This day goes down in the history of our Crazy-Traveler experiences: a missed train, a delayed train, a slow cab and a flight ready to take-off without us, a forgotten and recovered passport and boarding pass, a lost and found phone.
When we arrived 8 minutes early to the tram station for our 4.49 am tram this morning, we probably sent out unintentional signals to the universe that we were having an unusual “I-have-extra-time” day. So, for a connecting train, we ended up hopping into a wrong train that took us to the opposite direction, thus missing our next connection as well. After some moments of panicking, realizing that it was a lost cause and finally smiling petulantly over our fate, we took a train to Stuttgart main station that would reach us only at 11.08 am for our flight that was supposed to leave at 12:00. We needed to take a cab from the main station to the airport which was 20 minutes away. After some rigorous calculations, we found that we had 10 Golden minutes that would make sure that we get into that flight to Sarajevo. Of course then, German railway punctuality went for a toss and so did our golden 10 minutes. As our train moved with painstaking calmness toward Stuttgart, our telepathic conversations sounded more and more worried, prayers became more sincere and my crossed fingers started to ache. Once we got off the train, we found ourselves at the farthest end of the station with a million people between us and the exit. We made a dash toward the nearest cab, and breathlessly explained to him our need for speed. We made calls to our airlines Germanwings, pleaded with them and they agreed to wait for us until the flight would take off. Stumbling, running, losing balance and regaining it, somehow we made it to the boarding gate to join the tail of the queue. We met our friends who were already there and got to know that one of them was having an equally taxing morning after she realised on her way to the airport that she didn’t have her passport! Anyway, all seemed fine now, we were about to make our way to the aircraft. I was next in line when I realised I couldn’t find my boarding pass any more. Turns out that consumed by my triumphant jubilations, I had left it at the previous counter. I managed to get it back and get on this flight…this flight which was acting soooo hard to get!
Despite being the crazy travelers that we are, we did end up at our destination next: Sarajevo. The ‘Jerusalem’ of Europe. The city where WW1 got triggered off, the city which witnessed the longest siege in modern day history of war, the second city in the world to have a functioning tram system, a city trying to hold on to its proud status of being culturally rich and trying hard to make its way into the EU. We are here for a field trip for our research project that will study children in post-conflict areas. Our hostel is in the old city centre. The old city is captivating, with its narrow stone lanes, attractive markets, food joints that send out inviting kebab aromas, shops selling pretty scarves, colourful glass lanterns, beautiful cafes… how charming the Ottoman Empire must have been! We haven’t explored the city yet, because two of our friends had to go back to the airport to reclaim the phone that chose to lounge at the aircraft seat even after we boarded off. So, we’ll go on exploring more once our friends return.
And, while I am typing this blog, a laptop just got stolen from the hostel’s common roon that directly faces the Old City square. The girl who lost her laptop says she isn’t bothered much because “it’s just a laptop, just work and money. Not the end of the world.” Good to hear! So, my friends have returned with the phone that was left behind, and now we shall set out for some Bosnian coffee.