Travelblog: Volcano Leaves Me Stranded in London

We always see news items on TV about people getting stranded in airports for a variety of reasons: strikes, civil disturbance, and natural disasters. I never thought I’d be in this situation myself.

I came to London on a very short trip. I had two days of meetings. I organized my travel to arrive the night before and leave the evening later. While in London on our first day of meetings, we heard of the volcano that erupted in Iceland and that it might disturb flight schedules. I hardly thought twice about it. That type of thing doesn’t happen to me. It happens to other people. And how could a volcano in Iceland affect my flight back to Cairo from London? Ludicrous!

It’s not. I’m now stranded in London trying desperately to get back home.

Friends on Twitter are envious. One could really be stuck in a worse city. But I have four children at home that really do need me. I need to get home.

All night last night I was thinking of ways to get back.

We have a contemporary history of Egyptian immigrants being illegally smuggled out of Egypt to southern Italy by sea. If I could only find those smugglers and get me a trip on the return route back to Egypt. But where does one find a smuggler?

Of course by morning I was thinking more clearly. The plan now is to find a flight out of another southern European country before they are all booked up and to try to beat the south-easterly winds that are causing the volcanic ash to spread all over Europe. I need to beat the ash to southern Europe and get out as soon as possible.

I’m now in a desperate race against time. Find a plane out of southern Europe and a train to that southern European country, all in time before the ash arrives.

Follow me in Twitter for the updates on how the drama of it all (yes, I’m being very dramatic about it) unfolds.


  1. Good luck on your endeavour! As they say “keep a stiff upper lip!” Things could be worse. Yesterday on BBC I watched Chinese earthquake victims mourning the losses of family members. Yes, you’ll get back to your family somehow… alive!
    I’ve linked back to you here from my blog so that I and my readers can follow you as you make your way. Peaceful Blessings!

    1. Thanks, Dave. Of course the situation I’m in with another perhaps million or more people can not be compared to being in an actual natural disaster. I’m stranded in London for goodness sake and I spent my evening last night watching the musical Wicked (which was divinely wicked, by the way). I’m fine and my children are well taken care of by my extended family. It’s a strange situation to be in, though. I’ve learned for one that the UK is a difficult island to get on and off of in a situation like this. I tried yesterday but so was everyone else. My chances of finding a train or ferry off the island in time to reach another airport were so slim that the risk wasn’t worth taking. If the situation continues I’ll have to risk it. But I’m worried that the volcano continues to erupt and the winds continue to carry the volcanic ashes yet further south and I don’t find any airports that will get me out of Europe. If that happens I’m in for one hell of a journey trying to get home. I’m hoping the volcano calms down. But that’s just it with volcanoes: you can’t tell what they plan on doing.

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