Thursday, August 30, 2007

THE TRIP Part 1 - Getting there is half the fun!

Finally the long awaited post about my trip. I will write an installment every few days, so keep checking back so that you don't miss anything.

The trip started out at O'Hare airport, where my two travel companions, Anni and Karen, and I sat waiting for the aircraft to arrive. It was a bit late, but we finally boarded, Anni and Karen in business class, and me in economy. Then we sat, and sat, and sat, ..... at the gate. Some repairs needed to be made to the cockpit door and a seat. We finally left three hours late. We landed in Frankfurt Germany, and missed our connection to Budapest. I was put on one of those courtesy carts and driven off to get re-ticketed, Anni and Karen were told to follow the crowd and get in line.

I was taken to special services and told I was on the 9 PM flight to Budapest, and due to privacy laws they wouldn't tell me if Anni and Karen were on the same flight. Anni and Karen were standing in line somewhere.... since it was only 12 noon, the rest of the day ahead was certainly going to be interesting. This was one of those times that being a native German speaker comes in really handy. The staff wasn't going to dismiss me quite so easily. I managed to finally get Anni and Karen's flight information and yes, they were to be on the same flight. Then I talked them into paging them. Although the staff was reluctant, they were dealing with Frau Rill, and finally did as I asked. Anni heard the page, went to the information desk and had them call special services. Once we knew were the two of them were, I commandeered a wheel chair and a good looking Lufthansa guy, and off I went to join them.

We had a lovely lunch/dinner/meal at the restaurant overlooking some runways and tarmacs and looked all the different airlines that flew in and out of Frankfurt. (Evi's travel tip: always make sure you have local currency with you when you arrive. That way you don't have to pay the high exchange rates at the airport, and you can actually eat if you are stuck there for awhile). After the meal, we needed some chocolate - Ritter Sport Trauben Nuss - and Coka Cola Light.

I managed to call Stefan who would be picking us up in Budapest, to let him know of our change in plans. When it was nearing time to go to our gate, another wheelchair appeared this time with a nice lady, to guide us to our gate, which was sooooo far away, I think it might have been in another state! There must have been at least two passport check stations and 3 security checkpoints that we had to clear before we got to the gate. Here we met up with the only surly Lufthansa employee in the world. He made everyone in the gate area get up and stand in line so that he could check our boarding passes, so we could sit down in the gate area again. After we finally boarded, the captain announced that there would be delay in take off, as they had loaded the wrong cargo on the plane, and needed to correct that mistake.

The flight to Budapest was not very long, about 90 minutes tops, and soon we were landing at midnight, Hungarian time. A wheel chair with a Hungarian paramedic met me at the plane and off we went to claim our baggage. All the bags were there, and Stefan was there to meet us! The drive to Werischwar took about an hour. Once we arrived, we found out that our rooms on the first floor near the elevator had been given away, so off to search for another room. We were put in a room on the fifth floor, again near the elevator, but the door to the vestibule with the elevator was locked on that floor, so we had to get off at four and then go up another flight, quietly, in the dark, with lots of luggage.

We quickly washed up and fell into bed, only to discover that out of the three of us, no one brought an alarm clock! We managed to get up on time the next morning, get unpacked, showered, dressed and down to breakfast on time! The entire group assembled in front of the building after breakfast for the day's activities.

The group was off to German Mass at the Church, followed by a trip to the Heimat Museum in town. Both of these destinations were in opposite directions from the Friederich Schiller Gymnasium, where we were staying, and walking was the mode of transportation. I was told I could not walk that far, so I stayed behind and read a book about Budapest.

Here is a picture of the entire group that took part in this wonderful conference.

Stay tuned for part 2 - Anni and Karen dance!

1 comment:

MrsJ said...

I like that you commandeered a wheelchair, complete with a good looking Lufthansa guy. Trauben Nuss, though? I love the Nuss part, but raisins in chocolate don't appeal to me at all...