I have a ton of time in COVID-19 quarantine. However, what I expected to be doing now was taking a month and traveling around Europe living out of a backpack. When I went to Japan and Taiwan, someone I met was quite surprised that I took two weeks worth of clothes with me, so I was planning on bringing 3 sets of clothes and staying in hostels and doing laundry. Instead of obsessive planning of every detail of my trips, I was going to take things a few days at a time and figure out where to go as it comes. Then COVID-19 hit.
The Original Plan
I had planned to take some interesting flights on the way over. Specifically, American Airlines is re-entering the Boston to London market, and I wanted to be on the first flight on March 29. Then, I wanted to fly on British Airways’ A380 on the way back, and had a seat on the upper deck.
Incidentally, I had bought a separate ticket to Germany on British Airways leaving 5 hours after I arrived in London, since it’s cheaper that way than buying a through ticket.
The one concrete plan that I had is that I wanted to be in Zürich for Sechseläuten, which my family has been playfully calling the “festival of the exploding snowman.” Literally it means the six bells festival, and it marks the point at which Swiss workers would start going home at 6 pm instead of 5 pm. The highlight of the celebration is the ignition of a paper snowman (the Böögg) whose head is packed with explosives, while guildsmen ride frantically around the base. The concept sounds so ridiculous and wonderful, and I was so excited to see it. Next year for sure.
I got quite lucky with getting refunds for my flight cancellations. Strangely the first thing that happened was that British Airways cancelled my London to Hanover flight; I filled out their online form and got my £50 back. A few weeks later, American pushed back the launch of the Boston to London flight to October and rebooked me via Miami – I filled out their online refund form and the money showed up on my credit card a few days later. I’m very happy that I did not need to call any airline.
I’m disappointed. This was something that would push me out of my comfort zone, and I really wanted to go. If international travel recovers by the fall I may go then, but it is possible that scenario does not happen. Hopefully my Japan trip in August happens, but it is more important that everyone is safe. And I want to see some place new, and do new things.