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James' Euro Trip 2010 - Part 1
I got back from my trip in the waking hours of Tuesday instead of the wee hours of Tuesday morning. Thanks to some massive snow storms in Paris, I had delays getting home, but I did eventually make it. I'm still a little jet lagged and thus, I've woken up bright eyed at 4:30 AM. I have nothing better to do than start telling the tales of my Euro Trup 2010.
I'm going to regale my tales by topic rather than chronologically. I'm going to save the soccer for the end, even though that was the main purpose for my trip.
Travel by Air
Flying to Europe was mostly painless. I stopped in Minnesota, then went to Amsterdam, then to Milan. I say mostly painless, because upon landing in Amsterdam, I had 15 minutes to sprint through Schiphol Airport. I deplaned which took an agonizingly long time, and ran from Terminal A, gate A1, to Terminal C, Gate C16. On the way, I had to pass through customs. I just had a backpack so I breezed through that. A man looked at my passport uninterestingly, and let me pass. I could have smuggled in all that contraband! As I hustled against the clock, my precious Labello chapstick bounced out of my hoodie's pocket and bounced across the terminal. "FORGET IT," I though, as I was increased my stride and pushed past terminal B. The lip balm was Labello, which is my favorite brand, and only for sale in Europe. Good thing I was in Europe.
At what I thought was the last minute to get to my plane, I arrived at the gate to a notice that no one had boarded. The Milan Linate airport was closed due to snow. My sweaty, smelly, travel worn body, collapsed with a sigh of relief into a chair. A couple minutes later, we boarded the plane, then waited for about an hour, before getting de-iced, and taking off.
This is my first deicing. I had a great view of it.
KLM gave me this "treat" while we waited to go to Milan. It was gross, but the hot tea was nice.
This is the barf bag on KLM. It's a list of the places you're most likely to vomit.
Flying Home, as already mentioned was a bit of a mess. My route took me from Milan, to Paris, to NY-JFK, and then to LA. Before the flights, I had to take a train from Genoa to Milan. I was prepared for a long travel day, but in the end, it took 37 hours which really sucked.
This is Paris from above a couple days ago. Not a friendly place for an airplane.
Besides the delays, there was really just one interesting event. In Paris, a flight to Dakar Senegal was cancelled. The airline wasn't going to compensate the passenegers with a night in a hotel, so a cart of groundpads, plastic wrapped meals, and mini pillows was brought out for the travelers. The commotion and riot that ensued was nuts. The travlers mobbed the cart and the scene looked like one you'd see on the news when peacekeepers hand out aid in Africa. The mob was entirely out of control and riot police were rushed in tosecure the scene. I watched from about 50 yards away, so I didn't get any good pictures, but it was wild. That was my one moment of excitement during a 6 hour stay in Charles De Gaulle Airport's fancy new terminal.The situation diffused after 20 minutes.
A pleasant place to hang out if your flight is delayed 6 hours.
Since I was delayed in Paris for 6 hours, I missed my flight from NY to LA. Air France put me in a hotel around midnight, but I didn't sleep and headed back to the airport around 5:00 AM. JFK was an incredibly disorganized mess of an airport, and despite arriving two and a half hours before my flight, I barely made it on the plane. The long 6 hour flight across the country was made worse by the fact that the movies on the plane wern't working. Amazingly there was free in-flight wifi. I posted on facebook from 30,000 feet in the air! Everything is amazing! Upon arriving home, my family picked me up, as they're in town for Christmas.