Wednesday, March 05, 2008

And we're back

The holiday started out well. I forgot my passport at home. An awesome realisation to make on the train, 5 minutes away from the airport. I had to race home by taxi, and paid 180 euros for the stress.
Now, remember the KLM dilemma? We booked KLM flights three months before our holiday. Then we learnt that we were not going to make our transfer (a once weekly event) to the ski lodge. We tried to change, NOT CANCEL, our KLM details. KLM would not allow this, not even two and a half months before. We were informed that we could not cancel our flights, we couldn't change, upgrade. Fuck nothing.

So, we booked a new outgoing flight through BA and left the KLM booking. Back to the actual day, we made our first flight into London. The transfer from London to Venice was delayed by 40 minutes due to the original flight staff being stuck in Manchester. The replacement staff could only have been called out of retirement, judging by the average age.

We got to our lodge at midnight on Saturday, to learn that our snowboarding lessons which I had requested for 14:30 on Sunday afternoon, were in fact booked for 08:30. I had email correspondence to prove otherwise. Mild chaos on Sunday morning as we arranged gear rental and rearranged lesson times.

The lessons themselves were relatively uneventful. Mills and I spent a lot of time on our bums, hips, knees and heads. During one tumble, I opened my eyes to see nothing but my snowboard - and clear blue sky. A few backsomersaults later, I was ready to try standing again.

On the Wednesday, just as I was getting bold enough to try a few slopes outside of the kindergarten area, I effectively demonstrated how to "catch edge" and flung myself facefirst down a slope, banging my knee properly in the process. A snowmobile was sent to transport me to meet an ambulance. I was mortified. The first aid dude couldn't speak English but kept insisting "Ambulenzi. Picture. Picture." and pointing at my knee. I insisted that I really didn't want an ambulenzi, so he eventually conceded to just take me back to the lodge. The only time I used the ski-in, ski-out facility of our accomodation was when I was on the back of the snowmobile. I stayed off the board for the rest of the week and focussed my attentions on dominating the table tennis tournaments.

Then on the final evening, Mills went to check in for our return flight home. Seasoned travellers will probably foresee what we didn't...

Although we couldn't cancel our tickets on request, apparently KLM can. When we didn't book in for our first leg, we apparently forfeited our return flight. It was in our terms and conditions, according to KLM. No compensation, no reimbursement. No after-sales. Fuck nothing.

We were forced to find alternative transport the night before. Three hours later, and 560 euros later, we had new transfer flights - again back through London. Unfortunately, our first flight was late on Saturday evening and the next was early Sunday. This entailed organising accommodation for Mills and I, as well as for my brother (who was supposed to be meeting us at the airport on our return... which wasn't going to happen now). We ended up crashing at Kop's place, who kindly slept on the couch (he didn't have much choice as he was out on the town when we crawled into his bed). You see how many people KLM have inconvenienced?

When preparing to check-in at Venice, I noticed "Cancellato" next to our flight. We decided to ignore this minor detail as there were two Easyjet flights at the same time. It simply was not an option to be considered.

Up at 4:30am on Sunday to make our 7am final flight. We had already been travelling for almost 24 hours - to get back from Italy, normally a 2 hours direct flight. Easyjet boarded our flight, then informed us that due to some twat checking in and not arriving for boarding, the baggage was being unpacked and we had missed our take-off time slot. The next take-off slot was in two hours time. We would not be disembarking. They offered all passengers a glass of water as compensation. A baby started screaming in the front row. I didn't blame it.
Finally, a full 30 hours after leaving our ski lodge, Mills and I trudged into our flat with my brother in tow.

And that is why I hate KLM. More to follow on that subject.
Despite all our travelling woes, the week was fantastic. A holiday with four vets, one dentist, two doctors, a biokinetisist (I'm too lazy to look up how to spell that) and a dietician leads to very interesting dinner conversation... "WHY are we talking about urinary tracts again??"

The vets also introduced me to a term called Vestiphobia. A fear of clothing. At first, I thought they were making it up - but I now truly believe they have an adversity to clothing. They even went snowboarding naked in fading daylight. Their enthusiasm was contagious, which resulted in naked bumboarding on the slope outside our lodge on the final night. Skidding off the bumboard brought a whole new meaning to freezer burn - and "bottom's up!"


Anonymous said...

I think it's called Karma - were you not thinking of booking luggage on to the KLM flight sometime and not boarding to get back at "them' for being so un-accomodating????
Travelling is not all it's cracked up to be and as far as snow sport is concerned - I'm not interested thanks. Table tennis even sounds better!!

Little Big Sis said...

You never really thought you'd get through an entire holiday without tripping over something did you? ... just never though it would be half way down the ski slope :-)
Sounds like a you had a fabulous time!

And what is it about snow that inspires people to play in it naked, especially guys. I know some guys who found the need to leopard crawl through some last year! Funny to watch.

Expensive Mistakes and Cheap Thrills said...

dude. did you not see you're a finalist for 'Best South African Blog Written Overseas'....|??

go check it out!!!

Wicked Witch of the north said...

Hi Koeks,

Thrilled about the nomination, we do so enjoy reading your thrills and spills

Lotsa luv

Koekie said...

Woohoo! Thanks Mistakes and Thrills... I clearly didn't know, but it's made my week :-) Please vote for me everyone!! (blatant self-promotion)

Little Big Sis - I did get through an entire holiday without breaking anything. Then I made up for it last night by breaking two glasses (the second shattered spectacularly. It was pretty).

Expensive Mistakes and Cheap Thrills said...

dude. i totally nominated you. and when i was telling other people who else to vote for, i punted your blog big time. i love it!

Lopz said...

Welcome back Koekie! I love your blog, and I feel a certain kinship with you. Travel drama is my absolute specialty.. it's simply not possible for me to go anywhere without the maximum amount of stress and trauma. Glad you made it, and I SO feel for you for that disastrous travel home!

Koekie said...

Mistakes and Thrills - muchos appreciated! The compliment is returned, love your blog and commend you on taking the scary step into motherhood :-)

Lopz - it just never seems to end. There is ALWAYS something that happens when I'm travelling. Always. It's hard not to take it personally...

kop said...

I'm still waiting for you guys to settle your account!