We Missed TWO Flights…
Journal Entry 1
The past few days have been tough…. very tough actually! Today, we would have already crossed our first border into Lisbon. But who would have thought that such an important person in our lives will leave us on the same departure date we set months ago? We woke up on Friday morning, ready more than ever to pack our final belongings and make our way to the airport. I walked out of the bedroom with a bright smile, up until I saw mum crying in the living room – and it was then when she gave us the news … Grandma was gone!
We would have never forgiven ourselves if we just left – as if nothing has happened. Honestly, up to today, we still can’t believe that she’s gone!
We decided to cancel everything, and start all over – this time with a lot more pressure since we needed to do all the work we did in the previous two months … IN JUST 48 HOURS!
So, we changed the plan completely. We had to sacrifice Spain’s capital (which we were so hyped about visiting), but most of all Atmosphere Living’s cosy apartments – where the people made us feel at home from weeks before just by their emails and WhatsApp messages. These are the guys to talk to for any long-term student accommodation in Madrid!
Besides Madrid, we had to forget all about the Camino Portugues, something we’ve been bragging about for months. But we couldn’t have done it any other way since the flights were too expensive for our budget.
We want to give a shout out to Boavista Guest House who immediately understood our situation for not going forward with the initial agreement. We’ll surely come knocking on your doors next time we actually make it to Porto!
So, we decided to start from scratch … starting with flights. We tried contacting Ryanair to use the “No Flight Change Fee” they’ve been promoting since flights resumed all around Europe. We thought we could change our flight for free to any date and then just pay the fare difference. However, we got to know that this offer can only be used 7 days or more before the original flight departs. That’s the fine print for y’all!
The cheapest flight we could find was heading to Athens … and we thought – yeah, we’re up for some Greek food. Unlike any other time booking a flight, we didn’t think twice! In a blink of an eye we booked our flights and just like that, our adventure was now starting from Greece!
If you thought it was going to be that easy – think again! We showed up at the airport, four hours in advance as we couldn’t hold our excitement. We had already checked in online, passed security at the airport and we were patiently waiting for our flight to start boarding. The time had come, we lined up and as soon as it was our turn – we were asked for the ‘QR Code’. Innocently enough, we showed our boarding passes. However, things were far more complicated than that. Apparently, in order to be able to fly into Greece, we had to submit a form at least 24 hours before our scheduled departure, which then the department in charge will send us the corresponding QR code to show at the gate.
The funny thing is that out of all passengers, it was us and another three passengers who weren’t notified about this via email from the airline. Obviously, this would be all covered again in the small print – so no one could be held liable, except for ourselves of course! Long story short, we were denied boarding.
We never felt our heads spinning so fast. After calming ourselves down, we started our search for the cheapest and fastest way we could get ourselves to Greece – and luckily we found a good deal via Milan. The long journey included a flight to Bergamo Airport, a lovely overnight on Bergamo Airport’s outdoor steel chairs, a transit from Bergamo to Malpensa Airport and FINALLY, a flight from Malpensa to Athens.
Just a tip to anyone travelling anytime soon, make sure to check this link for the latest updates on each of the country’s respective requirements.
Yesterday, we landed in the majestic city that’s full of history, and gosh, it already looks beautiful. In fact, we were welcomed by a state-of-the-art hostel (which we’ll tell you all about in more detail later) right in the city centre.
Some very exciting spots await us. Till then, we’ll just wander around while with a very minimal plan in hand and with a happy heart to FINALLY start our adventure!