I started back fairly early. Our taxi arrived at Sandbjerg Gods to pick us up at about 8:45am and we headed to Sonderborg Lufthavn (airport). We were flying back to Copenhagen on the matte black supercool plane.
I flew out with my Norwegian colleagues, but they were able to continue on whereas I had to pick up my bag and check in for the rest of my flights. So I had to leave the security area and go back in. Which ate up some time, at least, as my Heathrow flight wasn’t leaving until the afternoon.
I sat by the windows at the Yo!Sushi restaurant to have lunch. It was a cute multicoloured place with a conveyor belt carrying food around that you chose and ate.
Then I stopped at the Starbucks right next door and got a nice warm chai latte, which I received when the barista called “Yenni”. The Danish J.
My gate was published by then so I started heading for gate D102. Which was past passport control. I stamped out of Denmark and was truly on my way home. I found more lovely seats on an upper tier heading towards my gate, but by that point I really needed to charge my phone so I sadly left the quiet, solitary, super comfortable chairs and went in search.
I found my gate and there was a wall outlet right beside a set of chairs near the deserted desk and locked door. It was baffling. There wasn’t a waiting area to speak of really. We were all confused because we could see people downstairs who looked like they were also at our gate. No, they weren’t, actually. We got pre-boarded and sent down to a holding pen. Then the next official lady started to allow us to board, first calling the business class passengers. But she was rushed by all sorts of people in our holding pen.
“Wait, no, you’re not business… Hold on… Ugh, forget it, fine. Go!”
Thus the rudeness of the mob meant that there was no orderly boarding process. I felt badly for her.
The flight from Copenhagen to Heathrow was quick, but we spent at least 20 minutes in a holding pattern waiting for clearance to land. While we were waiting, I took pictures of clouds.
When I got into Heathrow, I forgot about going through security again, so I ended up pounding 400mL of water from my bag so that I could keep my bottle. It was very handy for the long flight, to keep me hydrated. Once I got through all the checkpoints, I was face to face with the departures board. And I got a punch in the gut.
18:00 Toronto Delayed to 21:00, gate given at 20:00.
I marched over to the Air Canada Transfer Passengers desk and inquired. Yes, the woman said, I would be missing my last connection to Ottawa. They would provide me with a hotel and vouchers and rebook me on the earliest possible flight the next day.
I was so deflated. My schedule to get home had already been a gigantic slog that was another feat of strength (my trip to Sonderborg had been my first feat of strength that week). To add in an overnight stay in TO just made me want to cry. I wanted to be home.
There was also the possibility that I wouldn’t have clean clothes so I looked among the high end shops for a shirt to wear on the morning flight. The only one that would probably fit was going to cost more than $50 and was a sparkly silver that I knew I’d never wear again. So I risked it and didn’t buy anything.
I stopped in at the World Cafe for dinner and treated myself. As a rule, I don’t drink while flying because I have a hard enough time staying hydrated enough to feel human by the end of my transit. But I had a cider with dinner because, what the hell – I wasn’t going to be flying for three more hours anyway. I also may have had their deep fried mac ‘n cheese ‘n kale balls as an appetizer before a veggie burger topped with grilled haloumi cheese with a side of fries…
I bounced around Heathrow, successfully reading some of my book of yoga essays that my friend had given to me as a present during my nine wandering weeks. I had a big peppermint tea. I took off my hiking shoes and stretched a knot in my left calf and let my feet stretch out a bit.
Oh yeah, apparently Heathrow decorates for Christmas before Guy Fawkes Day. I didn’t mention it from my first passage on Tuesday, but…
Don’t get me wrong. They are attractive interpretive trees (another was composed of bias bands looking like sparkle edged ribbons set on diagonals so that they built a tree), but it’s too early.
My gate was published even before 20:00 so I got to hustle to another far flung arm of an airport to wait for boarding of my flight.
But I was right and it didn’t take long before we were rallying together to board. There was a prescreen process where a couple of officials looked at everyone’s passport and boarding pass. I couldn’t help wondering if it was to screen out potential Syrian refugees, because one man seemed to get many more questions than the majority of the white people going through. Hmmmm.
We had a minor mechanical thing that stalled our leaving, having had pushed back from the terminal already, and then just sat there for a while. So we had to taxi to a maintenance station to have maintenance staff reboot something, and then we finally took off, late. At that point there was no hope of me making my connection. So I tried my best to self-care during the flight. Alas, despite my seatmate leaving for the empty three seat row across from us (so she could lie down and sleep), I probably only got about 20 minutes of dozing while lying down across my two seats. I spent most of the 8 hour flight reading or writing in my journal. I would occasionally flip on the map to know where we were in transit.
When we touched down in TO, there was a helpful lady standing at the top of some stairs with a package for each of us who missed a connecting flight. We were given our luggage back, and we were given a breakfast voucher (which I forgot to use) and put up in the Crowne Plaza. After waiting for the shuttle bus and then waiting to check in at the hotel, I managed 2.5 hours of sleep in an actual bed (glorious) before I got up, showered, changed into my last outfit I didn’t get to wear (yay clean clothes!) and waited for the shuttle bus back to the airport. The lack of sleep was making me very wobbly.
Happily, we took off and got to Ottawa quickly. I got choked up as the tyres hit the runway, I was so glad to be home. My husband was waiting for me at the bottom of the escalator. And then, we went home and slept for three more hours. ;)
And that was my Denmark trip. I have a lot of work to do coming out of this.