Slow Start, Double Meaning.

15 Jun

Hello friends and family!

I realize I have been slow to update anyone about my travels but I worked so many hours/days since I got back that this is my first free opportunity to focus.

This post will be the introduction and end to my Europe travels, and by this I mean my struggles with air travel.

Day 1 (May 6th):  It’s the day we had been waiting for finally!  The day we leave from Lansing and arrive in the Netherlands.  We arrived at the airport nervous, yet confident about our trip.  It was a beautiful day outside as well, so how could anything go wrong?  Our plane was set to leave at 3:30pm.  We arrived early and got through security no problem and sat in the little tiny waiting area.  We talked to the people around us and were ready to go.  At about 3:15 we started wondering why there were no announcements and no planes.  We decided to start lining up by the gate hoping it would come soon.  About 10 minutes later I hear a women talking on her phone trying to rebook a flight, and she quickly takes a second to tell us that our flight has been completely cancelled.  CANCELLED?  We looked at each other in panic wondering how this could happen, when we decided to go to the front to see what is going on.  At about this time I receive a text message informing me of the cancellation.  The TV screens in the airport said the flight was still on time.  Go figure.  We are the 3rd in line and we over here the worker telling people there are no flights until the 10th.  FOUR DAYS!  He tells us the same and that we need to call United.  I proceed to stay on the phone for 2 hours while we manage to get my parents to come back to the airport, and I struggle to understand the man I am trying to work with to get us to Europe.  Finally we get a flight booked for the next morning.  Emotionally and physically exhausted, Rose and I spent the night at my place and drank a bottle of wine and hoped for a better day tomorrow.

Day 2 (May 7th)

We are now flying out of Detroit and arrive early and excited to go.  See how prepared we were this time?!

Image

We get through security sit at our gate, and we are informed our flight is delayed an hour or so.  Well that’s great since we were going to be stuck in DC for 6 hours, so why not here now?  Well, the plane gets delayed another hour, and then another, and then another.  They told us we should be fine but, good luck to us!  We met really great people though, a family called the Carty Party who said we could stay with them if we did miss the plane, and an adorable young couple from East Lansing.  We had just enough time once we arrive in DC to have a glass of wine and board our plane.

9 Hours Later it is the start of Day 3 which is to be continued in the next post…

Jump to Day 26 and Day 27 because I want to get the worst blog post out of the way right now and not revisit it at the end of all my fabulous life adventures.

Day 26th (May 31st)

I arrive at Stuttgart airport with my information in hand.  I had just printed it out the night prior, showing everything was good.  They go to enter my ticket numbers and information to give me my boarding pass, when they inform me that they have no record of me.  No, it was not as simple as that.  They could see my name, and they could see the paper that I gave them, but nothing was showing an accurate ticket number which means they cannot issue me a boarding pass.  I started to panic at this point when the man nicely said that his co-worker would make some phone calls and figure it out.  About 20 minutes later she waves me over and tells me that she has called Air Canada and they have no record either, and United does not as well.  Keep in mind I am flying with Lufthansa at this point but started my trip with United Airlines.  I said, “So what can I do to prove I have a ticket?”  She said she didn’t know and that I needed to contact my travel agent.  At this point I lose it and start panicking  even more, I start shaking and crying and I call my mom frantic to get Orbitz toll free number and any other information they might find in my email that I didn’t have with me.  Orbitz puts me on hold while I have 60 minutes before my flight departs.  I wait 30 minutes and head back up to the counter crying and asking if there is anything else they can do, that my travel agent is not doing anything for me and that I am going to miss my flight.  The women does all the she can, makes a ton of phone calls, and finally says that her supervisor is waving me through for my flight to Frankfurt but that I still don’t have a ticket number.  I now need to get a ticket number that works from United since United lost all of my information from the change in my original flight.  I rush to catch my flight, which is delayed 30 minutes, leaving me only 1 hour from when we land in Frankfurt for me to get a ticket so I can get a boarding pass and catch my flight.

