Part of the real joy of being this glorious age is having the time and the finances to travel. I encourage all to travel now and travel often. The few overseas trips I have taken over the last couple of years have given me a whole new interpretation of who we are and how we live.
Therefore, I have decided to report on a new sense with this post…the sense of adventure! In this category of posts I will chronicle travel and new, unique experiences. Let’s start with some travel…
Six months in the making, finally the time has come – our highly anticipated European vacation. With a planned “bier flight” river cruise through the Bavarian region of Austria and Germany, followed by a Costa del Sol chaser, we eagerly anticipate the beauty, history, and culture that awaits us. But first we must make it through the biggest hurdle – planes, trains, and automobiles…oh my! To truly understand our feelings about modes of transportation, I must first share our experiences…
On our first European trip to Spain and Portugal, once we got past the obnoxious and downright mean airport security, we got across the pond without incident. The flight crew was polite, helpful and professional, and the food was quite good. Outside of the man sitting behind Jon who incessantly and vigorously tapped, tapped, tapped on the video screen playing onboard trivia games, driving my husband mad, the flight was very pleasant.
13 days later, exhausted from all the wonderful experiences, our flight home was uneventful until we hit Newark…dun-dun-duh! Once back in the states, we were informed that we had a 6-hour wait before boarding our final leg home. Six hours in Newark airport…come on, seriously? Uncomfortable chairs, the din of other unhappy travellers, the long queues at somewhat palatable restaurants…take me back to Europe, please.
The Godforsaken flight
So returning to the terminal after midnight, pilot and crew having waved bye-bye, with one stunned looking young customer service attendant peering out at the long queue of tired and angry religious pilgrims, we were back in – you guessed it – Newark. Our second trip to Europe was supposed to take us to beautiful Rome on the Friday before the double canonisations of the two popes in 2014. Everyone was in a holiday mood as we waited to embark. On board, pleasantly dozing off from the prerequisite, pre-flight Bloody Mary, we were disappointed but not distressed when we were told that due to some “maintenance issue” we would be de-boarding, marching like ducklings behind their mother to another gate, then re-boarding another plane. However, this plane was not quite big enough with many passengers marching to their tail-end seats found that their seat numbers did not exist. All were reseated finally, and these shenanigans did not dampen spirits. Our plane was chock full of priests, nuns, deacons, friars, monks, and religious pilgrims – this was going to be the safest and most uneventful flight in history with all that God-power coursing though the plane aisles.
Well, God works in mysterious ways. Two-and-a-half hours into the flight, the pilot calmly informed us that they were having a “bit of a problem” with the air conditioning in first class. “Bummer for them” we gleefully thought, until he went on to say that this little problem with the air could cause some issues with cabin pressure and that we would be returning to…dun-dun-duh…Newark! Our travelling companions (sister and brother-in-law, brother and sister-in-law) had already arrived in Rome; a bit off-schedule but unscathed. Yet, we were dropping down to 10,000 feet, dumping fuel in the ocean, and heading back to the land of uncomfortable chairs, unhappy travellers and long lines!
12 hours later we were boarding yet another plane, this time with a passenger roster of determined “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore, just get me to goddamn Rome!” religious pilgrims.
After a truly remarkable journey through Italy (look for another blog soon), we reluctantly headed home, knowing we had another long layover in…dun-dun-duh…Newark. Sigh. One prerequisite Bloody Mary later, we were finally on our flight to Rome, only to arrive in the wee morning hours, with minimal customs staff and luggage handlers, and no pre-scheduled, pre-paid hotel transfer. Oh well, when in Rome.
Originally published here
I would love to hear some of your flight travel dream experiences and nightmares!