A 143 Euro Taxi Ride

9:00 AM: “Am I a backpacker or a Flashpacker?” – I asked myself while enjoying a fine Bavarian breakfast in a 3 Star hotel in Munich. I knew I must hurry, so I had to leave the delicious breakfast in the middle and pack my bags.

9:40 AM: “From where does the bus for the airport leave?” – With my newly acquired accent, I asked an old bus driver reading a newspaper. Without any expression, he pointed me towards one of the empty bus lanes. “Danke” I replied.
I was at the Munich bus station. I had a Ryanair flight at 12:15 PM from Munich West airport to Oslo. As it takes over 1 hour to reach the airport by bus, I was extra cautious and reached the bus station 20 mins in advance. The bus was scheduled to leave at 10 AM. So, I kept waiting on a bench, still thinking about the free breakfast at the hotel which I had to finish early in order to catch the bus. I bought Ryanair tickers from Munich to Oslo for 4 Euro! Yes! A 3 hour flight across Europe for 4 Euro. I felt I was the luckiest person on Earth. However, the flight turned out “not so cheap” in the end.

9:55AM: “Something is wrong” – I thought when I checked watch again. It was 9:55 AM and still there was no sign of the Airport bus. I got a bit worried and started looking for the bus. I left the bus station and went to the main road.

10:05 AM: “SH*T!!!!” I missed my bus for the airport. I saw the bus racing away in front of me and I stood there like a fool. “There goes my 4 Euro flight” – I said to myself. It turned out that the bus does not leave from the bus station but from a road somewhat near the bus station. Damage was done. There was nothing I could do because the next bus was scheduled two hours later which meant missing my flight.

10:40 AM: It was hopeless. I realized that I am gonna miss my flight. As I watched people walking past me on the road, I saw a black Mercedes Taxi. The driver was bald and was wearing dark glasses. Now as I think of him, I can picture Jason Statham (from the movie Transporter) driving that cab. Taking cab to the airport never occurred to me as I was aware of the fact that riding taxi is a luxury in Europe. But since there was no other way I hesitantly approached the cab.

10:45 AM: “I WANT TO GO TO THE MUNICH WEST AIRPORT” – I told the driver very clearly. He replied calmly in clear English that he can take me to the airport in about 40 mins. 110km in 40 mins? With doubt, I boarded the taxi.

10:50 AM: He entered the address on his GPS system and started the taxi. He told me that due to the traffic and rules he needs to drive slowly within the city boundary; however, he assured me that once we hit the highway he will drive faster. I had no other option but to believe him.

11:00AM: “Wow! 190km/hour speed!” I thought. Sitting inside the car, I felt like Captain Kirk from Starwars…..driving at the speed of light! 20 mins later, I located the airport bus in front of us. Within seconds, my cab zoomed past the bloody bus! I was relieved that now I was going to reach the airport on time. Windows were tightly shut and the AC was blowing with full force when my eyes went to the meter. My heart stopped – 125 Euro! With every movement in the meter, I was getting a weird sensation in my stomach. I am not sure what was running faster – the taxi or my heart beat?

11:30 AM: When the taxi stopped in front of the airport gate the meter reading said 143 Euro! I took out two hundred Euro note from my purse and handed over to the driver. He returned me 57 Euros. I guess, after looking at my face he did not have the courage to ask for tip. I collected the change and de-boarded the cab. Before entering the airport, I looked back at the black Mercedes for the one last time which saved my flight. “Someday it will make a good story” I thought and went through the security gates.


S Mandal

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