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Trip to Molfsee

By: Chona Grepo
Date: 13-Jul-2005

Guten Morgen! It is now Wednesday, July 13 past 10am here (4pm Manila). My second beautiful morning here in Molfsee near Kiel near Hamburg. If you would have the chance to browse through the map of Germany, I am now on northern tip. If you are holding a map of the Philippines, Hamburg is like the Province of Ilocos, Kiel is the Cagayan Valley (northernmost tip) and Molfsee is Fuga Island.

My itinerary:

  • Jul 10 Manila-HKG 20:00 ETD (8:00 pm)
  • Jul 10 HKG-Frankfurt 23:45; ETD July 11, 6:00 am, ETA
  • Jul 11 Frankfurt-Molfsee (five-hr. trip by train)

A PAL plane overshot the runway, it was closed for hours and all incoming flights were diverted to Clark. We were able to leave Manila at 10:45 pm arriving HK at 12:45 midnight. All passengers going to LA were escorted to stay overnight in a hotel. All passengers going to Frankfurt were given a coupon and were thrown onto a plane going to Rome. I found out I was the only one going to Frankfurt so I joined the two nuns on the flight whom I met at the departure lounge. They had ran out of e-load and were having problems notifying their Italian counterparts so i offered my cellphone, me had lots of load but my battery was blinking to death.

The two nuns, Sister Camila and Sister __ , and I exchanged farewell pleasantries when we landed in HK. They were very thankful to me. Little did we know that we will be sitting side by side on the plane going to Rome, haha! I met them at the elevator and we walked through the sleepy HK airport. I helped them carry their guitar.

It was a 12-hr flight from HK to Rome. I was not able to sleep all night. A big Italian guy on my right and Sister Camila on my left. We were the last to come out of the plane because the cute flight steward cannot recall where he had placed the poor guitar of the nuns. My boarding pass was attached to it since I helped them carry it.

We boarded a bus in going to the counters but nobody in Rome assisted me for my transit trip to Frankfurt, it was 7:17 am, July 11 (1:17 pm Manila). An airport policeman took me to the far away Cathay Pacific counter which opens at 9:30 am, huhu. When it opened, the counter girls didn’t know what to do with me. They told me later to go to the Alitalia counter where I found that all their flights to Frankfurt had left. I was told to go to the Lufthansa counter instead. There I broke down. I was having a terrible headache, cough and colds and I was too tired from walking long distances within the airport aside from having been unable to sleep all night.

The Lufthansa girl talked by phone to the far away Cathay counter girls. I had to take another long walk, and take the shuttle to get back. There they put me on the 12:25 pm flight to Frankfurt. Since it was only past 10:00 am I waited another two-and-a-half hours before I was able to board. That was where I met Cheryl.

She approached me. It turned out we had the same itinerary but it was only then that our paths crossed. She was in police custody the whole time I was running to and from the Cathay, Alitalia and Lufthansa counters. The police picked her up because she had no visa. It was the very first time I have encountered a SOAFEE (Status of the Armed Forces EE) holder. Only her ID, issued by the US Armed Forces certifying that she is married to a US soldier stationed at Frankfurt, was attached to her passport. She was later released by the Rome Police after checking with the US Embassy at Frankfurt. She is 25 and it was her first time to travel. The experience gave her a shock.

Her husband has already called the HK police thinking she got abducted in HK. She also had no e-load. She begged to use my mobile at once and felt relieved when she was finally able to talk to her husband. I felt happy I was able to help but was so afraid my battery will go dead anytime and my Molfsee host wouldn’t know where I was, huhuhu. I have never been this lucky, mwehehe!

It was a two-hour flight from Rome to Frankfurt. Cheryl and I felt relieved, but, when I saw the map of Germany, I got another shock to my whining spine. The train I took two years ago from Frankfurt to Munich was a three-and-a-half hour trip. When I saw the distance from Molfsee to Frankfurt it was almost thrice the distance. Using Manila time, I left there July 10 at 10:45 pm and its now July 11, past 7:00 pm. I told Cheryl this is our third take off in less than 24 hours. I could have reached Molfsee, my final destination by 4:00 pm, but here I am now, past 1:00 pm already, and only just about to take off from Rome.

We landed in Frankfurt two hours later. Time to check where our baggages were. I only had my handbag and jacket. We approached the Lufthansa guys. They gladly helped us. We told them our little story and they were so sorry for what had happened. They started tracing the whereabouts of our luggages, and assured us that these would be sent to our respective addresses in 24 hours. They us an overnight pack each. I asked them if its okay to bother them since they are Lufthansa guys and we have Cathay tickets. They said they will take charge since all airlines in Europe (Star Alliance) have only one merged system. That was the only time I realized that with the coupon given to me in HKG I could have gone to any other airline counter in Rome to get me into a plane going to Frankfurt, but I didn’t know then. So I wasted more than five hours in Rome :-(. If only we were told when in HKG, tsk, tsk!

Cheryl finally met Chad, her husband. They met in Iraq last year and got married in February 2005. It was their first time together since their wedding day, Chad had to leave Manila right after. It was already 4:00 pm, July 11 (10:00 pm Manila).

I have been travelling for almost 24 hours and Molfsee is another five hours trip by train. Chad’s house is two hours drive away near the border of Belgium. He advised me to go on with the train trip rather than to stay with them overnight. I thought he just didn’t want to be disturbed, but later it proved to be a wise decision that i went straight to Molfsee. I had two train transfers before I was able to see my Manang Edna (a friend). I reached the Bahnhof at 10:00 pm (Manila time 4:00 am, July 12) so it was 29 plus hours travel.

Manang Edna drove for about 15 minutes and we were home! Had dinner, hot shower and zzzzzzzzz…. Had a nice bed and comforters, white and orange in color, hi,hi,hi! So tempting to sleep forever. Manang Edna’s place is like a little paradise. The temperature was 22 degrees, much like the cool breeze of Baguio. There are flowers of different colors and sizes blooming around. They live very near a Chaussee (highway). If it is a regular street, they call it strasse. Lots of shrubs and apples trees around. I could finally have a feast of gouda cheese and cold cuts, the expensive types I buy from Santi’s in Manila, (hi,hi,hi!) They have all the fresh juices and milk, nine little chihuahuas which they breed, fully licensed, complete in immunizations and sold all over the world.

16 hours later my baggage arrived. It was a very happy and touching moment for me. The very first time in life that i missed my backpack so much.

Until next time, friends. Mwah!