Thursday, October 28

Return Flight

We both wanted to be at the airport extra early to be certain to clear customs, security and whatever else were barriers to an on-time take-off. After an early and quick breakfast at the hotel, we boarded the shuttle to the airport. Thankfully, there was no problem with security or customs, and we soon found ourselves at our departure gate in plenty of time. Marilyn got some coffee, and then waited with our carry-ons while I spent my last 2 Swiss Francs on 2 chocolate bars.

Our plane, a 767, boarded routinely. I was glad we had window/aisle seats, but they were over the wing, so we could see very little. The 5 center seats saw nothing at all. The flight went well, and we were pleased to be served the "low fat, low cholesterol" meal, which was better than the standard fare. One of the movies offered was "Terminal" which I thought would be a movie about someone who was terminally ill. Instead, it was a movie about a man who gets stuck in an airport terminal, and cannot leave because his country is having a revolution and the US government has not recognized either side, so he cannot have his passport stamped, and therefore cannot leave. He gets hungry, of course, and sees a woman returning her luggage cart and collecting a coin in return. The next scene shows him pushing a long line of luggage carts to collect the coins. It was really funny how he makes friends with the staff, and even gets a job in the airport. One of the funniest things was that I could tell exactly who on the plane was watching the same movie because we would all laugh at the same time.

We landed a bit early in Newark, then had to re-claim our luggage and take it through customs and load it on another conveyor belt to be hopefully sorted out to the right flight for home. I fortified myself with some fat free frozen yogurt and settled down at our gate with Marilyn. Our flight had a few empty seats, but a fairly good population of passengers to Cleveland. Approaching Cleveland, we found ourselves circling around and around over Chardon, waiting for Air Force One, the president's plane to take off from Cleveland. Nothing could land until Air Force One departed, and since the president was delayed there were a lot of planes circling. Eventually we became too low on fuel so had to fly to Detroit to refuel. That took us more time, since we had to wait on the ground for the refueling process to be completed. Cleveland airport was clear by then, so we just came in and landed. Many passengers on our plane was concerned about missing their connections, but since all the planes were equally delayed, they probably did make their connection. All the time I was thinking "I bet Roseann (my daughter) is attending whatever the president is doing." Sure enough, she was. She had taken her children out of school for the rally to which she had VIP tickets. Kevin and Sam got to shake the hand of the President of the United States, the most powerful man in the world, which I hope they will remember all their lives. Roseann had her picture taken with Laura Bush a week or so ago. Ohio being a pivotal state carried some benefits for us.

It was dark by the time Marilyn dropped me off at home. We were both tired, but so very happy about our wonderful adventure in Switzerland and the Alps.


This was my first trip to Europe; to the surprise of quite a few people, including Joe VanOs. Because I have traveled often since my retirement, people find it surprising how few times I have traveled internationally. Other than a few trips to Canada, which hardly seems international, my first trip abroad was to Australia in 2000.

I am most grateful that this trip went well, without mishaps, except for some rainy days. Everyone remained basically healthy, and there were no accidents. Europe, or at least Switzerland is much more beautiful and interesting than I had anticipated - perhaps a return trip might be possible? My pictures turned out so well, they are a great pleasure and satisfaction as well as a happy memory for the future.