On the Way Home
Trip Start Jul 10, 2008
18Trip End Jul 19, 2008
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Set the alarm for 6:30 so we could have breakfast before we left the ship. Breakfast was just OK. Went to the cabin to retrieve our bags, then back to wait in the main dining room until the called our number to get off the ship. Overall a pretty smooth process. We scheduled the transfer to the airport through the cruise line, which is probably how we'll do it from now on. Nothing to worry about, no trains to catch, and they guarantee to have you at the airport in time for your flight.
Got checked in and through security in no time. Traveling business or first class on British Air gets you the 'Fast Track' through security and customs. Very short line with two screeners and no waiting. Made a big difference.
We dropped our carry-on bags at the lounge, then went off to do some duty-free shopping. Jeff got some really good Scotch for himself, but I didn't see anything appealing that I couldn't get cheaper at home. (eg. Woodford Reserve Bourbon. $30 in the states, £30 in the UK. £30 = $60, so definitely not worth it)
I had some British Pounds to get rid of so I wouldn't have to go through the hassle of exchanging them (Only about $18 worth) so I stopped in Harrod's and got some Spicy English Mustard for Jeff and a block of Double Glouster cheese for me. We went back to the lounge to wait for the flight, had some wine and cheese, and blogged a little.
When they called our flight, the Folts Curse came back into effect. I have this uncanny ability that whenever I fly, my gate is the last one in the terminal. I thought we had avoided it because we were going to Gate 12 (out of 25). We started walking and noticed that for some reason, we passed the hall that led to Gates 18-25 and were still walking. I saw the area for Gates 10-17 and thought "Hey, were pretty close". Wrong. Even numbers on the right, odd numbers on the left, however even didn't start until half-way down. Where was Gate 12, you ask? YEP! Gates 12, 14 and 16 were next to each other at the end. Jeff just looked at me and said "I guess that proves the vacation is over".
The flight back was to be 8 ½ hours and our plan was to stay up for the whole thing. Worked pretty well as I only dozed off once for about 30 minutes. Inflight was OK. Seats weren't as comfortable (777 versus 747 going over) and the food wasn't as good. We both had the feeling that it was more of a 'ride' than anything else.
We took off at 4:10pm and landed just before 7:00pm (which was 1:00am to us) so we only had to stay awake for a few hours to get back on our sleep clocks. Went to bed at 10:30 and was wide awake at 4:00am. Oh well.... Give us a few more days for that to work.
That's my last entry for this trip. We're home and have some great memories of our European Adventure. Enjoy the posts and the pictures. Let us know what you think.
3:06 PM 7/19/2008 - On The Plane Home -
It's Saturday PM somewhere over Canada right now. I don't have a way of plugging in - so I'm going to have to just write until I have nothing more to write about.
We have had a great trip. We saw a day of London, got on a ship load of British, and saw Amsterdam, Oslo, Copenhagen and Helsingborg - and got some marvelous pictures. I managed to get a sweatshirt hoodie in Amsterdam at H&M, and got a good fleece top with the colors of Norway on it. Overall, the best meals we had were the one FORMAL dinner, where Dave and I had our own table, and were dressed to the nines, and the Chef's Table dinner - though I think in memory a lot of the Chef's table dishes were awfully salty. Then the Copenhagen hotdogs ran a close third. I don't know what it is about the flavors of a good hot dog, with chili sauce, and sautéed cucumbers - but it was great. Our dinner last night was just a plain dinner which could easily have been made at home - but that was relatively good as well. I think my palate has been spoiled by too much cruising, and by being on a ship full of Englishmen.
I think the best tour we did was actually in Oslo with the sculpture garden and the historical park. That sculpture garden really just about brought Dave and I to tears with how beautiful it was. The weather was so fine, and the statues and symmetry of the park were really amazing! We also did a little bit of exploration of the fortress around the docks - but it was your usual historical fortress.
The weather just did not cooperate like we expected. We were expecting hot 80's temperatures - but it remained in the 60's and 70's throughout the trip. We're already chatting about our next European Adventure. I really want a couple days in Paris and Amsterdam, but I think our next trip will be Italy and the Mediterranean. Our last sea day we spent most of the day in our cabin recovering from being out until 4AM with Martin and Karl. We did get their emails and address - so we can hopefully keep up on correspondence and maybe send them a card. We also have to send Carol, the Atlanta Professor some of our pictures from the dinner. I don't know how we're going to afford another Europe trip - but somehow - I think we'll find a way. This is my last entry in summary of our experiences. I've let Dave handle most of the commentary to date but I had to give my views.
Love to all - and we'll hopefully see you all soon.