7:30 GST (Hour 1). We travel by bus from the hotel to the airport, making a few stops, but getting there with relative ease. Tegel is a strange airport where the gates all have their own independent security lines. We checked in on one line, walked 10 meters, then waited to go through security directly into our departure gate. German security going through to the US is very strict -- much stricter than any security line I've ever been through in the US. We were patted down, all our luggage was upheaved and sorted and processed through the x-ray machine twice. The security agents had an impromptu conference about my camera monopod and decided it looked too much like something you could bludgeon the flight crew with, so I was forced to check my large bag.
9:30 GST (Hour 3). On to the plane, only to wait on the runway for 45 minutes while the flight crew "refile their paperwork." Apparently the headwinds were going to be so bad that they were going to make a detour fuel stop in Canada, which they assured us would take 20 minutes. On the plane I have a particularly awful chicken breast thing that tasted like it had lived in a freezer for several months before gracing my dinner tray. I watch 3 movies on the trip, unable to sleep, as usual on plane trips.
10:00 EST (Hour 10). We land in "Goose Bay" Canada, world reknowned destination for refueling airplanes and little else. The passengers remain on the plane of course, since it's just suppoed to be a short pit stop.
11:00 EST (Hour 11). After more "paperwork" issues, we finally get off the ground and on our way to Newark. I have a scotch and soda and watch Casablanca.
15:00 EST (Hour 15). We arrive in Newark, having already missed our connection to Tampa. We go through customs and then wait in line to get a new connection, now scheduled for 19:00 EST. My father buys me a Guinness and I have a corned beef sandwich. I note the irony of the fact that the first thing I eat in the US is a sandwich made with saurkraut.
19:00 EST (Hour 19). We get on board the plane to Tampa, relieved to be on the last leg. We are 20th in line for take-off and wait 45 minutes on the taxiway.
22:00 EST (Hour 22). In a flight stupor, we stumbled out of the plane and into the Tampa Airport, where Jeannie is blssedly waiting to pick us up.
23:00 EST (Hour 23). We get back to the apartment, ironically a little more energized from telling stories on the drive back to Palm Harbor. We catch the end of Bill Clinton's address to the Democratic convention, and then I promptly pass out. There are no pictures of the day.
Thanks for following our adventure through Germany, Austria and Slovakia. I hope you enjoyed my ramblings. It was a great trip despite the transitory issues and one both of us are unlikely to forget any time soon...plus we have this blog as an archive to remember things! Once I sort through the 1800 exposures I took and adjust, weed, and polish, I will post a link to the gallery.
So long and guten nacht!