Monday, November 1, 2021

The Old World or Bust! (Part 5)

Friday, October 29, 2021: Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen
The Swiss Alps view from 35,000 feet
Up at 'em early, it was. Our flight out of Venice wasn't until 2:40 in the afternoon, but we had a couple of hours' drive to get there, plus we needed plenty of time to get gas, return the rental car, and get through security at the airport. Things went along pretty much on schedule, and our flight out to Frankfort, where we'd make our connection to IAD (Dulles Washington), on Lufthansa, proceeded painlessly.

We flew business class all the way this time, and damn, was it ever worth it. No more numb behinds and legs cramped to the point of risking blood clots. Not cheap, to be sure, but from here on out, we're just going to have to drop the cash on any future international travel we might undertake.

My favorite part of our relatively short first hop was having a window seat and catching some fantastic views of the Alps. Seeing Innsbruck, Austria, from above was stunning, and Ms. B. and I have decided we might want to pay it a future visit. As it stands, my snow-skiing skills are rustier than my golf....

The long United Airlines flight from Frankfurt to IAD was the most comfortable I've ever experienced. I killed a couple of hours watching Shin Godzilla, which I enjoyed more than I had the couple of times I'd seen it previously. The food wasn't bad, and it was nice having drinks offered regularly. I didn't really sleep, but I was able to stretch out and relax for a decent spell.
That's Innsbruck, Austria down there.
Heading into Frankfurt
Things didn't go as well once we reached IAD. Once we finally disembarked, got through customs, and retrieved and re-checked our luggage (which Lufthansa had done for us on our trip over), we availed ourselves to the nice business-class lounge for a spot of refreshment. Our United flight to Charlotte wasn't anything to brag on, but at least the seats weren't bad. Once we left the gate, planes were stacked up for miles on the taxiways — even as late evening as it was. Eventually, though, we got airborne. There was quite a lot of turbulence on this side of the Atlantic, as the weather has been rough for several days over here. Then, once we landed, we were held up at the gate for quite a long while, as they did not have a crew to attend to the jetway. By the time our feet hit the ground again, we were exhausted and then some.

We had an hour and a half drive in Terry's truck back to Kernersville, where we finally transferred all our earthly belongings to Kim's car. Which. Promptly. Refused. To. Start.

Dead battery, at 3:00 a.m.

Oy vey.

Fortunately, Terry had jumper cables on hand, jumped the car, and Kim and I arrived at our doorstep at 3:45 EDT on Saturday morning.

And so concluded another wonderful, memorable excursion to the far side of the pond. Apart from suffering that spell of food poisoning (and constantly battling Il Zanzur at Ca' Driano), I have nothing but great memories of these past two and a half weeks. Our company was stellar — as we knew it would be — and our experiences ran the gamut from the most exciting to the most relaxing possible. Almost to the last, the individuals we dealt with in both France and Italy were kind and as accommodating as they could be to us foreigners whose grasp of their languages barely qualified as rudimentary. We all brought different experiences back home with us, and I hope my companions' memories of this event will be as exhilarating as mine.

And may we travel together again in the not-so-distant future.

Godspeed to you all.
A happy homecoming!


Terry Nelson said...

Officiating your marriage was a highlight of my life and something I will never forget. I only hope that I did justice to such a memorable event. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this and for inviting us to experience these wonderful places and activities.

Stephen Mark Rainey said...

It couldn't have been sweeter. Your part in this whole escapade is more than appreciated. :)