Monday, September 7, 2015

From Poznan to Minnesota

All good things must come to an end. On Friday, August 14 I checked out of the PURO Hotel in Poznan and took a very nice taxi ride to the airport. The taxi ride took my by many buildings so I could get an idea about the style in Poznan, by the zoo, by all kinds of interesting things.

Arriving at the airport, I found a luggage cart and loaded on my bag and then found the restaurant there. I knew if would be long time before supper in Warsaw. This airport restaurant indeed has a view.

I ordered a naleĊ›niki (perhaps spelled wrong, I have trouble with that word) with fruit. Oh my was it good! Inside it was loaded with summer fruits. Yum, yum! If I go back to Poznan I will go early to the airport just to stop at this restaurant.

When it became time to board the bus for the plane -- no jetways at this airport -- I found the step a bit high, but people on the bus helped me. A woman quickly got up to give me a seat. A very nice man carried my computer bag for me.

The flight to Warsaw was a bit bumpy, perhaps to be expected in the super heated air of that week. The same nice man helped me off the bus when we arrived in Warsaw and carried my bag inside. Then he left for the transfer area.

Arrived in Warsaw and found my suitcase was the only one of the luggage belt. Everyone else must have been on a flight transfer to somewhere else.Walked myself over to the Courtyard by Marriott. Took myself down to the Lobby Bar and ordered a turkey club sandwich. After that it wasn't too long until I crashed in bed. The next morning I enjoyed a nice breakfast and then lingered in the hotel until about the 12:00 check out time, for my flight to Amsterdam wasn't until 5:15 in the afternoon.

It turned out to be a very long afternoon at the airport, primarily because the KLM computer system went down for about 45 minutes and we all just stood there in a line trying to check in our baggage. The kiosks for getting a boarding pass continued to work OK.

Finally came the time to go through security and get to the boarding gate. I noticed a new type of food court area near this gate. It will be my good-to place on any future time I fly from this gate area.  It contains a number of fast food restaurants. Mostly I was just interested in a cold slushy drink on this hot day.

One goes through a special entrance and is given a card, like a credit card. It is shown at the right in the picture. Then one can make purchases from one or more of the restaurants in the area. Then when exiting you may at a cash kiosk for everything at one time. Ingenious.

Up to Amsterdam without any problems. I noticed I felt stronger on the walk from the baggage area to the Citizen M hotel. Checked in and when it was noticed I was using a cane, the staff person helped me change the room to one closer to the elevator.

When organized in my room I went downstairs to check out the buffet. I chose penne pasta with a very good red sauce including spicy meatballs. I like Polish food but this spaghetti was a nice change. Because I have a Citizen M membership number I get a free drink so used my token for a good cold glass of Dutch beer. With the level of pain meds I'm taking I'm to avoid drinking much alcohol, but this marks only my second beer for the whole year, so I think I'm following the "not much alcohol" rule OK.

The next morning I was down for breakfast early. Then off to the airport again on cool rainy morning, which felt good after the extreme heat of the Central Europe. (Since coming home I've seen a news story that says July 2015 was the hottest July on record, and particularly hot in Central Europe. So I lived through that in July and the coldest and rainiest May in 30 years on my earlier trip this year! )

I had to sit and rest a bit on the long walk to departure hall 2. I think the long day in the airport in Warsaw and then the long walk from Arrival 2 to the Citizen M fatigued my knees quite a bit.

Right now the Amsterdam airport is undergoing renovation and leaving is an adventure. After checking in my luggage I was directed to another desk where it was verified I had a passport in hand. This visual inspection is now occurring even though one verifies passport in hand when getting the boarding pass. Then I was given the actual boarding gate for the flight. Right now Delta only announces D1 or E1 as the gate for the flight. There is where the passengers without Sky Priority Boarding do the second passport check. Only after the second passport check does one know the real boarding gate.

When we got on the plane the entertainment center for each step was working, at least for the flight data.

While on the tarmac the flight data showed we were 10 meters below sea level. And last year in Bolivia  I experienced life at 4200 meters above sea level.

Our flight back to Minnesota went by a very different route. Usually we begin to cross the UK at Newcastle and fly west across Glasgow.  Instead  we proceeded north along England and Scotland and then turned west between Scotland and  the Orkney Island. That meant we flew north of Iceland and then across  the southern one-third of Greenland.

Note the advertisement for Marriott  on the bottom of the screen. No matter what I did I could not get rid of it.

We  entered  Canada at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River.  About an hour later  we  started  the angle down to Minnesota.

On  this flight I was in the middle where there are 4 seats in a row and in the aisle seat. Not to my surprise the man next to me had to get up during the flight to use the toilet. That didn't surprise me but when he came back he certainly did surprise me. I started to get up to let him get back to his seat, he motioned for me to stay in my seat. He simply picked up one leg and then the other and climbed right over me.

My granddaughter was to meet me, and she wasn't there. I called her and only got voice mail. Finally I called her boyfriend and she answered and said she would be right there, that she didn't have her phone. Later I found they had sent me a Facebook message asking my arrival time. But they sent it while I was in the air so that wasn't very helpful.

Finally got home and found my granddaughter had put all my bed lines in the washer with soap all over them, but never turned the washer on. I was just longing to go to bed, but instead I add to wait until the washer and dryer had finished with the bed linens.

But I only found this out after first I gone with her to Urgent Care. So it was a long day before I finally got to bed after getting up in Amsterdam.

I always say I like to be other places but I don't much like travel anymore. But it is definitely worth all the hassle to help the kids in Poland learn English.  

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