Nightmare tales from Northern Europe
Issued on: Modified:
Some of the hundreds of thousands of passengers stuck in the UK, northern France, Germany and Sweden have decided to find a different way home after four days of disruptions caused by the volcanic ash cloud that emerged following the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland last week. Read the accounts of two of them...
Eurostar trains between the UK and continental Europe have been fully-booked all weekend.
Some of the hundreds of thousands of passengers stuck in the UK, northern France, Germany and Sweden have decided to find a different way home after four days of disruptions caused by the volcanic ash cloud that emerged following the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland last week.
Exasperated travellers are teaming together on the Web, where the tag "getmehome" on Twitter turns over thousands of nightmarish tales. Here are two of them.
"For the first time in his life, my 13 year-old kid told me he wants to go back to school"
Mark Emsley is an IT support specialist from Bristol.
I was on a skiing holiday in Ruka [northeast Finland] with my Swedish wife and our two children, six and 13 years old. We watched the news about the volcano eruption but we had no idea that it was the beginning of such a mess. Friday we decided to call the airline to check that everything was ok but they told us that all flights had been cancelled and that it was a ‘an act of god'. They kept repeating the expression to make sure we understood that we would not be reimbursed.
We couldn't stay in Ruka; the hotel was too expensive. So I decided to rent a car and drive to Turku [southwest Finland], where my wife's family lives. It's a 12 hour drive and it cost us over 500 euros for the gas...
Since then, we've been camping out in my wife's brother in law's living room. We have no idea how we'll manage to get back to the UK. All the ferries leaving Finland are fully booked and even then we'd need to make it to Stockholm...."
If I were alone, I would have tried to sneak into a ferry or sleep in a train station, but I have the children with me. Getting out of Finland is just so difficult. Even my kids are starting to be bored of this extra-holiday. For the first time in his life, my 13 year-old kid told me he wants to go back to school..."
Mark and his family's trip so far. Image: Google Maps.
“This has cost me around 600 euros”
Jed Christiansen is an American engineer who works for Google in London.
I was on a business trip in Moscow, supposed to fly back to London Friday night via Dusseldorf. But I received a text from Lufthansa saying the flight was cancelled, because Dusseldorf airport was closed. So I booked a flight for Vienna and I got lucky, my plane landed a few hours before the airport closed. I spent a night in a hotel in Vienna and then took a train to Kôln early in the morning. I made all the bookings on my laptop using the Wifi network at Starbucks. After a 10 hour train journey, I spent the night in Koln, where I had the chance to visit the cathedral. On Sunday morning I found a Eurostar ticket form Brussels to London St Pancras. This part cost me around 600 euros extra. But it feels good to be home. A colleague of mine, who was in Moscow with me, took another option. He decided to take an overnight train to Helsinki Friday night. He's still there."
Jed's journey. Image: Google Maps.