Thursday, April 21, 2016

Day 27 April 17 Heading Back Home

Hubby has to call me several times to awaken me at a little before 5 AM.  There were aches, pains and noises that kept me restless most of the night.  The anticipation of negotiating all the airport hurdles of security and customs.  We are still newbies at the international travels.  Anyway, I was not quite ready to begin this phase of our adventure, the return to reality.

Reality begins quickly as we have to get the bags out into the hall for transfer to the airport.  We will board the bus at 6:00 AM.  This is Romania time.  10:00 PM, April, 16, DFW time.  We exit our room about 5:35 AM and notice two of our bags are still by our door.  Momentarily we consider taking the bags with us.  But we have already been chewed out by several folks to leave our bags to them. Well, we do have a lot of bags, so they probably ran out of room.  They will come back to collect our bags.  We proceed to the lobby.  Hubby checks us out as I watch for our two bags to appear.

After ten minutes, no bags have appeared.  I approach the young 'man in charge'.  He says he had our bags.  I tell him he does not as I do not see them.  He shows me his page with our name crossed off.  I go to the desk to as if I can go up and check on my bags.  She gets on the phone then tells me to go look on the bus for our bags.  No, our bags are not on the bus.  The elevates to the manager who sort of rolls his eyes and heads up to the 8th floor with Hubby to prove the bags are gone.  They return with the two bags.  A very sheepish 'man in charge' takes to bags to the bus.  It is 6:05 AM as the bus pulls away from the hotel.  But we have our bags.

The thing about traveling with groups is that groups are large numbers of people arriving at the same time.  The Viking group had done a great job of all the transfers.  The lines at the Bucharest airport were long.  We were already checked in so it was just submit bags and move along.  Except..... our guy was training a new person. . . . . And a band was leaving with huge containers they were checking . . . . . . . We did get our passports stamped and stamped and stamped.  We made it to the gate with plenty of time to spare to eat the boxed breakfast from the hotel.  We even had time for a pit stop which was on a different floor.

We board and prepare for the 3+ hour flight from Bucharest to Heathrow.  The time is 8:35 AM, Romania time, 12:35 AM in Dallas.  A young man from Montreal, Canada, joins us in our 3 seat row.  He is a programmer for CNC equipment.  We talk nonstop for an unknown period of time.  A common subject between a 20 something entrepreneur and working guy and two old dinasaurs.  How things started, how things evolved and how things were now.

To my surprise breakfast served.  I partook of only the fruit cup, scone and clotted cream.  A, the young CNC guy, and I laughed later as how the flight attendant yelled at the guy in the next row to give her his cup.  Next row guy kept saying coffee, attendant kept yelling cup.  The breakfast tray came with a cup.  Next row guy was not understanding she was asking for his cup.  We three had our cups ready along with the three rows behind us.  We would not get yelled at by the attendant for our cups!  However, Hub's cup leaked and she had no solution except a napkin.  I thought about yelling 'cup' but did not want an international incident over a cup.  Besides I was still worn out from the bags and 'man in charge'.

After breakfast boxes were cleared by 'The Attendant to be Obeyed' the conversation with A the CNC Guy began to turn to faith, beliefs and politics.  A was returning from Romania where he had been visiting his aunt and cousins.  His parents left Romania to migrate to Canada after the fall of the Communist regimes restrictions in the 80's and 90's. A had an excellent knowledge of US history especially from a Canadian outlook.  It was interesting to hear the names of conflicts from a different perspective.  To be reminded that the US invaded Canada during the war of 1812.  That the US 'alphabet' agencies need to quit destabilizing other nations. Interesting and thought provoking.

The conversation could have continued except I began dozing.  I apologized and noted I wished I could continue but I was too sleepy.  I snuggled into Hubby's arm and slept till Hub's needed to get up and move around.  Hubs was by the window.  A and I decided A would sit by the window and Hubs would take the aisle set when he returned.  Then it was A's turn to nap.  For the remainder of the flight.  I watched the flight monitor as we flew over the places we had visited over the course of the last three weeks. 

The plane lands in Heathrow.  A gets my email to keep us updated on his CNC development project.  We climb down the stairs are transported to the main terminal.  Customs, security and another passport check.  And stamps.  Another pit stop and waiting at a gate.  Boarding of first class, silver, gold and all the special people. Finally us regular folks are boarded.  Bags in overheads.  Settle in for a 9 + hour flight.  Movies, food and lavatory visits fill the hours.  But no sleep.

We arrive at DFW around 4:00 PM on Sunday, April 17.  That is 12:00 AM in Romania.  After being on planes for around 13 hours, we are a little brain dead.  Not to mention our behinds being completely numb.  Weave our way through the airport maze to the baggage claim area.  There we waited ... and waited ... and waited.  Finally our bags begin to arrive.  We  have too many bags to manage easily.  I get a cart to help manage all the checked baggage, two carry-ons and two full backpacks.  Hubs is communicating with our nephew who is picking us up and taking to sister's home.

With a full cart we proceed to leave...  Oops one more passport and customs check.  Now to the exit near gate 15.  I walk up toward the center of the pick up area as Hubs is texting and calling Nephew.  For maybe 30 seconds they are looking for each other.  They are on opposite sides of the same 3 foot square pillar.  LOL's and hugs.  Then we load the suitcases into the Explorer and head for sister's.  We transfer the baggage directly to our CMax.  And realize we have failed to pickup one small case, the cosmetics and bath case.  Well, fudge....  Too tired to even consider going back to the airport.  We will deal with it on Monday.

Hugs and thanks to Nephew.  Only the cases with clothes and CPaP machine are carried into the house.  Cold drinks and lounge chairs are all we need for the next few hours.  I call a couple of numbers in re the bag but most are closed this time of day.  Oh, well.  It is just stuff.  Baggage at the start of the day and baggage at the end.  But who cares cause we have the best memories to enjoy as we fall asleep in the lounge chairs.

View of Rhine and Braubach from Marksburg Castle

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