It’s been a while.  Over a month, in fact. And once again, I’ve had some adventurous holiday travels.

Last year, just before Christmas, I got stuck in London for multiple days due to severe weather conditions. Both England and France were shut down, blaming the unusual weather.

This year, I got stuck in Paris at almost the exact same time of year due to very similar weather conditions. I’m not sure I believe the weather is “unusual” anymore.

I wasn’t supposed to be traveling back to the US at that time, but my mom’s flight to Europe (via Heathrow) got cancelled and my friend who was supposed to spend the holidays with us in southern France got the flu. So we decided it would be best if I returned home and booked me on the next flight out of Paris. It was a 7:30am flight to NYC via Portugal, so I went to the airport the evening before. At 11pm, I checked my flight status online and found out it was cancelled. I spent the next hour or so on the phone with the airline to reschedule my flights.

The next morning, mayhem in the airport ensued. Having not slept, I spent the early morning waiting in line at the airline’s ticket desk to try to get myself on the next available flight. I was surrounded by a few families that had been traveling for 3 days already because they had been stuck in London first. The women working the ticket desk were so unenthusiastic that they opened up the desk nearly an hour late. Most people were too drained and miserable to complain.

I finally made it to the ticket desk only to find out that the airline I was flying didn’t have a stand-by option, so I just had to hope that my rescheduled flight for later in that day actually took off (I rescheduled it for rather late in the day in hope that the afternoon conditions would be better). Later, I found out that some flights were taking off with empty seats despite the number of people stuck in the airport.

I had several hours until my flight, so I went to the airport’s medical facility and slept. In addition to being stuck in the airport, I was on antibiotics for a throat/chest infections that had gone untreated for 2 weeks since the UK’s NHS seems to have an aversion to prescribing antibiotics, and I had gotten the flu from my friend and was running a fever.

Eventually my flight took off, and I made it to Portugal. I spent the night in a hotel near the airport and caught a flight to NYC the following day. I had all the usual delays and felt miserable, but I was so happy to finally make it home that I didn’t care. My overall travel time from Paris to my mom’s house in CT was over 48 hours.

Once I was home, things got much better. It took me another couple days to get rid of my fever, but then I started feeling better for the first time in weeks. My travel luck finally turned around a bit and I made it into and out of New York City with no problems in the midst of the crazy snow storm that shut the city down. And I spent a very nice New Years in Vermont (and went skiing for the first time in years).

On the way back to the UK, I almost missed my flight because the New York area was once again hit by snow. The city itself seemed fine, but the roads from CT to the airport were covered with snow and blocked (due to several accidents). It took us an hour to drive 6 miles. Eventually we reached some clear roads and made it to the airport in time. The rest of my travels back went smoothly.

Now I’m back in Cambridge and done with traveling for a bit. I’m drained from the illnesses and the travel stress, so the next couple weeks will probably involve some recovery. And I’ve decided that this is the last time I’ll ever travel to northern Europe during the winter holidays.

Happy 2011, everyone.

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