Why Losing My Luggage Wasn’t Such a Disaster

My time in Vienna didn’t get off to the best of starts. Having flown in from London via Düsseldorf, the airline had apparently decided I didn’t need my luggage and left it in Germany. 

Before setting off on my trip around Europe in Summer 2015, I spent weeks looking at backpacks and packing cubes, reading packing lists and travel blogs, and trying to figure out how on earth I was going to pack all of my stuff into the tiny 35 litre backpack I had eventually ended up with. By the time I left the UK, I was pretty attached to that backpack! So when I arrived in Vienna and my bag didn’t, it felt like some kind of omen. This trip was going to be a disaster.

As I stepped out of the airport, it only got worse. It was almost 40°C and I was stuck in jeans, a long sleeved top and hiking boots. Add to that the fact that the train station at Vienna airport is like a rabbit warren, and that when I finally found a ticket machine it didn’t take notes… By the time I arrived at the hostel I was a sweaty, grumpy mess!

When I checked in though, I was told that missing bags usually arrive at the hostel around 10pm on the same day. With that news, and a refreshing (if soapless) shower, things were looking up! So I pulled myself up my by bootstraps (not entirely out of choice; all my other shoes were chilling in Germany), and spent the night at Wurstelprater with a guy I met in my dorm.

Set in the Weiner Prater public park, Wurstelprater is one of the oldest amusement parks in the world. A couple of glasses of wine and a fairground ride later, I’d cheered right up! In the knowledge that I would soon be reunited with my beloved backpack, I headed back to the hostel feeling pretty good.

Entrance to Wurstelprater
Entrance to Wurstelprater
Water ride at Wurstelprater
Water ride at Wurstelprater

Only when we got there, it hadn’t arrived. Yet. I had faith. I decided the only appropriate thing to do would be to hit the hostel bar and carry on drinking… Cut forward a few hours and I still had no backpack, but had acquired a pair of swimming trunks from the guy in my room. And so I spent my first night in Europe sleeping in a bra and a stranger’s trunks. As you do. Cheers Chris.

The next 24 hours pretty much consisted of me wandering around Vienna in woefully inappropriate clothing, cursing the near 40°C heat and desperately trying to find a pair of shorts and some flip flops that didn’t cost a whole day’s budget. By the time evening came around, I was feeling a little sorry for myself!

Not wanting the day to be a total bust, I decided to indulge in my one true love: food. And in Vienna, that had to mean schnitzel! Breaded, fried, and with a pretty high breadcrumb: meat ratio, it was the perfect comfort food… Come at me carbs!

Schnitzel in Vienna
Schnitzel in Vienna

When I got back to the hostel and my backpack still hadn’t arrived, a quick drink at the bar quickly deteriorated into a mess of free sympathy drinks from the hostel staff. Because who needs luggage when you have tequila, right? And as I sat in the bar drinking, with the kind of instant friends you only seem to make in hostels, I realised that losing my backpack hadn’t stopped me from having a good time at all.

Sure, I could have done with some soap, clean underwear and a pair of pyjamas that first night, but instead I had a fun travel story, a whole lot of free alcohol, and a belly full of food I probably wouldn’t have splurged on otherwise. I realised that as long as I could find the story; as long as I could find something to look back on that would make me laugh, or smile, nothing that happened on this trip would be a disaster.

Still, when a guy from the front desk came into the bar at around midnight and asked me if my bag was pink, I’m pretty sure I just screamed in his face and ran to the luggage room. Clean clothes! Hugs all round! Free celebratory shots!

I’m not sure what happened after that, but I woke up to a headache and 24 drunken selfies.

Has your luggage ever gone missing? Share your story in the comment section!

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3 thoughts on “Why Losing My Luggage Wasn’t Such a Disaster

  1. Glad you were able to make the best of things. I’ve had my luggage lost a few times. The most memorable was when I went from Sydney to Carnes to see Great Barrier Reef. My bag somehow ended up in Tasmania. I had already booked a snorkel tour for the follow day and ended up having to buy a bathing suit at the night market!

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