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Trip Start Feb 26, 2009
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Trip End Mar 08, 2009


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Flag of United States  , Ohio
Monday, March 9, 2009

Today was a very long day.  We slept as long as we could in the morning, and skipped breakfast, because we knew it would be a long trip.  We were at the airport and had checked in by 9:00. The Zurich airport has been recently updated and is quite large and modern. There are underground trains that take passengers to the various terminals and concourses.
 
Our British Airways flight to Heathrow terminal 5 left late. Air traffic control in London required us to wait half an hour due to congestion. It's rather amazing that the controllers can call the shots from many hundreds of miles away and keep planes sitting on the runway.
 
The weather was clear as we left Zurich, so we had some beautiful parting view of the snow-covered Alps on the way out of Switzerland.  There was some turbulence, especially on final approach to London. I'm not sure why but it seems that conditions are always windy in London. Landings in both Heathrow and Gatwick are almost always bumpy and somewhat uneven. This landing was no exception.
 
We took the bus from the new Terminal 5 to Terminal 3 which has also been nicely redone. We had time for lunch in an airport pub, and although we were tempted by curry (there are so many people of East Indian origins in Britain now that curry has become a sort of traditional British meal - available in almost all pubs), but decided to be even more traditional and have fish and chips.
 
Fiona tasted an Irish hard cider with lunch, the first time she's tried that, and she liked it, though she wisely didn't finish it all. The ciders can be pretty strong.
 
The flight to Chicago lasted about 9 hours. We flew over the southern part of Greenland and the skies were clear so we could see the ground clearly. A less green place is hard to imagine. I read somewhere that the Vikings wanted to keep Iceland a secret because is was green, in places at least, pleasant and livable. So they called it "ice-land" to scare off anyone who might have thought of going there. And to make the subterfuge complete, they called the larger, icy, basically unlivable island "green-land." If the story is true, it appears their strategy worked.
 
We cleared immigration and custom in Chicago, all uneventful, and sat down to wait 90 minutes for the flight to Cincinnati. It was supposed to leave at 9:50 pm which would have put us into Cincinnati at about midnight. But the stewardess was late arriving on another flight. So we didn't leave until about 11:00pm central time which was midnight in Cincinnati. We were on the ground by around 1:00am and home by around 2:00. That made just about 24 hours of travel - not guaranteed to get one home in pristine shape, but we made it safe and more-or-less sound.
 
This was a very pleasant and easy trip as my travel goes. The next one will not be so leisurely. My spring trip should, if all goes as planned, take me to France, Benin, Togo, Cameroon, and Rwanda with transits through Kenya. I should leave in about 3 weeks now on March 31st.
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