Saturday, May 2, 2015

Random Thoughts on my trip from Saint Paul to Warsaw

My older granddaughter drove me to the airport on Thursday evening, April 30. Once there I quickly checked my bag, but then found I had to go to kiosk and check in again to "verify" my passport, even though I had entered my passport number when I did online check in for the flight from home.

I was in the boarding area by 7:00 and the flight didn't go until 9:45 so I knew it would be long time before I saw "supper." This part of the MSP terminal is loaded with Ipads.

I used the Ipad to order a serving of sweet potato fries. I had already purchased a bottle of water and chocolate bar at a shop.

The flight left right on time at 9:45 and when the map came up on the entertainment center for my seat I was pleased to see our flying time was less than the scheduled 8 hours and a few minutes. We had a good tail wind chasing us to Europe.

Supper did appear about 2 hours into the flight. I selected barbecued chicken and it was quite good.

Then off and on I slept; I think I slept perhaps three hours of the flight. The rest of the time I was reading on my kindle.

About the time we crossed over the UK, breakfast appeared. We had a breakfast sandwich, orange juice, and mini bagels with cream cheese.

It was a bit of hike from the gate to passport control. This time, and for the first time, I was asked where I was going. When I said Poland I was asked if I was taking a train. I explained I was staying overnight and taking a flight to Warsaw the next day. Then I was asked when I was leaving the EU.

Walked to the Citizen M hotel. I noticed a building project is going on to add another 126 rooms plus some meeting rooms. I also noticed the canteen area had been redesigned since I was there last August.

Up in my room, I found the somewhat wonky remote control had been replaced by an Ipad.

This shows the Ipad set for managing the television. Wish I could do it this way at home. Simply touching one of the area, such as BBC One, turns on the TV monitor and moves it immediately to that channel. Down the left hand side are other selections such as Room Control. In that area I could select the room temperature, turn the lights on and off, select the color for the lights, and also control the window blinds.

The picture above shows the monitor when a specific channel on the TV was not selected.

I was ready to sleep so curled up under the duvet on the very comfortable bed and slept about three hours. Then I walked back to airport plaza for supper at the Grand Cafe. My favorite here is the Burger Deal.

Notice how what we Americans call French Fries are served in the Netherlands.

Went back and while digging into a pocket of my suitcase I found a surprise.

 My granddaughter, who theoretically lives with me, but spends most of her time with friends, college, and work, had hidden a card. Inside she had written "thank you for all your help."  She really is a treasure.

I\then crashed in bed, only to awake about 4 AM. I got out the computer and did some work on minutes for meeting I had recently attended and e-mailed the file off for review. Read for awhile and then went back to sleep. Got up about 8:00 and wandered downstairs for breakfast. I had elected not to prepay for breakfast. In the past the cost has been 9 Euro  I didn't think it was worth the cost.
I got a bottle of orange/mango juice, a cinnamon roll that I really like to have every time I'm at this hotel, and used a coupon to pay for a Cappuciccino. In the future, though, I'm going to pay for the breakfast because now it is the real deal with eggs, bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms, pastries, etc. -- well worth the cost.

I returned to my room and packed up again and walked back to the plaza. It was only 11:00 and I knew my flight wouldn't be boarding until after 1:00 PM, so I stopped at the Grand Cafe and ordered a continental breakfast.

I was so glad I did this. The orange juice was fresh squeezed. It tasted so good. But what I saw was amazing. Soon there were 5 very elderly people sitting by me along with their luggage. All were wearing name tags as if on a tour. Two had been delivered to this spot via wheelchairs. One woman had her chest covered with military medals. I started to do the math in my head -- if these were World War II vets, just how old were they? Then I heard one of the men say he was 94 years old. When my waiter returned I whispered to him that the gentleman was 94. The waiter replied, "I think they are veterans coming for the May 5 anniversary. I have such great respect for them."  What a wonderful statement from a young European man.

Finally made the trip to Departure Hall 1 and used a kiosk to check into my flight. Again I was asked for 30 Euro to check a bag. This started last year for the first time. So I elected to pay later and went to stand in a line for help. I gave them my Delta skymiles number and the charge went away.

Then it was through security. The Amsterdam airport is getting more and more automated. Now we lay our boarding pass bar code on a machine and we are admitted to security. No more taking off the watch-- this used to be a requirement whereas in the U.S. it is taking off shoes.

Then off to the boarding gate. The first sign I saw said this was a 4-7 minute walk so you know it is a good hike. Got there in plenty of time, and on my way replenished by bottle of water that I had to throw away before going through security.

The flight down to Warsaw was routine. Once there I hit the ATM and got Polish money, walked down the arrival hall to a shop and got two chocolate bars, and then went outside to wait for a taxi. Since it was late Saturday afternoon, I was soon at the bed and breakfast where I will spend the night.

Walked out to supper and saw this sight:

Nowy Swiat is lined with banners for the Polish flag. Yesterday was Labor Day, observed in many, many countries, today is Polish Flag Day and tomorrow is Constitution Day.

While sitting at the restaurant I could hear lots of singing and shouting, and then figure out some sort of sporting event had just concluded. People appears wearing scarves for their favorite team.

Learned a new Polish word from my Coke Zero.

If I can believe my translator app, mistriz means champion.

Concluded supper with a dessert called chocolate pot of creme.

Now it's time to sleep again! Just about getting myself on the European time schedule.

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