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April 13, 2007

My Munich to Athens nightmare

20070411_munichairport Enough time has passed that I've calmed down now, so I can continue my story of leaving Austria and heading for Greece. The second bit of my journey, from Munich to Athens, was an absolute litany of things going wrong.

I got up nice and early, and went for breakfast in the hotel. I'd booked a room in a hotel near the airport so that I wasn't rushing straight from Salzburg to Munich to Athens to Chania. I had internet access in the room, but, probably luckily, it didn't work on the Friday night, so I went to bed fairly early. In the morning it was working fine, so I got a couple of hours online time before I had to gather my things and get the shuttle to the airport.

It turned out that I'd made a good decision the previous day, when I'd gone directly to the airport, and got the hotel's shuttle bus to the hotel as if I'd just arrived on a plane, as I don't think I would have found the hotel using public transport.

When I got to Munich airport I immediately felt at home and on 'Greek time'. i.e. everything plus or minus twenty minutes. There were about a hundred passengers queuing, and nobody on the Olympic desk checking people in. When I did get to check-in, disaster struck. The guy in front of me was trying to take a suitcase on as hand luggage, and the desk clerk was having none of it, insisting he weigh it, and then check it in since it was over 6kg.

What kind of idiot does that I thought to myself, unaware of the hubris about to befall me.

I stepped up to the desk, and she asked to weigh my hand-luggage.

Uh-oh - 10kg.

At least I felt justified in having struggled around Munich train station the day before - with the backpack I had been lugging around 31kg of luggage all together.

So, I had to redistribute some of my hand-luggage into the backpack. My backpack was already full to bursting, so in the hand I had to cram my pockets with things, throw some stuff away, and wedge bits'n'pieces into every nook'n'cranny of my bag.

Which I then had to take to the over-sized luggage handlers, where my backpack promptly failed the security check.

Grrrrrrr.

In my haste to re-distribute things, I had put a dual battery operated alarm click into the backpack. So I had to unpack the bag again to retreive the clock so that it could be scanned individually before it was allowed to pass.

Then I had to go through security myself, where I got behind a complete idiot who had obviously never travelled by plane before and so stood there for five minutes whilst he removed the coins, keys and phones from his belt, one by one, failing the metal detector test over and over again.

More hubris followed.

Despite being completely clean, I also failed the metal detector test, and so had to be individually searched. Their machine must be too sensitive, because apart from the metal bits of my jeans I had nothing on me, which perplexed the guard, so I had to get searched twice.

Finally I got through to the departure gate, about an hour-and-a-half after I started checking in.

I was so harassed that I unilaterally declared myself to already be on Athens time and put my phone and laptop forward one hour, so that I was able to purchase a beer without "officially" breaking my 'no beer before noon' rule.

And that was only the start....

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