I Woke up at 4:40 am to catch my 6:45 flight. Or so I thought. I checked Airberlin.com and saw it was cancelled. After freaking out for a bit, I had a little cry and skyped with mom. I even toyed with the idea of just coming home. This volcano eruption has caused the largest disruption in air travel since 9-11, and just my luck, I was stuck in it. I went downstairs to see what time check-out was, and ran into two french backbackers who said their airline (Lufthansa) got them tickets for trains to Paris. Another woman said her husband booked her a ferry to London. Oh, so that's what husbands are for. I decided to pack up and head to the airport anyhow. The line for Air Berlin service and tickets was at least 200 people deep. But, I waited. And waited. About an hour later, I got to the desk and booked a flight to Paris (forget London, might as well be flexible) for 3:00. He told me it was more of a "dream than a reality", but I was willing to take the chance. With my new tickets in hand, I searched for a place in the Dusseldorf airport to sit. I leaned my backpack against a large potted tree and sat. A news team approached me and started rambling off in German. I smiled and told them I didn't speak German, and just as I thought they were going to leave me alone, the camera guy busts out with perfect English. They interviewed me for the news station NDR, and made me repeat my "story" three times. Great. I look like hell, I haven't slept, I probably still have tears in my eyes, and now it'll be broadcast all over Germany. I'm sure the caption underneath will say "dumb-ass American from Miami."
About 10 minutes later, my boredom got the best of me, and I became insanely jealous of the passengers that found rows of benches to lie on. I went to the end of the airport, by the rental cars, walked downstairs and saw heaven - an entire row of seats- EMPTY. I locked my backback to the seat, turned on my iPod, and attempted to sleep while three German girls giggled on cell phones next to me.
I decided to make another attempt at changing my flight, but this time the line was longer. Flight attendants handed out sandwiched, which I declined. (I learned my lesson from the first Air Berlin sandwich I was served...not pretty.) I had some feelings of regret about it later...hwo often do you get a free meal in Europe? So now my flight is booked for tomorrow morning, 6:45am. And the only flight after that is the next day in the morning. I exchanged some more currency, bought 30 minutes of internet time, and booked the cheapest hotel I could find on Orbitz.com. If I can't make this flight, I'm sleeping at the airport. I've already blown my daily budget by booking this hotel and paying for taxis.
Surprisingly, the hotel I booked is another fancy-schmancy one. I walked in, hair a mess, no makeup, wearing the same clothes as yesterday, and wincing from the pain of my backpack on my shoulders. I can only imagine what they said about me after I got to my room.
Internet access is expensive. About 8 euros for 1 hour, or 29 euros for a month. I'd give you the USD amounts, but turns out my iPhone app for currency exchange is a tad wrong. Ok, make that way wrong. My hotel room is a lot like the one in the Esprit Arena, with the same super-comfy bed. A quick sit turned into a three hour nap.
I woke up at 5:00, and decided to go try to find some food. The manager at the front desk suggested the hotel's restaurant, but 13 euro for some spaghetti was out of the question. I left the hotel and walked.
I found the city's center - packed with people and their weiner-dogs, kids in strollers, and other tourists. Everyone here speaks English, and it was pretty easy to navigate through the intersections. Green always means go. I stopped at a pizza place and had dinner - a hawaiian pizza and a water - for 5 euros.
Now I'm back in my room, washing clothes in the bathroom sink... I've said my prayers to the travel Gods and St. Christopher, and should be going to sleep in about an hour. PARIS OR BUST.