16 February 2010

Inauspicious beginnings

DC has gotten a pretty ridiculous amount of snow since December. Apparently, Dulles International Airport recorded 72 inches of snow this year. While I usually declare DC to be full of wusses unable to handle a little snow...the city-wide shut down made perfect sense last week. I think that would even have stalled Michigan a little. My biggest concern was that I was supposed to fly out of DC on Friday for my beloved city of Belgrade. What if I couldn't get out? What if I were stuck in DC trying to deal with changing my ticket and losing days I was supposed to be in Belgrade?! Joy of joys though, that did not happen. After the massive snow storms last week, Dulles was fully functioning by Friday. Little did I suspect however, that getting out of DC would not be my biggest problem.

My flight got into Munich slightly later than scheduled but as I was facing a four hour layover I was not terribly heartbroken to arrive late. The heartbreak came later when my 11:00 flight was cancelled. Lufthansa rescheduled everyone for the 3:00 flight...which was cancelled. It seems that Belgrade was in the midst of its own Snowmageddon. I was rescheduled for Sunday's 3:00 flight (seats for the 11:00 were completely booked) and Lufthansa put us all up in a hotel for the night. But did the problems stop there? Oh no.

I asked that my suitcase be offloaded so I could have it for the night. What I really wanted was my laptop cord which I had not thought to bring with me because why would I need it (lesson learned). I waited for two hours for my suitcase while the baggage handlers told me to be patient as it usually took a little while. Finally I went to the counter to ask where in blazes my case was. You know where it was? Lost, that's where. Because so many European countries have been hit with bad weather over the last week, Munich has experienced a lot of delays and cancellations so the luggage storage room was a bit of a mess. How very unGerman of them. With a promise that the bag would probably be located within the hour and that they would deliver it to my hotel I finally left the airprot for my first glimpse of Munich in nearly 11 years. I saw snow. Sadly it was too late and I was too tired to even think about trekking into the city. Needless to say my suitcase was not delivered that night nor even the next morning.

When I checked in again at the airport I asked after my suitcase only to be told that it was still lost. Panic was beginning to set in. I could use one of the computers in my Belgrade office so that wasn't so bad. Lufthansa would reimburse 100% of toiletries and 50% of clothes which is great since I only ever seem to find designer lables here...but hair product! I have yet to find a salon in Belgrade that carries Tigi's Curls Rock (if anyone knows where to get it here let me know!). The horror of having to go without my hair product was almost too much. I checked at the Lufthansa service center shortly before my flight and found out two things: 1. my 3:00 was delayed due to weather in Nice, and 2. my suitcase was discovered! Hurrah! I ate a Rittersport for joy.

I really love Lufthansa. I hate that I have to fly American airlines where available. I have a feeling that United would have been much less helpful than the lovely people at Lufthansa. I hope that this will be the only snag during this trip. I have almost two full weeks in Serbia before I head to Kosovo for a week and from there Macedonia for a few days. Fingers crossed.

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