Being from Chicago, I was fairly excited to have a winter where it wouldn't explode with snow. Don't get me wrong, I love snow. It's always gorgeous, especially when it's sparkling in the sun or falling softly from the sky just as the light fades. However, for a change, it would have been nice to have a tame winter in which I didn't have to bundle up to my eyebrows just so I could walk to class.
When in the process of leaving Barcelona, disaster struck. I arrived at the airport only to learn that my lovely, direct flight to Edinburgh had been cancelled. OK...don't panic...I tried to stay optimistic, to remind myself that I would get home somehow. But wait, I forgot that I was flying RyanAir. I only had two options: either receive a full refund for the cancelled flight or be put on the next flight...on Wednesday. That would not do! It was Sunday night, and there was no way I could stay for three extra days. Needless to say, I opted for the refund. I gathered up my things and marched over to the EasyJet desk, hoping that they would have some way to get me home. Oh, they did alright...for a lot of money and two flights, I could get back into Edinburgh the next night. Seeing no other option, I went ahead and booked. I said goodbye to Elizabeth and went to find a spot in the terminal where I could spend the night.
Within the hour, however, the very small terminal began to empty. The one coffee shop was in the process of closing, and people were leaving. Feeling a bit creeped out, I called my mom who then booked me a hotel for the night. Thanks, Mom! Best birthday gift I could have asked for! For a change, I actually got to sleep in a bed. Unlike the Gatwick disaster of 2008, I didn't have to sleep in a Starbucks. Instead, I had a bed, a computer, food, a shower, and a TV on which I could watch Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's Passport to Paris in Spanish...which I did. That alone made it totally worth it.
The next morning I departed for Gatwick. My flight went off smoothly, thankfully. I landed in Gatwick and immediately went to the EasyJet desk to receive a weather update about Edinburgh -- the response? "The 7:15 flight to Edinburgh hasn't been cancelled....yet..."
(The very snowy castle that I came home to)
I found a spot in Costa Coffee, where I planned to park myself for the next 8 hours until my flight. The one advantage of a massive layover? You basically have no excuse to NOT do work. Between chatting with my mom on the phone and all of the cups of coffee that I consumed, I managed to write the bulk of one of my essays.
When check-in for my flight opened at 4:45, I planned to be there right when it opened. Good thing, since I was one of the first to learn that it had been cancelled. Luckily I was only the second person in line at the rebooking desk, for I was able to grab the last spot on the last flight to Glasgow that night. If I had been just one person back in line, I would have been stuck in Gatwick for the night.
Of course, my flight to Glasgow was a bit delayed, but we managed to land fine. From Glasgow, I found a shuttle to the city center, where I then walked to the train station. Once there, I ran to the train -- which was the last one going to Edinburgh that evening. I still can't get over my luck. If I had been just 5 minutes later, I would have been stranded in Glasgow.
Once I got back into Edinburgh, about 28 hours later than originally planned, I finally saw the reason for my two cancelled flights. On Monday night, there was about a foot of snow on the ground. Not a huge,
debilitating amount for Chicago standards, but if you never get snow, then your city would certainly shut down. Even now, on Friday, most of the roads still aren't very clear. People have left their cars abandoned in the snowy streets until the snow melts, refusing to even try driving.
Almost none of the sidewalks are shoveled -- except for the areas in front of the pubs (Scotland really has their priorities straight). Most all of my classes have been rescheduled to a later date, with one cancelled all together. The library closed early for a few nights so that the staff could actually get home. Our cleaning staff has been MIA all this week - I know, poor little privileged kids have to do their own cleaning. Boo. Some Tescos still don't have bread or milk in stock, and their frozen food sections have been cleared out (guess I'm eating cheese and crackers for the next few days). The airport just opened yesterday, and it had been closed since Sunday. And, my personal favorite, an avalanche warning has been issued for Arthur's Seat. Add to that the fact that our mail only got delivered once this week, and we have got ourselves a ghost town.