A judge’s Life : GP Bilbao
Bilbao GP was an adventure that i cannot forget.
I knew that the city had a Guggenheim Museum, so i booked a flight that would arrive Thursday morning so that i can visit the city.
Unfortunately, things would go a different way.
Long story short:
I left Bucharest at 6.am, destination Munich. Even if the Flight was half hour late, it was still good for me to catch the connection to Bilbao. But. immediate as i set foot in Munich i receive a text from Lufthansa that my flight to Bilbao is Cancelled. Tough luck, snow, and i sat to the ever increasing queue at the client service desks. A lot of flights were getting cancelled because of the weather. In the queue i met Riccardo and Alberto, and they were supposed to be in the same cancelled flight. We sat there for 2 hours i think (at most). The flight should have arrived in Bilbao at 11.20 am, and by 12:00 our turn at the customer care was due.
After some debate it was decided that we go to Paris with the 3.pm flight, and there we stay for 3 hours and catch the flight to Bilbao. That will not be the case, because at 6.pm we disembarked from the flight to Paris, that never left. We sat 3 hours in the aircraft doing nothing.
At this time, more and more flight were cancelled so the queue line at the customer service was 200m long. We sat there, and Riccardo, having a Frequent Flyer Card, sat in line at the business line. It was shorter. And we waited, advancing a few meters an hour. We started doing shifts, someone will go and rest while other took his place. About 11pm they announced that the desks will close at midnight. At 00:30am the desks closed and we still had 50 people in front of us.
Also they announced that there will be no hotel accommodation, and we are on our own. They still distributed water and some camembert cheese triangles. Blankets and small pillows for the lucky ones. Or some campaign beds. I searched with Alberto for a remote place in the airport, and at the far end we claimed some benches. We prepared to wake up at 5am, because that was the time the customer service would began the working hours.
At 2:00 am, Riccardo came and i was still awake. he told me he managed to get all of us into the flight for Stuttgart next morning, and we have the boarding at 7:30am. We slept, and at 7 i was right up, got a hot chocolate (from the free machines offered in Munich Airport by Lufthansa – that was the 20th chocolate) and prepared to go. We went, and left with 40 minutes delay. Time between connections was about 50 minutes. That was going to be close. We manged to pull that off and we were in the Germanwings flight from Stuttgart to Bilbao. However our luggage wasn’t. I’ve seen it off the plane from Munich and i was thinking that it would end up with us. But in Bilbao, we waited the bags that weren’t there. We filed claims for lost luggage and we were off to the GP site.
It was Friday noon and something and we were in Bilbao, without luggage (only backpacks), tired, smelly (although i washed in the Munich restrooms, and bought deodorant, so that i can be humanly looked upon).
No visiting, no nothing, and the next thing after check-in in the hotel was to go and buy clothes. I bought underwear, socks, Tee’s and a long sleeve. Judge shirts were going to be provided. We had 1 hour to finish, taking a shower and get back to the GP site. Al of us were scheduled to work that friday and no sight-seeing.
Although the GP event itself was small, and without major incidents, we felt good. After 3 days event finished, and we prepared to go to the Judge dinner, when i was called form the reception, saying that my luggage arrived. Sunday evening, when i was going to leave city at 9am. Great. Took luggage, admired the beautiful folded Tee’s, the plenitude of socks prepared the next day wardrobe and packed the bags.
Monday. 6 hours delay. SMS notified of canceled flight. Finally arrived in Munich, and took the last plane home. Tuesday at 00:35-01:00 i was in Otopeni Airport trying to get a bus home. Hell of a journey, that supposed to have a sight-seeing tour of Bilbao, and an arrival home in the afternoon so i can be fresh for next day at work. :)
These were only positive matched by the company and fellow judges and team-mates at the GP. I think that was the best. I had a lot of fun, and learned some really useful stuff. Met some exceptional people that gave me good ideas about helping the communities in my country. Thank you for that.
For me that was the first, and i hope the only experience if this type. I will be flying again with Lufthansa, but i will try to stay out of the weather from now on. :P
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