What a day ! A loooong day ! A day of ups, downs, no-no-no-no’s and by the time my NIKI airline Airbus A321-211 took off from Malaga, Spain for Vienna, Austria I was wacko, totally stressed out and a gibbering idiot (no change there then !).
And it all began so well !
I got up at 6am, did the final packing, bedding put away under the bed, everything ready for the removals van arriving at 8am with five friends to load the vehicle. A totally international crowd, two Belgians, one French man, two Englishmen, and the Russian speaking Ukrainian driver from Poland. 65 items were loaded onto the van, and before I knew it someone suggested that the bed was to be emptied …. blankets and sheets put into plastic bags and the hinges removed. At the same time a cupboard with all my electronics was also emptied. Everything I had beautifully packed was scattered everywhere. I began to panic. Two hours later, all packed, the vehicle left Spain for Austria.
After sitting around in a totally empty apartment for a few hours with two cats saying, “What the hell is going on ?” Thierry arrived to help put Samantha and Sonic in their carriers. Samantha was easy, really easy, whereas Sonic !!! He really stressed us out by escaping capture. Eventually he was contained in his carrier and taken out to the car. On carrying Samantha downstairs, the front of the carrier fell off and Samantha luckily ran upstairs, where I picked her up and put her back in the repaired carrier.
Thierry had the brilliant idea of buying tape to repair the carriers. The carriers looked beautiful on Amazon, but were totally useless for transportation. Thank heavens they didn’t fall to pieces in the huge Departures Hall at Malaga airport.
I checked myself and the cats in and was told to go to the airline office to process the cats. Because the aircraft was late arriving I had to wait an hour. The girl told me to take the cats to check-in 265 where a Spanish security guard told me to take the cats out of the boxes and put the carriers through the x-ray machine. I told him no, no, no, no,no, no ! No way was I going to take Sonic out of the box. I went back to the office and asked for an animal handler to help me. After phoning around, there was no such person at the airport. By then I became a gibbering idiot. Then suddenly angels appeared in the form of three Ladies from Animal Care España. They took over completely, trying out different combinations of removing Sonic from the carrier. In the end they gave up and told the security guard. He phoned his boss who told him to put the cat and the box through the x-ray machine. Whew!!!
At the aircraft gate, the ground staff woman put my boarding card into the machine and it flashed up red, not green. Oh no! Not another problem! In fact all she was doing was making sure that I was boarding the aircraft so that the cats could be loaded into the hold. On entering the aircraft I asked the Stewardess if my cats were on board. I phoned Natascha to say I was seated, but did not have time to tell her, as the plane was about to take off, that the cats were actually on board with me. Yay ! What a relief when the plane lifted off from the Spanish runway.
During the 5 weeks we were apart Natascha had been busy getting us a storage unit for my apartment contents as we had not got anywhere to live in Graz as yet.
Natascha sent me this lovely self made card.
While I was flying to Vienna, Austria with the cats, Natascha was on a bus from Graz to Vienna. She checked into the hotel she had booked previously. A sensible idea as the plane would be landing around midnight.
She watched us flying on flightradar24
And then she panicked ! The aircraft flew over Vienna airport and kept going north. With a sigh of relief she watched the plane return and land from a northerly direction.
Happily she saw the plane land.
Meanwhile I had a mile walk to the baggage claim, picked up my suitcase and Natascha had informed me that the cats should be in a special area, Band 1. I went there and the cat carriers were on a table with rollers. The cats were so happy to see me and I walked out into Natascha’s arms.
The cats looked absolutely terrified after such an ordeal of 10 hours.
We didn’t get much sleep at the hotel, but the cats had a little freedom in the room over night.
The following morning we had to put the cats back into their carriers, but they were hiding underneath the huge bed. The only way to put them into their carriers was for us to lift up the bed against the wall exposing the cats.
OMG !! WHAT A DAY !!!
Of course the train was late departing from Vienna to Graz. With help from other passengers we got the luggage and the cats on the train.
An easy ride ? No !!! Halfway to Graz everyone had to get off the train, walk to buses, an hour on the bus and back on a train to Graz. Luckily for us, there were men who helped us with our luggage.
The removal van arrived on the Monday, two days after we arrived in the hotel in Graz. We asked the driver to notify us when he was a couple of hours from Graz so that we could prepare for his arrival at the storage facility. No no no no no no ! He sent a text that he was already at the facility which gave us no time for breakfast or coffee.
We met up with the driver, but we could not find any help to unload the van and move the contents into the unit. Natascha and the Ukrainian driver were fantastic. They basically moved everything themselves. The little bit I did drew blood on my leg and destroyed my back. Oh boy !
At the moment we are staying in a small room in a hotel in Graz. Hopefully we will be getting an apartment tomorrow, Monday. Also tomorrow we are visiting the British Consulate for me to sign an affidavit saying that I am free to marry. With this piece of paper we will go to the registry office and book a day for our wedding, then back to the Consulate with the date.
We are all exhausted ……
…… so GOOD NIGHT !!!
I have no idea what is coming next for Natascha, myself and the cats. Watch this space !
Ralph xox ❤
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