Phileas Fogg would be proud of us

The recent unpronunciable volcano that erupted in Iceland recently created chaos throughout the world air travel especially in Europe. Some reports say a total of 1.2billion euros were lost due to the one week shutdown of airports. Somehow yours truly was caught the twirl as I was in Dublin in that period. We were supposed to leave on Thursday the 15th of April and the airport was closed on Wednesday night. A lot of uncertainties after that forced us to examine various options to leave the wretched place. We even thought of catching a ferry to Spain or even Italy as those countries were least effected. After a lot of discussions and frantic phone calls and internet searches, we were told of a rescue plan by the Embassy in Paris and MAS. The plan was to gather all the stranded malaysians in Europe in Paris and take the flight back via Rome Fumicino airport. We were to gather in Paris and a coach would transport us to Rome. But we were in Dublin, a good few hundred of km away and an island to boot. The airports were still closed at the time. So we have to take the ferry to get out of Ireland. The ferry was not able to take foot passengers, so we have to hire a car to enable us to use the ferry service. The car also helped us to carry our luggage. The ferry took us to Holyhead in Angelesey, Wales and the journey took three hours. We arrived in Holyhead terminal well past midnight. The car took us to London within seven hours.
Early the next morning, around 3.30am we took a taxi to London St. Pancras to catch the 5.25am Eurostar train to Paris.
We arrived in Paris Nod station circa 9am and took another taxi to the rendezvous place in Trocadero, Paris. Nobody was there, we were not even sure of the meeting place. Another frantic phone call told us to wait near the Maritime Museum, in Trocadero. The taxi driver simply dumped us there after circling the area twice. Fortunate enough, we saw some Malaysian-looking guys waiting in a car nearby. With much relief, we then discovered that they were also waiting for the coach. Within a few minutes the place were swarmed with more people like us – tired, dazed, confused, but in high spirits and eager to go back. The embassy and MAs official came and briefed us on the plan. We baorded the bus with ample supply of water and nasi lemak, courtesy of the embassy peoiple.
All these while I only saw places like Lyon, Montpelier,Grenoble, Milan, Turin etc in the football section of the newspaper – they all have football clubs. But on the journey to Rome, I saw the signboards to all these places in reality. It was like a dream. The journey was long but pleasant, travessing the whole length of France and almost three quarter of Italy. The whole journey took about 19 hours with five stops. The last time I took a bus journey that long was in Mecca, but that was only 11 hours. We reached Rome Fumicino airport around 7am – very relieved that at last we got a chance to fly home after almost two weeks away. The 10-hour flight home was nothing compared to the to our earlier traverses.
For the jouney to Rome, we covered close to 2,00km in various modes of transport. If only Phileas Fogg could see us he would be proud. I must register my utmost gratitude to our travelling team who kept their spirit up and especially Faridah who worked tirelessly to keep us going. Apparently the saying “all roads lead to Rome” was true for us last week.


One thought on “Phileas Fogg would be proud of us

  1. It’s definitely unforgettable, hope you can proudly tell everyone that ‘I’ve been to 3/4 of Italy’ . Good experience anyway. I’ve been to Italy, only traversed about half of the country, spent a day in Rome too.

    Thank you for sharing your story with us & Welcome Home!

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