I arrive in Franfurt with a text from my Mom who has been on the phone with Orbitz, Air Canada, Lufthansa, and United trying to figure out what has happend.  It says go to Air Canada and show my confirmation number and that should work.  Well it didn’t.  They again told me that had no ticket number for me, called their supervisors and try to figure it out.  In the mean time, I am again waiting, making phone calls, crying, talking to airline workers, and after another 1.5 hours, the flight starts boarding when I realize I am not making this flight and I am now stranded in Frankfurt.  They tell me they are sorry and that I need to go to talk to a United worker.  I go through this huge airport, go to the United desk only to find out they are closed for the night (at 6pm) and will not be back until morning.  I continue to talk with my mom and I inform my Aunt Rosie that she may need to come and drive 2 hours to rescue me.

A lady from Orbitz calls me and asks to talk to an Air Canada worker, which is nowhere around where I am at so I ask if Lufthansa is okay?  I start walking over to this guy when the phone drops.  I apologize to the man, explain that this lady wanted to talk to him (sounds a little crazy) and I proceed to start with, “I know there is nothing you can do, but I might as well tell you what is going on and why she wanted to talk to you.”  So I tell him everything that I have went through, the story of all my messed up air travels from May 6th, 7th, and today.  He makes a few calls, writes down a few things, and tells me I have a flight for tomorrow and a hotel with a $20 food credit for the night.

WHAT?!?!  Amazing!  The only catch is that United is still at fault, so I need to in the mean time, work out how to get a ticket number that works from United.  I feel so relieved yet worried for working with United over the phone and my looming cell phone bill.

The hotel was super nice, dinner was a buffet so I totally got to eat dessert, and I got to finally relax.  Breakfast was also awesome.  That night at 12am I got a call from Orbitz and United to work out the final details.  After another hour, I was given good news that I would be provided with a ticket number at the airport from United.

Day 27 (June 1st)

I arrive super early, get in line for United and I am told once more that they have nothing, “but oh, wait, let me read this really quick, ” says the lady.  I say “YES!  Please DO read it, CAREFULLY!”  One minute goes by and she says we can get you a ticket, just one minute.  OMG YAY.  Finally what I wanted to hear.  I go to Lufthansa they get me a ticket, and I now know I am on my way home!

I ate tasty food on the plane, had an emergency exit row, and got lots of free wine!

I tried to end it with a positive note.  So, I won’t talk about my lost luggage since I got it back only one day late :-).

Please stay tuned for MUCH better stories and pictures!

Packing-Attempt #1

5 May

We leave in one day, yay!  That is of course if I can manage to pack all my stuff up!  I envy Rose’s enormous rolling duffle, but I also feel bad for her because it is almost the size of her!

Image

That is what I WANT to take…

 

In this…

Image

 

This is what it looks like almost full…

Image

 

Sadly, this is still what is left over!

Image

 

That is a dilemma.  Today I will be trying to cut back a little bit, and see what I can manage to shove in my carry-on.  I may need to upgrade my carry-on from a hand bag to a small rolling suitcase.  Wish me luck!

This may be my last post before I am on the road, so I will try to update while I travel!

Our Wonderful Hostels

23 Mar

The Netherlands

Sorry, I cannot share where we are staying since it is with Yvonne and her family!  I do not have a picture of their home, but that is where we shall be.

France

Paris- We are staying in the Montmartre District, yay for Artist’s and Hippies!  Refer to the movie Amelie for more images of Montmartre!

This is Montmarte with a view of the Sacre Coeur (we have a view from our hostel!)

This is our hostel:  Le Village Hostel

Nice-  Our quick time to relax by the beach!

Our Hostel:  Hostel Meyebeer Beach

Italy:  We are now switching our plans to Verona and our Hostel is yet to be determined!
Germany

Munich- We (Rose and my 2 cousins) will be staying at my cousin Markus’ friends apartment!  This weekend will be interesting since the UEFA champions league finals will be held while we are here.  This event caused us to be unable to find any reasonable priced accommodations.  Thank goodness for family!

Satteldorf-  I again have no images but we will be staying at my Aunt Rosi’s house next for a few days!  Can you say, laundry?!  This will by far be our best accommodations I am sure!

