Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Travel Tails

Winging it

Folk night in Bunratty Folk park was more than we anticipated, and in a great way. Just like at the castle banquet, we were fortunate to be near the stage, with a great view of the entertainment. Once again, our lovely servers, were also our entertainers. There was Irish dancing, music, singing and comedy, too. A young man played the bodrahn, an Irish drum of sorts, and he did so while Irish dancing! All in all, it was an enjoyable way, to spend our last evening in Ireland, and we were out before the river flooded onto the road, too.
We had to be at the airport in Shannon, two hours before our flight. As we’d checked in on line the night before, we didn’t have to worry about too much, and that’s how we liked it. A short bus ride, and we’d be there. What was even better was, the bus stop was right across the high road from our hotel. We were feeling pretty pleased with ourselves, for choosing to fly out of Shannon, instead of having to go all the way back to Dublin. This was easier, and made perfect sense.
We were joined by a brother and sister from Italy, Rome to be precise. Unlike the girlchild and I, they were just beginning their exploration. They’d planned on taking public transportation, like we’d done, but their giant backpacks negated that idea. I don’t know how they even carried them, or why there were sleeping bags tied onto the tops, but the load was definitely too much to lug around. The girlchild and I, had learned from our first trip over, to pack as lightly as possible. We’d gone from lugging eighteen and thirty pounds of weight in our packs, to around fourteen. We definitely travelled light. They did not.
The bus wasn’t on time, yet we weren’t too worried about it. Schedules were more like possibilities, than hard and fast rules. It had likely been a bit early, and finding no one waiting, had simply carried on. No worries, there’d be another, and another after that. Public transit in Ireland was truly great, with a good ninety-eight percent of the drivers, being simply wonderful. Speaking of wonderful drivers, we so hoped to see ‘our’ driver. The one who had so wisely, left us at Bunratty.
This wasn’t to be. We’d been waiting about ten or fifteen minutes or so, chatting with our Italian, bus stop friends, we who spoke no Italian, they with a few words of English, when the lady from the front desk of the hotel, came hurrying out. Waving an arm for attention, as she scurried towards us, it was clear that something was up. Something certainly was up indeed. The buses were on strike. We were standing there, waiting for a bus that wouldn’t come, and we had a plane to catch. No problem. She kindly offered to call us a cab, and our new, Italian friends would share the cab with us. In no time at all, the cab came and we made it to the airport, well within the allotted time.
Murphy’s law is, what can go wrong, will. As it turned out, good, old Murphy actually wasn’t done mucking us about. Our plane wasn’t quite ready to go. It was having some sort of electrical problems, they needed to sort out. My thoughts on the matter were, for them to take all the time they needed. Properly functioning electrical on or in an airplane, is likely very important.
Well, between a delay in the airport before boarding, then another before we took off, we ended up leaving a couple of hours late. Still, we had an hour of cushion time upon arriving in Toronto, plenty of time to catch our connecting flight to Winnipeg. Plenty of time, if everything went as expected. Problem was, our old friend Murphy wasn’t quite done with us yet. Somehow, some way, we lost a bit more time, crossing the Atlantic. We landed at Toronto, with fifty minutes to spare. No problem, we could still make our connection. It wasn’t as if we had luggage to wait for. All we had was, the small backpacks we had carried on. It would work out. We wouldn’t miss our flight. Travelling and exploring Ireland for a month, is pretty brilliant, but we were eager to get back home to our family, and our own horses.
After asking other passengers to allow us off the plane ahead of them, with only one man grumbling about it, we stood there for ages upon ages, and in the end, asking other passengers to allow us to jump the queue, didn’t help at all. We couldn’t get off that darn plane. On top of that, they had shut the plane down. We all sweltered in that stuffy, crowded plane, and couldn’t do a darn thing. We were trapped. Held hostage, by an airline policy to conserve fuel. We were doomed to exist in stifling heat, all because the mechanism that moved the boarding bridge to the plane wasn’t working. There it was, that all important boarding bridge, but a few feet away, and there we were, that short yet impossible distance, between us and freedom. Because of a malfunction, we couldn’t disembark, and missed our connection.
As it turned out, the boarding bridge wasn’t the issue, the operator was. There was a switch that had inadvertently been turned off, and they didn’t figure that out for ages. There we were, we’d missed our plane, and were pretty well broke after a month of travel. We certainly didn’t have the money for new plane tickets, or a hotel room either. We were stuck in Toronto, a city that is very expensive.
Poor sweetpea. She so wanted to go home. Of course travel is amazing, adventure exciting, but when you’ve got in your mind that you will soon be home, it’s all you want. It was time to go into full adulting mode, and I was grateful for the fact that we had travel insurance. With a little luck and unwavering patience and tenacity, this big hiccup, could be figured out. The idea of sleeping at the airport, had absolutely no appeal.
Though we’d flown in on one carrier, and it was the circumstances of that airline that had caused us to miss our next flight, it was West Jet, the connection we had missed that treated us with exemplary service. Not only did they get us onto the next available flight, which wasn’t until the next morning, they also put us up in one of the rooms, they reserved for their pilots and staff. We ate a lovely meal (sweetpea had pan-seared swordfish) we both had ridiculously expensive soup, and were reimbursed by insurance for our dinner. We had an excellent sleep, in a beautiful room with two king-sized beds. The next morning, we paid a token amount to catch a flight out, twenty-five dollars each, if I remember correctly, and we were finally on the way home.
Upon arriving home, we finally understood the disappointment that had met the news that we’d missed our flight. Hubby and the boychild, had worked on the barn, and they had strung lights on the buildings and house as well. The hope was that we would be greeted by a lovely display of lights. Though this wasn’t the case, it was still great to be home. We got to enjoy the beauty of their efforts that night though, and yes, it sure was great to be home.

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About Trudy Andrew

Trudy Andrew lives on a small farm just east of Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she enjoys her Morgan horses. A dreamer since she was a child, its no surprise to those who know her well that her imagination would find an outlet in writing, as it has in the past through artwork.
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 Oakbank, MB