After the AKI-Gasshuku in Loutraki

Four capitals in two days... That sounds like a fancy slogan from a Travel Agency but it isn't. Its about my and Susan's traveling back home to Sweden after a very nice Gasshuku in Greece at Sport Camp outside Loutraki.

In Sweden we say: Its good to be away, but its even better to be at home (Borta bra men hemma bäst) and that I really felt on Monday evening when I at last came home one day delayed with about 30 h´s.

The trip to Sport Camp from Sweden started at 05:18 in the morning on Thursday and went smoothly without any problems at all. At Kastrup Airport we met Anette and also Rami. We felt like the Nordic Vikings on tour. Here we go again.;)

But on Sunday the trip home started a bit in a hurry. The training was good and time flies when enjoying something fun and interesting like karate training so at 12:00 we took a very quick shower and went with Norman by car to Athens Airport. Norman is a very good driver and there shouldn't be any problems to get in time even do we started a little bit late though the training schedule was 10:00-11:30 actually but anyhow. Norman drove like hell and suddenly about 50 Km from Airport on the high way we had a flat tire. We couldn't believe it! Susan and Norman made a great work with changing tire while I was phoning SAS about our delay. "No problems", they told us. And we checked in online on our mobile phones. We three were like a team from on Formula 1.

When we came to the Airport we ran like jaguars to border but they didn't let us in. "No, you have to check in" they told us even do we explained several times that we already had done that and after running around to get help from others we only could wave to the flight when it took off. When we tried to change the booking they had places first on Tuesday to Scandinavia. We didn't want to go home two days later. We wanted to be on our way home - now.

They tried to help us but one person told us one thing and then "Go to this-or-that Airways" but when we were there they said something else and after the fifth(!) place and about one hour later, there was a man at a Travel agency that helped us out. It just felt like Kafka's Process, a Catch 22 at the Airport.

Anyhow, two hours later we were on a plane to Prague. There we met Rami again, wondering why we were there. We told our story and were happy to see a friendly face in this chaos. We changed plane in Prague and the trip went to Berlin. On Tegel we tried to catch a plane to Copenhagen, Malmö or anywhere in Sweden but it was all full booked everywhere. We decided to go to Hauptbahnhof then and it now was about 10 o'clock in the evening.

We were very hopefully that we could catch a train back to Sweden since Berlin Night Express go from Berlin to Stockholm with stop in Växjö. There they told us that the Berlin Night Express didn't go more for the season. Our only choice was a train from Berlin to Malmö early Monday morning. We decided to do so and after have eating a three dinner meal and shared a bottle of red wine we went shopping middle in the night in Hauptbahnhof at a drug store (Apotheke). We checked email in the Burger King and had a nap together with about 40 other people at McDonalds. We went on the train at 5:15 and changed smoothly in Hamburg, likewise in Copenhagen, but the train was delayed one hour outside Rödby in Denmark (it was something wrong with the signal on the railway).

When we at last came to Malmö around 11 o'clock I saw that the train next by ours would go to Växjö. I thought I was in Heaven. But we had about 2 minutes to get there - without ticket and we ran again and came on the train in the last minute. Well, the man on the train listened to our story and I showed him our train tickets that we had for the Sunday and he felt sorry for us. We had to pay for a new ticket but he gave us a very special price and we were so pleased for that. We were in Sweden, only 2 hours from home. When he told us that we didn't have to change train anywhere we at last could relax on the trip!

So conclusion: four Capitals on two days and on the trip back home we actually went by any common way of traveling: in Greece by car, by plane to Berlin, by bus from Airport to Hauptbahnhof, train to Puttgarden, ferry between Puttgarden (Germany) and Rödby (Denmark) and then train to Växjö. Actually Susan and I had very fun on this trip and we will never forget it. OK, it had been more fun to come home on Sunday but we got a lot of new experiences and met a lot of nice people everywhere.

I hope your trips went more smoothly back home than ours and I'm already longing for next Karate seminar - somewhere in Europe! Stay strong and train hard.

Mona Pfaus, 4th dan

Karate-Do Shotokan Akademi Växjö, Sweden

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