Day 23 (February 24, 2011)
Itinerary: Joanna has a 6:40am flight too Amsterdam, then a 10:40am flight to Houston arriving at 2pm, CST. Mark has a 9:00am fliight to Annaba arriving at 10:25am, CET.
We had a very sad morning today when I woke at 5am to say goodbye to Mark. We have such an incredible time together that it's hard to remember that we were apart for 8 weeks before this. And now, we shall spend another 8 weeks going our own way. But we shall be together again in April.
After traveling with Mark for the past 3 weeks it is now strange going to the airport without him. But, I must catch my 6:40am flight to Amsterdam where I will connect to a flight to Houston. The check in line for luggage was long and I picked the longest line of course out of 3 choices. I much prefer the airlines that have just one long line and multiple desks rather than the Marseille airport where you have to pick a line for each attendant. I went through security behind several airport workers who were scanning bags of food through the xray machine. I didn't even connect the fact that if I was following the food into the terminal, there would be no food for me to buy once inside. No breakfast before the plane for me.
We boarded the plane on time, but then had to sit at the gate for about 30 minutes as the pilot informed us that the weather was terrible in Amsterdam with lots of mist and temperatures at 3 degrees C. So, we sat. Finally we took off and I slept most of the way just waking up for breakfast.
I thought they were handing out wrapped muffins, but the breakfast was actually an egg and cheese omlet in a little bread sandwich. This trip is the first time I've flown KLM, and I have to say that other than Singapore Airlines, this airline has some of the best food. I've been very happy with my KLM experiences.
En-route to Amsterdam the pilot once again informed us that the weather was terrible and we'd have to circle in a holding area for a while. He listed a bunch of connecting flights that passengers would not make. According to the pilot, I could still make my connection, but I'd have to run. While we circled, I saw other planes up in the air circling as well. This is the first time I really remember looking out the window of a plane and seeing more than one other plane in the sky with us.
It felt as if we must be very high off the ground as there was a blanket of clouds beneath us, but the pilot told us we were finally landing and the landing gear came out. The next second I knew, the plane was on the ground! I looked outside to see the terrible Amsterdam weather. We landed in a fog of pea soup. From my seat in the plane I could just barely make out the ground and I was amazed that we made it to the runway. The airport was no where in sight of course.
We touched ground around 9:30 and I was off the plane and in the bus to the airport after 9:40am. My boarding time was 9:40 and my flight was at 10:40. The Amsterdam airport is very large and I still had to go through passport control!
Our bus finally arrived at the gate and we all burst out running to the computers where I could see that my Houston flight was boarding and a 20 minute walk away. It's neat here because the computer screens give information on how long the walk is to each flight listed. I love data!
I ran and ran and found a horde of people trying to push through passport control. I was relieved to see them open another line. My flight was still listed as boarding. Now it's after 10am and I'm still 17 minutes from my gate. And the line is creeping by. I couldn't believe that my Houston flight was going to take off on time in this fog.
I stood hopping from foot to foot as passport control asked me about my trip to Spain and if I had fun. Then I ran to gate E24. Security check was right at the gate. Once through security people were just starting to get on board. Phew, I made it! I can only imagine that "boarding" meant going through the security right before the gate as it's been blinking "boarding" ever since my first flight landed.
Boarding the aircraft was very efficient. There was a tarmac going to the back of the plane and one towards the front. I have a whole row of 4 seats in the middle of the plane to myself. I like to sit in the back of the plane as there is a higher probablility of getting a row to myself. Goal achieved.
At this point we just sat here on the tarmac waiting for the plane to be fueled. Then the pilot came on the air and mentioned that due to the fog, we'd be sitting here at least another 45 minutes. So why did we board the plane? I could be sitting in the terminal using the free wifi the Amsterdam airport provides. I don't think we took off until after 11:30. The flight attendants were very nice while we sat here. We got drinks and snacks at least.
The flight went smoothly after take off. I didn't get as much sleep as I would have hoped, but I'll sleep tonight. The next week will be pretty busy for me as I catch back up with regular life. Thanks for reading my blog/journal. I keep the journal mainly for myself to keep track of what we do and where we've been, but it's nice to share it with others.
I've made it to the Houston airport and soon I'll be home. Mark says he made it home fine as well.
Until the next vacation….signing off.