August 31, 2022
San Francisco airport to Copenhagen was the longest leg of my August 30/31 journey at 10.5 hours. I was very happy that there was room for my backpack in the bin above me by the time I boarded. I watched nine of ten episodes of Rizzoli and Isles because based on sage advice I adopted from experienced travelers to avoid jet lag, it’s become my Modus Operandi to stay awake for the duration. I had no book to read (extra weight for the backpack) and my phone charger wasn’t compatible with my seat configuration eliminating Audible from my choices. I don’t watch much television but baseball (- HA!) yet have caught that show a few times and really like it. So that was fun! They even served us a hot dinner and a few hours later, “breakfast” (a roll and a slice of ham and Swiss cheese).
I was a bit worried with the forty minute window to change planes after Scandinavian Airlines changed my flight. I made a few inquiries including a call to the airlines, and was assured in each case that the Copenhagen airport was small and I wouldn’t need to clear customs until Amsterdam. Wrong!!! The airport felt huge as I spent ten minutes in a passport clearing line and another fifteen minutes booking it (walking Very, VERY Fast) to my gate. I made it Just-In-Time and was relieved to have space for my backpack in the overhead bin.
The ninety minute flight to Amsterdam departed a half hour late, putting us in at the A30 gate in Frankfurt thirty minutes after my next leg was scheduled TO BOARD at C1. It seemed like it took forever to get my wherewithal to the end of A, all of B gates (and even some Z gates?!??!?), out of security and back through to the designated spot, Exactly When It Was Scheduled To Leave!! No plane!! No bathrooms or water fountains either, plus there was no leaving the area allowed after clearing security!! I was supremely relieved and supremely out of breath, too!! I felt bad for those sequestered there for hours… I was happy to score overhead bin space above my seat once again when we finally did board over an hour late. When I connected to the Wi-Fi I found I had an email from Lufthansa sent at 3:43 stating a new departure time of 5:25 (vs the original 4:00), an email at 5:14 giving a 5:40 time and again at 5:35 noting 6:00, for the ninety minute flight. Arrival, off the plane with no checked luggage (thankfully) in Florence ended up being 8:00 instead of 6:30, which included getting bused to the indoor airport. I then took a super nifty and easy, inexpensive tram ($1.5 euros) to the train station by the Duomo. We experienced a fabulous sunset on the plane, yet now it was dark, not what I had in mind when trying to navigate to my evening lodgings…. And I hate to admit it, but I failed to prepare detailed instructions for myself as to how to get to my B&B from the trams end of the line stop so – Yikes!! Needless to say the good Lord was with me all the hours long, and even sent me wonderful Marco! I asked if he spoke English and could he maybe direct me to my location and not only did he offer to plug the address into his GPS, he walked me the 15 minutes there! All the while we we shared English and Italian phrases. He’s due to come to Florida to study computer science shortly. What a gem!! And I go on and on about this minutia, simply to share that if I can do it you can do it! It’s daunting to be in an unknown, foreign place, but we CAN do hard things! And we can enlist the help of others! And we can lean in to God with faith! I was an hour late, the proprietor was still there, and as she was navigating air-conditioning issues with other units she checked me in, gave me my keys and THE tutorial. What a safe and cozy area, historical and precious. They did error and booked me into a room that’s not really available until tomorrow, so I’m in a canopy bed room tonight and then I move to a third floor room with a view of the Duomo (their ancient cathedral) tomorrow.
I was tired and really wanted to take my shoes off, but I was also hungry given the limited opportunities for food the last many hours, so I walked about ten blocks to a really nice little spot and had a charcuterie plate that was far too big, but super beautiful to look at and enjoyable to savor! I have lots of leftovers to enjoy for the next couple of days! And then after my walk back, I took my shoes off! Oh! And Ahhh!!!