6:30 pm, September 30, 2014.
We’re in Spain. But our suitcases aren’t.
This had to do with the hour delay in taking off in Vancouver. By the time we reached Heathrow we were more than an hour behind, and received an ‘Express Pass’, allowing us make the connection in 20 minutes by skipping everything but security.
Anyway, the upshot is that we made it. But our suitcases didn’t. This is the first time we’ve arrived without suitcases in all these years of travelling, but I suppose it had to happen some time.
At the airport they tracked the suitcases and promised us they’d be delivered to our hotel the next day, giving us a ‘property irregularity’ report with a phone number to call back if they didn’t show up “mañana mañana” (tomorrow morning).
9:00 pm, September 30th.
At our hotel we had to go through a long Spanglish pantomime in order to inform the hotel manager about the lost suitcases. He promised to tell the day manager to expect them. (Or at least I think he did, but later it appeared that perhaps I misunderstood.)
11:30 am, October 1st.
After a classic late night evening in Madrid, we slept in until 11:30 in the morning. The first thing we did upon awakening was to check whether or not our suitcases had arrived. They hadn’t.
The day manager hadn’t heard from the night manager, so we had to go through the whole painful process of describing our lost luggage again. He assured us that when our suitcases arrived they would be put in our room.
After breakfast we headed off to the Reina Sofia, the modern art museum that I especially wanted to see, suitcases or no suitcases.
4:00 pm, October 1st.
After the art museum we raced back to our room to check for our suitcases. They still hadn’t arrived and there was no one to be found anywhere in our hotel.
And although we had a phone number for the aeropuerto, we couldn’t phone them because we hadn’t yet gotten around to purchasing a sim card. So off we went in search of a sim card.
6:00 pm, October 1st.
When, at long last, we got back to our room in the hotel, ¡Ai, ai, ai, no hay! Now we were in a bit of a panic. We were leaving the next morning and couldn’t postpone without a lot of problems.
The only person we could find in the hotel was the cleaning lady and she didn’t understand any English. Consequently we had to go through the process of miming our sad situation with lost luggage again.
Of course by this time I had practiced the speech several times. I got as far as “Nuestras maletas estan perdidas. El aeropuerto nos dijo que llegan esta mañana…” when she started flapping her arms excitedly and babbling on in Spanish.
When she saw I didn’t understand a word she was saying, she dragged me into a little room and there were our long lost suitcases.
They had been delivered when the manager was on a break and she had no idea who they belonged to; no one had left a note for her…
What a relief. The system works!
The suitcases had this tag on them, indicating that we had a ‘short’ connection, and that was before we had been delayed by over an hour.
Heck of a way to start a trip. I hope it is all downhill from here. Try to find the humor in it all!
Way to turn a traveler’s nightmare into a lighthearted incident on the road : )
Most traveler’s nightmares turn into adventures in the retelling; sometimes I even think of how funny it will sound even when I’m caught up right in the middle of a situation!
Lost baggage is really horrible, especially when you are staying in a city for a short time only. It’s especially weird how bad communication at the hotel was working. Luckily, you sorted things out in the very end 🙂
How did you survive without your luggage for a few days? Did you have spare clothes in a hand-carry? I have thought about the possibility of lost baggage happening to me but have always ignored it and not prepare spare clothes at all in a hand carry. Reading your post is reminding me that maybe I should really be prepared for such incidents.
No spare clothes or makeup or toothbrushes. But we both were dressed in all-purpose travel clothes (pants that zip off to shorts, etc.) as well as layers to contend with all sorts of possible weather/temperatures. I might carry a bit more next time – or at least a tooth brush – for some reason there weren’t any stores carrying them every where we went!