Sometimes I think of myself as the worst traveler ever…I always tend to get myself in weird kind of troubles, this is usually in terms of under preparation for a trip; I either go on a trip underestimating the expenses, and end up totally broke to do anything on that trip other than the free stuff, or I don’t even research a place before going and end up walking around aimlessly, knowing when it is too late what I should have done and seen in that city or country.
But this time, I jumped to a new level of stupidness if I may say.
Back in June, I went back to Egypt to renew my almost expiring passport. I came back to England with two passports, a new valid one, and an old expired one that STILL HAS MY VALID UK VISA. When I was planning for my trip to Europe later in the summer, I got the Schengen visa on the new valid passport, of course.
Then came the day of traveling, I packed all the papers I need with me, from reservations and tickets to travel insurance and finally my passport, except one document. I left home my old passport with my UK visa in it.
Not only that, but I didn’t even realize this until four days later, when I was in Amsterdam airport heading to Milan!
Many scenarios ran through my head, from being in the airport in England trying to convince them that I have lost my passport, to calling the embassy in Italy and doing the same and trying to get a temporary document. All scenarios ended with the person in charge telling me “but your course has ended anyway, why do you want to go back to the UK? You should go back to Egypt!”
“My future is ruined” I thought
I was telling this whole thing to my friend Islam, who was studying in UK with me and is now in Finland doing another degree. His first proposal was that his housemate in Finland is Italian, his family lives in Bergamo near Milan. If I could get my passport posted to his family, I can meet them on my last day while going to the airport.
I asked him several times if this won’t be any trouble for Alex’s family (his housemate’s family) and he assured me it’s fine.
My landlord was also very helpful, he understood the situation and agreed to meet one of my friends and give him the spare key to go get the passport from my room and send it.
I got in contact with Alex’s family (his sister, the only one that spoke English in the household) and I could have never expected such niceness! For two days they were insisting that when I come on Friday to pick up my passport I should come at their lunch break time from work (12 to 2.30) and have lunch with them! I told them many times that they don’t have to bother themselves with this; and that its more than enough what they’ve helped me with so far, but they were insisting too much!
Sadly, the earliest train from Manarosa in Cinque Terre to Bergamo was arriving at 3.15 and I missed this chance to have an authentic home cooked Italian meal with an Italian family.
I offered that they send me the address of where any of them works and I’ll go pick up my passport, but the Italian hospitality extended a bit further, his sister decided to wait that she will wait for me at the train station so I don’t get lost, and that she’ll go late for work.
She even waited with me until I took a returning train to Milan. A train I shouldn’t have taken, but that’s another story about another way in which I am always under prepared or partly stupid 😀
Road angels are everywhere, I got help from people that have never met me and maybe will never meet me again, they got out of their way and did a lot to accommodate my mistake. I believe that things always work out in unexpected ways, and this is yet another proof of how they do.
Are you an always prepared traveler? And more importantly, did you ever encounter road angels? In what way did they help you?