October 14, 2022
Today was a travel day on our way to our first stop at Basel. I knew it was going to be a long day but was not prepared for the duration. In the early evening the night before we left melissa received an email that informed us our 11:45 am flight had been changed to a 7:45 am flight. That would not have been bad if it were not for the 2-hour drive time to get to the airport. Melissa contacted her sister and she said we should be able to make it with no difficulty if we left by 4:00 am. We set our clocks for 3:30, finished packing, and were asleep by 10. Morning came early but we were fueled by the excitement of the trip. The 400 yards (365.75 m) from long term lot to the terminal did not include we were in the back of economy long term.
After a quick flight to O’Hare, and a 4 hour layover, we finally boarded the flight to Germany. This was scheduled as an 8 hour flight, but we were told there was a good tailwind, and we should reach our destination in only 7 1/2 hours. Still, the thought of being belted into our seats for that long seemed daunting. I reassured myself that I could get some sleep if I was lucky, as they always turn out the lights. We took off and were served a meal (of sorts) as we sped eastward at 650 mph (1046 km). After a long flight (and two movies I had not seen) we arrived in Frankfurt. We were whisked through customs (it always seems easier to leave the US than to arrive) and wound our way to the disembark gate. The gate indicated for departure was literally 30 yards (27 m) from our disembark, so we went to find somewhere to eat breakfast and wait out our next 4 hour layover. During breakfast Melissa received another e-mail saying the departure gate had been change to another terminal. We started walking (I did not realize Frankfurt had such a large airport) and 1/2 hour later we arrived at the right gate.
By this time, we thought we were home free, but this was just the beginning of the longest leg. We passed through the gate and found the gangway led to a set of stairs that took us down to the tarmac. We boarded a bus for the 20 minute ride to the plane parked in the middle of nowhere. It was only a short hop to Basel and arriving at the airport we were whisked through the airport to the bus that took us to the boat that would serve as our home for the next several days. By this time, we had been traveling for 20 hours (and a day change) and were exhausted. We were just happy to be onboard and looking forward to the excitement to come. When we got off the bus that took us to the boat we realized my brother and sister-in-law were in the back of the same bus after their own 12 hour journey. What a coincidence.
THOUGHTS: The flight and layovers were exhausting and when we arrived at the boat Melissa, and I fell asleep in the lounge waiting for our room to be ready. While travel is exciting the time to get to destinations can seem the worst part of the trip. That is true whether we are driving to the bird sanctuary 1-1/2 hours away or the 20 hours it took to get to Europe. The trick is to somehow make the transit part of the fun. That only worked for the first 15 hours (haha). Act for all. Change is coming and it starts with you.