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July 30, 2012

Well, if you want to know, it's 2:30 a.m. where my physical body is located.  Not sure where my brain is at present. We arrived home at 4:45 yesterday afternoon, sat down to watch Beaverbrook at 6, and I was asleep before 15 minutes had passed (not a review of the video itself!).  I don't know why.  We had only been awake for about 20 hours.  I moved to the couch at some point, thrilling the dogs, and was awake after 6 hours (confusing the dogs), which puts me in the middle of the Pacific Time Zone.  But it's going to be a couple of days before body time zone and actual time zone are in sync, I suspect.

Toward the end of yesterday's entry, I said "So my trip tale is done (except, of course, for whatever disasters befall us on the trip home tomorrow!)."

Prophetic words!

The day started at 3 a.m. with a call from my buddy Gabor, the night guy at the front desk of the Viking Freya, with whom I had a waving relationship every night when I trudged to/from the ship computer at 2 a.m.  By 3:30 our bags were out and at a bit before 4 we were in the front with Branislav waiting for the taxi driver.  To our delight, Kitch came down to say goodbye one more time.  He and Joyce became such great trip friends and I hope that we continue to stay in contact.

The cab arrived and we trudged out to the van and said goodbye to the Viking Freya.  The cab driver gave us a quick driving tour of Amsterdam...hard to see much of anything except the red lights on the windows of the red light district, where even the prostitutes had closed their curtains and were (presumably) sleeping.

Branislav helped us with checking in and then left us standing in a long line to check our baggage. Our latest Viking relationship had officially ended. I couldn't believe how many people were waiting and how Lufthansa had ONE clerk to check us all in!

Eventually we were checked in and walked, I swear, a mile to our gate.  Half a mile at least before we found a moving walkway. But we arrived early, as the sun was rising over our plane in Amsterdam.

Mike went off in search of water, Char and Walt amused themselves with their electronic toys.

We had fairly good seats.  Mike and Char were in row 82, each on the aisle, Char on the side and Mike in the center.  Walt and I were in row 83, with Walt on the side aisle and me on the center aisle.  There are 4 seats in the center and there were only two other seats filled and the woman and I on either side of the empty seat were thrilled and, as they announced that the plane was all loaded, we began to unload our floor crap into the empty seat.

That's when the flight attendant came around to ask if we would be willing to move to allow a father and his son, who were in separate seats, to sit together.  The couple did not, but when the attendant talked with me and Walt, we agreed.  She promised Walt a nice other seat--even a window seat, and they would be "very nice" to him.  So I moved over into his seat and he moved up to the window seat.  The father and son moved into the better seats.  I ended up sitting next to a young girl and her brother (her parents sat next to Char).  The boy got up about once an hour to stagger to the bathroom and two times he vomited into a bag and a third time almost did.  I'd just get started listening to something or eating a meal or something and the damn kid would have to get up again.  One time I was listening to my iPad and he nearly ripped the earphones out of my ears.  He seemed like a nice boy, maybe 8-10 years old, and his sister was obviously devoted to him.  Except for getting up and down like a yoyo, they were nice kids, but by the end of 10 hours I hated them both.

As for Walt's special window seat, it was over the wing so he had a view of nothing.  They gave him a glass of cognac and an overnight kit (toothbrush and a zippered pouch)

The father and son who had the good seats didn't acknowledge that we'd rearranged ourselves for him and even pushed me in annoyance at the end of the flight when I didn't move fast enough for him.

The plane sat on the ground in Amsterdam for about an hour, by which time we knew that there was zero chance of our making our connecting flight in Frankfurt. They never did say why we were delayed, but I'm guessing it had something to do with Frankfurt weather because as it turned out, the plane out of Frankfurt was delayed so long that we were able to make it after all, despite the next mile walk to the moving walkway and half mile to the plane...moving walkways here, but they were not working.  I was missing the contraptions we had on our ship excursions where our guide gave us descriptions of what we were seeing along the way.

This Luftansa flight was SO MUCH more pleasant than the United Flight we had coming over.  The food was much better, the service was great (we got big chocolate bars at some point and regular distribution of glasses of water or juice).  There was also an in-seat TV screen, so lots of viewing options.  Unfortunately none of them was particularly interesting to me.  I DID watch The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (good, but not as good as I hoped) and every nature special but then I just listened to Diana Gabaldon's book on my iPad.  Couldn't sleep.

Coming into San Francisco we were able to watch the plane from various cameras.  We could see a cartoon-like picture as we got close to the city.

and then the actual shadow of the plane on the water of San Francisco Bay as we approached the airport.

We had finally arrived and it was a welcoming sight to see fog on the hills by the airport from the camera mounted to show the plane's nose:

We thought for awhile that our luggage had not arrived, but it finally did.  We loaded up the car and drove Mike and Char home.  I still hadn't slept, but Walt did a bit on the plane, so he drove home while I napped.

We were met by very happy dogs and I climbed gratefully into my recliner to be comfortable in a chair for the first time in 3 weeks.  Tomorrow I am going to write an overview of the trip, what was good, what could have stood some improvements.  But for now I have laundry to do and souvenirs to sort out.

But just so I end this entry, like all the others, with a picture of our dinner...

I think our vacation is definitely over.

Milos, I miss you!


The photo I forgot to post yesterday


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