I left the hostel quite early so I could breakfast at leisure in the Capitole Square. I weighed up the idea of shopping for souvenirs and carting them to the airport or just buying at the airport and decided on the latter. I wanted to speak with the Easyjet people to get a refund on the extra luggage the App had tricked me into buying so I wanted to have plenty of time.
After checking with the Tourist office about how to get to the airport and the time it takes I opted for the metro and tram. Time 40 minutes, 1 change. The tourist office woman was frighteningly efficient. She was only young but spoke fast ( fortunately in English) and seemed to be working on a system of answer questions, move on!
I went into the metro station and couldn’t work out how much it would cost. A very nice French Vietnamese metro employee, who was happy to speak English, explained the cost €1.80(!), 1 ticket the whole way and take the platform on the right side. Easy and so cheap, Melbourne take note. I had three stops on the train, got out at the tram terminus and Voila, I was on my way. The tram takes you through new Toulouse out to the aeroplane/science district. Toulouse is where the Concord was and Airbus is built plus they have a big interest in space research.
The airport was a trifle confusing because I couldn’t see any shops or restaurants but that would have to come after my Easyjet discussion. There was no signage obvious so I started at the checkin counter, was directed to the customer service desk, who pleasantly gave me a page with numbers to call! I found a quiet spot and rang the UK. At first there was no joy, they passed me to someone else, no refund. I told them I was aware of the conditions of purchase but the Eazyjet App had not acknowledged my original baggage purchase and expected me to add a hold luggage before I could proceed and had failed to retain my boarding pass as well. When I got another ‘we regret’ I explained that I was not happy and in fact was very annoyed and felt ripped off. I insisted on speaking to a supervisor. Amazingly they went to a supervisor and explained about the app and in a flash I had my refund, instantly paid into my account. I was so pleased. I presume there is a bug in the App and I am not the first person to get caught. I was grateful but explained I would not be using the App again. We were all happy campers.
Now it was time to explore the airport and find some shops. I bought some pâtes, biscuits and small confiture flavoured with violet, the signature flower of Toulouse.
I decided to buy a book to read and they even had a small selection of English novels. I was really chuffed to see Jane Harper’s new novel in French. I felt a surge of Australian pride. Then it was just get rid of the bag and go to the boarding gate. After going through immigration where they asked me where I was going and checked the passport which is a new experience since last time I travelled in Europe I hit the security. Wow, there were so many lines you could go through it was so quick. None of this paltry two lines we have at Melbourne Airport. Then shops and basically nothing much else near the boarding gate. It seems like there was very little if any air conditioning and it was stifling. When we were boarding the staff moved us from one side of a barrier to another. It was like milling cattle at the sale yards! Finally we left the terminal for the plane and fresh air as we walked across the tarmac!
The flight had been 15 minutes late and seemed uneventful until we flew into a massive thunderstorm near Berlin. There was a group of teenagers who were squealing as the plane pitched and bounced through the clouds. It was rather funny until we actually got to Berlin and the pilot said we would need to go round till the storm eased. Then he attempted to land and just as we were about to touch down he pulled us up again (more squealing) and we went around once more. He announced that the side winds were too dangerous so we would wait a bit and we may be diverted to Tegal! All the time I am thinking about Katharina and Wendy who were at Schonfeld waiting for me. On the second attempt we landed but then we were left on the tarmac for over two hours before we could disembark. Wendy had texted to say that the original terminal had sustained a massive hail storm and was flooded and everyone had been told to go to Terminal A instead. My companions on the plane. You really get to know people after a few hours together. Christie is a paramedic in the army.
The pilot announced no staff were allowed on the airfield because of lightening and dangerous rain so no luggage could be unloaded or stairs bought to the plane. Eventually Buses arrived to transport us to the terminal and then it was chaos waiting for luggage. Our flight had dropped off the arrivals board as 19 others had arrived over the time! I wandered from carousel to carousel looking and after an hour I saw the group of guys on my flight who were here for a bucks weekend, starting to pick up their luggage. I rushed over to see with great relief, my bag going past. Chaos at the baggage pick up!
I made my way into the terminal and Wendy and Katharina were there. All up they had been waiting for four hours! Instead of 6 pm it was 10 pm and we were all glad to be out of there.
It was too late for dinner or shopping so we just stopped at a servo and got some essentials and beer. We are in Germany after all! Katharina had booked a lovely apartment close to where she lives which is on the outskirts of Berlin, on the Wannsee (lake). It is beautifully situated and in a very historic area. The Berlin Wall went right past the house.
Wendy has been here for a couple of days already and Katharina has been showing her around and how to access the public transport. It is very green and suburban with many lovely homes and apartments facing the water and several Schloss(Castles) close by. So exploring Berlin begins!