Our journey home started without a hitch, up at 5:15am, packed, checked out and whisked to Chiang Mai airport via our transfer.
After hanging around amongst thousands of mosquitos waiting for the check-in desk to open, we deposited our luggage and ate our packed breakfast - hearty tuna sandwiches. In the lounge we reminisced about our holiday, sad that it was all over.
We took the 8:25am Air Asia flight to the familiar Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok, touching down an hour later.
One last pad thai and mango shake before we leave and then onto our 12:25pm flight home. 11 hours to Heathrow, London.
In flight entertainment was lacking, without personal screens and only poorly positioned monitors, we avoided watching Avatar and instead amused ourselves, writing about the honeymoon, playing games and so-on.
An arduous ten hours later, about 45 minutes from home, the pilot informed us of some problems. Because of a volcano eruption in Iceland, and drifting ash, all English airports were closed. So we’re being diverted–first thought was Paris CDG, but now we’re landing in Frankfurt! Getting home will now be interesting!
We made a big circle in the sky and back-tracked to Frankfurt, Germany. Landing at approx 7pm local time. Our first thoughts were for our wedding gift list, meant to be delivered at 7am the next morning, in Brighton. Calling around, our families were amazing - they’d sorted everything already and Amanda would be at the flat to pick everything up.
The next task: getting home. Paris would have been easy - trains, ferries, etc., lots of options. Being another 600km away meant our options would be limited.
At the airport no-one really knew what to do. Some people went through passport control by mistake, the rest of us were guided by staff around in circles a couple of times–up and down escalators before finding us a departure lounge. A Thai airways representative will be with you shortly.
Two hours later and we had no representative and no more information. We listened to savvy travellers organising trains or car rentals, we wanted to stick with them, but whilst Sam was grabbing provisions they made a dash for it.
On our own again we heard the Lufthansa spokeswoman give us the first tidbits of information. “Everything that could have gone wrong has gone wrong”. A lighting conference meant that all hotels were booked up and that we’d most likely be staying on Frankfurt airport’s floors. At 10am tomorrow in C13 we will give you more information, food will arrive shortly. If you do go, please leave your luggage here so we don’t have to check them through security again.
Whilst on her provisions hunt, Sam found a couple, just engaged, that had managed to book a hotel online. Using one of the expensive terminals. If we did the same we could share a taxi and have a bed for the night. For seven frantic minutes we attempted to book the hotel, watching our euro credit drop by the second. Two double rooms left, 130 euros. Done.
We were off, through passport control, to the baggage carousel, where all bags were randomly arranged, we could have gone into anyone’s suitcase. We grabbed the essentials, but couldn’t find the European travel adapter, we quickly left the airport and took a taxi to the city centre.
Frankfurt’s neon skyline looked gorgeous against a crisp clear night.
The hotel was a poor IBIS imitation, two singles were pushed together badly to make a double, there was no complimentary shampoo and above all, no tea or coffee! Instead we gobbled up the duty free Toblerone. At least we had a bed and relative comfort.