam as she was planning on taking a ferry across like me. Well the phones were completely tied up so I couldn’t call in a booking with the ferry and I had no internet access on the trains so I had to wait till I arrived in Rotterdam to get a ticket and guess what? On Friday evening the earliest they could get me on a ferry was Tuesday afternoon. Jennifer, my new friend, was able to call her father in the morning and have him use the internet to make her a booking on the ferry, but the earliest she could even get was Monday afternoon. We even checked all the bus companies and the Eurostar train and all were booked to Monday or Tuesday as well. So we are shit out of luck and trapped in the Netherlands. And obviously the hostels are jacking up their prices even more than usual so we are paying 30Euro/night. Jennifer also had friends that stayed behind in Berlin hoping this wouldn’t last long and they could rebook a flight and the earliest flight they could get is Wednesday and that depends on if the airport is even open yet. THIS IS INSANE. How can a volcano cause this much damage all over Europe? It is so very much unreal. And I thought things would get better after I escaped from Sweden.
Anyways, Jennifer and I are tired so we will get some sleep and try at the ferry station tomorrow and see if there are any cancellations.
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