Two Weeks in Europe
Sunday 22 July: The Departure
Our flight to Chicago left at 7:00 PM. I can rarely sleep on flights, but on the eight-hour trans-Atlantic flight, I decided to give it a shot with my good friend diphenhydramine.
In the past, for whatever reason, I've enjoyed wearing a suit when I fly. But on this trip I didn't even bring slacks. On the early flights I rocked cargo shorts and a Homer Simpson shirt. (Got two compliments on the shirt, and one of the pilots recognized my Timor-Leste cap.)
Memo to self, from Chicago at 8:00 PM: Bring snacks when flying. I eventually located some very old honey-roasted peanuts in a bag, but they were very old and all the honey had evaporated or fermented into something ungodly.
The flight overseas was fine. I watched some of The Big Lebowski on the in-seat screen, while Diane went straight for the video games. (I must be rubbing off on her.)
I didn't really sleep on the plane, but I drowsed and listened to some podcasts and comedy albums. They fed us some lovely cheese ravioli in a vodka sauce. Then as we approached we got a croissant and yogurt. Everybody complains about airline food being crap, but United actually delivered with some tasty comestibles. Good lookin' out, United.
Landed in London at 11:00 AM (local time) Monday. I was wide awake and feeling good when we landed. I worried that a crash was approaching, but it never really did. I expected to have a huge expanse of time on the flight over the sea — read, do some cross-stitch, watch a movie or two. But I turned off the screen and nodded off (kinda) and we were in London. Weiter zu Deutschland!
The flight to Stuttgart was short and uneventful. It took some work to figure out which trains to take to Freiburg. Part of the difficulty came from my being a cheapskate; cell service costs $10 a day. So we tried to rely on Wifi as much as possible. Eventually, though, we switched it on and realized the regional train stop "Freiburg" was nowhere near our destination. Eventually got it sorted. Human eyes never saw a more delightful sight than my Wikipedia BFF Willow — and her wife Camilla — greeting us at the train station. We caught the bus to Hinterzarten and collapsed in their flat. Finally, some real sleep.