Getting home from Europe
Mandy set her alarm for 8:30am and refused to get up before it went off. It’s lucky she got up at all, because it was set for the wrong weekday. She got to shower first so she could do hair things and whatnot while I showered. Once we were all ready and packed we did a once-over of the living space we had rented to make sure we didn’t forget anything. We left the keys behind and shut our last European door (for now) behind us.
We got down to the street and set out in search of food. A lot of the places we passed had some dumpy looking croissants, and that was about it. We wanted to leave on a good note, so we continued our search. We had time. Eventually, we settled on Bar Cupido, which is right near the dock our boat would leave from, so that was convenient. We got a couple cappuccinos, a couple chocolate croissants, and a table. We dropped our bags to sit down a bit and enjoy breakfast. We watched the morning rush filter through. When there was a break at the counter, we grabbed a fried potato ball and a turkey and cheese sandwich just in case we had to go a while without a food opportunity. Travel days are always susceptible. We paid up and stepped outside to the dock with about 20 minutes to go.
We were hoping to catch an 11:02am boat to the airport. The boat came and left; one woman got off, but the boat was otherwise completely full. We were reassured the next boat would take us to the airport. Okay, no problem. The next boat came, and we were told to get on the next one. And one more time. THEN, we got on a boat. We were only a few minutes behind schedule, and this boat went direct to the airport. We skipped one scheduled stop. So our arrival was as-scheduled. The water was quite rough, but the ride was otherwise boring. We followed signs toward the airport terminals.
Once inside the airport, there were queues everywhere. Once we got our bearings, we realized it was actually one really long line. And we had to get in it. We had some time, but we were somewhat concerned about getting to our plane on time. The line went all the way across the airport lobby before all the zig-zag things. We got in line and I spotted a little shop selling beers. We had 10.94 euro dollars left that we didn’t want to bring home. Figuring we’d be in line a while, we opted to make it marginally interesting, so I got two beers totalling 10.90 euro dollars, and I donated 4 euro cents to their little cup at the register. I found Mandy in line, far from where we’d parted just a few minutes prior. Crap, this line moves fast. We crushed the beers (well, one beer, and one radler) before security and recycled the bottles. We didn’t do shoes at security, but we did do belts. After security, we checked for our gate, which wasn’t listed. Our flight was delayed 11 minutes. We found another gigantic queue, and asked an airport employee if we should be in that line, because it was heading to specific gates. She assured us we did not have to, which was great. We waited patiently until we saw a gate number listed.
We headed to gate 5 downstairs and waited. We learned that we would be getting on a bus for a short ride to the airplane, which was interesting. We herded onto the bus when it arrived and rode to the plane. Here we found our seats and waited for another busload of passengers to arrive and get seated. We took off at 1:47pm, 27 minutes after the scheduled takeoff. The flight was pretty short; just enough to get us over the Alps and into Munich. Overall, it took about an hour.
So we got to see Munich airport again, which was indifferent. An airport’s an airport. Since we were on “Italian time” (read: late), we had about zero minutes until our connecting flight began boarding. No problem. We just had to wait for the bus to pull up to the airplane, load up, drive us across the tarmac to the airport building, orient ourselves, find our gate, traverse the terminal, go through three separate passport checks and get to the gate. The passport checks actually probably saved us from missing the flight, as odd as that sounds. We got to the first, which had a huge line that didn’t appear to be moving. There were 2 or 3 border security agents working and about 7 empty stalls. After several worried minutes, we noticed that some others in line were as pressed for time as we were. A few jumped out of line to do some investigating which found that there was an automated system in place with a much shorter line. The signage was nonexistent, so we suspect a lot of people didn’t realize this was an option for them. We jumped out of the huge line, and moved to the automated system. Here, you scan your passport and get a picture taken of your face. Then, you have to stop to talk to a border agent anyways. And yet, somehow it’s faster. Who knows. We were just pumped to get passport stamps. From there, we raced towards our gate. We entered a hallway full of people. More lines. There were signs here, marking various classes of plane tickets; economy, first class, business class. However, the people that were already lined up were making announcements to all newcomers. The lines were actually divided by destination. We hopped in the Boston line, somehow comforted to be surrounded by others from our flight. Surely they wouldn’t leave with so many passengers missing, right? When we got to the front, we had to show our passports again. No idea. Then, finally! we got to our gate. Another line. They were still boarding our flight, so we heaved a huge sigh of relief. We got our boarding passes ready, and saw that the agent was also requiring passengers ahead of us to show their passports, so we dug those out also. We passed the final checkpoint, and moved through the jetway to our seats. This plane was huge, 9 across in three groups of three. A350-900 for any aviation nerds reading.
We took off out of Munich at about 4:10pm, about 10 or 15 minutes late. The captain came on to announce that he was going to floor it, and that we should expect to arrive about 25 minutes early. The plane was part of the Lufthansa fleet, and very nicely outfitted. It felt and looked fairly new. The ride was very smooth as we had fair weather almost the whole way. We enjoyed a couple movies each on the in-flight entertainment systems, but the tail-mounted camera was maybe my favorite part. We chatted with our aisle-seat buddy, and postulated future travel plans. Where will we go next? We touched down at Logan at about 6:10pm local time in kind of overcast skies with light rain. Here we had to do another passport check, and then we found our way out to the street. Mandy got us an Uber, and we made our way home. We dropped our stuff off then drove to the neighbors (we were starting to feel exhausted) to pick up Loki. We got back home and crashed, our bodies feeling like it was about 3am. It was wonderful to be in our own bed.
"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to."
- Bilbo Baggins
We're just an adventure-loving couple with a puppy looking to share our stories with the world.