The Long Haul Home

Trip Start Oct 11, 2012
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Trip End Nov 19, 2012


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Flag of United States  , New York
Monday, November 19, 2012


I didn't have much time my last day in Valletta, but I did have a chance to walk around the area of my hotel - the British Hotel - and check out the lower Barrakka Garden.  While I was there, a number of men started running around with cameras and setting up to take photos.  At first, I was mystified and then I saw the large ship sailing into to harbor.  It had men lined up at attention - sort of - all along the decks.  It was pretty impressive.  I asked someone what what going on and he told me it was the HMS Illustrious...the implication was that everyone knows this ship.  I will have to look up and see if it is famous for anything in particular.

When I got back to the hotel, I finished the last bits of packing up and got ready to get the shuttle.  Of course, I was worried that it would be late but the desk clerk was very nice and said they usually had some leeway with their arrivals and that it would call if it were more than 10 minutes late, or was it 15 minutes??  In any case, it wasn't really late.  The driver was nice and I was soon back at the airport.  Nothing significant happened there that I can remember. 

I had a very tight connection in Frankfurt to Dulles airport - my checked bagged was tagged "hot" and, with the flight being 45 min late, I am not sure how much time I had after crawling from the BACK of the plane - my gate was Z22 & I had no idea where it was or if I had already missed the flight - our instructions were to proceed to our gates unless otherwise notified so I walked as fast as I could.  Luckily I didn't have to go through the internal Frankfurt airport security (since I was already in the EU I think) - that would have killed any chances of making it.  As I was race-walking down the last corridor somewhere around Z14, I got a lift on one of those big golf carts to my gate where I was greeted with - glad you made it, Ms Marek!  I was the last one to board...breathless.  There was a free seat on the aisle next to me...I will have to be more careful...I had pretty crappy seat assignments for the return home.  The man at the window seat "encouraged" me to move over to the aisle seat whereupon he put all his stuff on the middle seat.  He did suggest that I put my tote bag under the middle seat, so that was nice.  Then when I had a can of soda open and some poured in a cup, and a book and blanket, he needed to go freshen up, so I had to balance all the open drinks while standing up, pivoting, and letting him pass by.  But, I did survive -and was faced with a miserable 27 F temperature on arrival - below freezing - yikes, it has been quite an adjustment - next time, I definitely have to make sure the electric blanket is hooked up before I leave.  It was a brutal shock to my system not to have a toasty bed to hop into.
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