When your flight to Pisa with 9 turns into a flight to Bologna for 4.

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Our group of 9 was supposed to depart from Köln/Bonn airport to Pisa together, there hop into our rental cars, to then take the ferry from Piombino to Portoferraio. That didn’t work out as planned. We had booked the tickets through our local traveling agency, who does all the bookings for the HHU. Yet somehow at some point, they had only confirmed the tickets for 5 of us, but not the pupils. Damn. We were sent to the ticket counter to have the others confirmed, being comforted that that shouldn’t be an issue. It turned out it was, because the time slot had passed to get the ‘reserved’ tickets for that flight confirmed. It was now only about 40min to check-in for the 5 of us for whom the booking had worked and who had received a boarding pass. Now was the time for the deodorant to proof it was worth its money.

At the ticket counter the madness continued, slowly but surely grew into a panic. It was now clear that there was no way getting the 4 pupils to board the same flight as us. It was a Sunday afternoon and flights were scarce; the next flight to Pisa was the next day and not even from the same airport. After another 15 truly hectic minutes, an acceptable alternative was found: a flight to Bologna 2h later and for twice the price. That also meant for Sibylle, one of our students, that she had to drive from Pisa to Bologna to pick up the pupils, as the ferry ticket was booked in her name. Oh boy.

After a 90min delay of the flight to Bologna and a traffic jam later, Sibylle and the pupils managed to catch the last ferry at Piombino at 22:20 o’clock and reached us at the Hydra research station in Fetovaia (N 42.73398°, E010.15615°) at 23:50 o’clock – so about 5h later than us but on the same day. It was time to sit back and unwind. Monday was ahead of us and with that a full day of unpacking everything, fitting the snorkeling and diving gear, and planning the details of what was ahead of us. Our project “Awareness-to-Go: the effects of plastic pollution on marine and terrestrial ecosystems” was of to a fun start.