Nature...beyond our control and expecting the unexpected!

Published: May 3rd 2010
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On the very day we were going to fly out to Greece and meet our cruise ship, we never thought nor anticipated that a volcanic eruption would be in our way!! It was very unexpected!!! The volcanic ash ascended from Iceland and descended into the UK airspace causing severe flight restrictions. This meant on our arrival, Manchester Airport was officially closed and chaos reigned!!! We did not hear anything on the news prior so the situation came to us as a complete shock!

We thought there was a glimmer of hope for us to still fly when we checked in but this was diminished quickly when we were given food vouchers for our indefinite wait. I would have preferred to have been told the trip was off and then go home than doing all this waiting around from 5.30 am to 3.30 pm with entertaining ourselves with drinking coffee and wine; eating; reading; religiously following the flight information screen and praying for good news; shopping and pampering myself at the spa. Around 3.00pm, we were advised to leave our telephone numbers and go home. They should have asked us to do this earlier but, I guess, they were not to know and that the situation would become a bigger deal. We had joined the queue of angry, upset and shocked travellers where we left our numbers and collected our letters. We went through the "formalities" before embarking on our journey home. We were naturally disappointed and after being calm at the airport, I got emotional on my arrival at home.

The following day, we were told, unsurprisingly, our trip was cancelled and we would receive our refund. We have decided that we will go on our belated cruise next April. We all concluded that this is one of those things...nature has its own plans and is beyond our control. We were able to make alternative travel plans, and I was able to return to work earlier, and save some of my precious annual leave for better things. I can think of a million better things to do than hang around airports and feeling sorry for myself for something that I could not do anything about. It could have been a lot worse. I was able to get on with things once I was home unlike many who were unfortunately stranded abroad for days and days and paying out a fortune for their expenses.

I learnt a lot from this experience. This has been my first ever major disruption that happen on a trip and my first cruise was denied. I felt very philosophical from the experience but hope that I never have to experience anything like this again!

Since the experience, I was able to do some day trips locally and these are shared in my next blogs.


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