I guess everyone agrees that a semester abroad already is an intense and adventurous experience. But who would have expected that the first adventure was going to be the journey itself? Well, I didn’t. To be honest, my journey to the hotel Paraíso del Cocodrilo in Samara was anything but usual and boring.
The plan was travelling from Frankfurt Airport to the Airport of San José in about 19 hours, but kind of nothing went according to plan for me. As you can see, the journey itself already promised to be exhausting and quite long. So as if that wouldn’t have been enough, there was a wide variety of obstacles and turbulence adding up on the way.
It started with little things. All by themselves not too bad, but If you are already a nervous wreck because of the adventure you’re going to take, those little things are enough to get you off course. And that’s pretty much what happened to me. Only 1,5 hours ran smoothly, then the trouble started.
The tickets have been bought months in advance, my suitcase has been ready for at least two ours, and the car ride from Bonn to Frankfurt shouldn’t be a problem at 3.00am. So, I was heading to the check-in to finally start my adventure. The schedule:
Frankfurt – Madrid, Madrid – Miami, Miami – San José, San José – Samara.
Not that hard, is it?
But apparently it was.
Arriving at the check-in counter, at first everything was as it should have been. I’m handing over my passport and the flight information, the person behind the counter starts checking and typing. Well, I have to admit, as the guy behind the counter asked me what the final destination of my journey was, I was slightly confused, because that was the information I just handed him. When I answered with Costa Rica and he seriously asked his colleague, whether Costa Rica was a state in the U.S., I started doubting his competence. As the question of my destination was settled and the guy behind the counter finally understood that it was San José, Costa Rica, and not San José, Costa Rica, USA, the next obstacle came across. When having a transit in the USA you need a visa. Because of other journeys I was familiar with the procedure and already had a valid visa. Well, at least that’s what I thought, but the person opposite didn’t agree and sent me to another counter to get that checked. Slightly stressed I went to the next counter, only to get told that I still had a valid visa (funny, isn’t it?), so they printed a confirmation for me and sent me back again.
Back at the end of the check-in line. This time I was talking to a nice lady, who neither had a problem finding my visa, nor finding Costa Rica on a map. Sadly, not even then my journey should start easily. Unfortunately, she only could hand me one of the three boarding passes I was going to need for my journey. So I was sent to another counter. Again. But before she had sent me to the next counter she arranged for my suitcase to be booked through to San José, so I wouldn’t have to reclaim it in the U.S.
Arriving at the next Counter, another Lady could finally hand me all my boarding passes. You wouldn’t believe how relieved I was finally having everything I needed to get started. But just for making sure it wouldn’t be too easy and clear for me, the second Lady told me that I nevertheless had to reclaim my luggage at the Airport of Miami and check it in a second time. Would have been quite boring if everything went according to plan.
Let’s get started
I know it’s hard to believe, but the next steps of my journey went smoothly. At least at first. Well, there was some turbulence during the flight, but in the end I arrived first in Madrid and then in Miami. By the way, finding my visa there was no problem at all. It was my suitcase that caused me a lot of worry, because according to the last information I had gotten, I had to pick it up at the baggage claim and check it in again.
But when I arrived at the baggage carousel, there was no sign of my suitcase. Of course this had to happen. After asking what to do now I got reassured that I definitely had to pick it up, so I went and looked again, but, as I said before, there was no sign of my suitcase (and believe me when I tell you, you couldn’t miss it). So I went to another official and stated the whole situation, only to get told that I should hurry up and get to the gate because I had a transit flight and the suitcase would go straight to San José. Well, didn’t I hear that one before? Honestly, I was that stressed out, that I went straight to the gate and didn’t care anymore. If my suitcase got lost, it wouldn’t be my problem to find it. Pretty annoyed but still a bit glad that I could finally start the next part of my journey I got into the next plane, which should bring me to San José.
Well, it SHOULD bring me to San José…
Miami – San José – Liberia – Miami
After three hours of turbulence in the air, we should have started landing at the airport of San José. But instead of telling the passengers that soon we would be arriving at our destination…
Well, that’s it for the first part of my trip, if you want to read more, go check out the next part that’s coming soon!
By Esther Feustel