Berlin-  This may be our 2nd best accomodation!

We are staying in the Mitte District (the historical center), right next to East Berlin

Our Hostel:  BaxPax Downtown Hostel/Hotel

First, we splurged and got ourselves a studio to ourselves!  Yes!  That means, we can cook for 2 and avoid German food if possible!

But the POOL is definitely the coolest part of this hostel

After that…

Rose has to leave and I shall continue to…

South Tyrol

And then return back home just in time for the pool to open, and full time work to begin!!!  (And no $$$$)

8 weeks!

7 Mar

Today marks the official 2 month mark before our departure!

Basically, I am super excited yet I feel super unprepared….although I am trying to cope with this and just wing it as much as I can.

Our plans have changed a bit but I guess I won’t update them yet until more details have been solidified.  Right now we have booked both of our hostels in France (Paris and Nice).  We’ve also shortened our trip in Nice to visit Italy for 2 days since we just couldn’t say no!

We are also, SOO looking forward to seeing our friends and family on the trip as well!

I also bought a travel backpack that I am TRYING to use instead of luggage…but we will see if this holds true.  It is really small, but if I only pack dresses and tights then it might be successful.  Again, we will see.

PS: Rose managed to get us some truffle oil from Becky who traveled with us last year in Italy, and whom took the trip again this year!  So in the next few weeks we are going to make an authentic Italian feast full of truffle flavor!!!  Yum yum!  Pizza or pasta?  I’m thinking both.

PSS: I hope the temp is warm enough in Nice and Genoa so that we can decompress on the beach for 4 days mid trip.  Please send us good thoughts in regards to this!

PSSS: My travel shoe collection is working out quite nicely thanks to the thrift store I work at.  I may even dangle a pair of my shoes outside my backpack since they were only $1.50.

PSSSS: Good night.

We won’t be working on the railroad all the live long day…just riding it

29 Jan

I think I am trying to set a record for longest Blog Titles on WordPress.

I’d like to start off by telling everyone how lovely a day I had today.  Besides the fact that I am sick (which sucks), I was able to have a delightful reunion lunch with my Palleschi gang (except for Brenna)  that I befriended while in Italy almost one year ago.  This is worth mentioning, since without Italy…this trip would not be happening.  I may have dreamed of this trip happening, but I would not know Rose right now, so the trip would only be dream.

Speaking of dream:  You all do not know the story of how this trip came to be!!  I am going to tell this story wrong since I don’t remember specific details, but it will still sound like I am truthful!  Only Rose knows the REAL truth!!

One day, maybe on August 13th, or whenever Brenna got married, Rose came to my home and I made her coffee and muffins.  She brought me a frying pan with Giraffe print as a belated birthday gift!  So unexpected!  We giggled and talked and then made our way to Brenna’s wedding.  At some point during this day, a sad story was told.  Rose was supposed to have gone to Ireland with her friend, but her friend was no longer able to go!

I told Rose, “Oh, know!!  I am so sorry!  Can I go to Europe with you?!”  

Rose exclaimed, “Oh my gosh, of course, lets do it!”  

I said, “Are you for real?  Like, would you really go to Europe with me?  Because I will commit if you commit!”  

Rose says, “Definitely, I totally will!”  

I said, “Are you for sure, for sure?  Because I know that sometimes we say things but can’t really do it.  I have wanted to go so many places before but never had a friend to rely on.”  

Rose, “I will for sure do it!  You can rely on me Annaliese!”

 

Thus it began.

Back to present day:  After we had lunch, Mackenzie and Jessica departed while Rose and I shuffled over to B24s to coffee and internet it up.

Our plan:  To first confirm the dates that we will be at each destination, and then to figure out the times we want to travel by train.  This was a success and here are our results!!!

  • May 7th: We arrive in Amsterdam and spend 3 wondrous days with our Dutch friends!!!
  • May 1oth: We travel from Amsterdam to Paris and spend 4 days in magnificent Paris!!! We hope to spend some of our time there with our friends Kerry (Rose’s roommate who also happens to have their own Eurotrip in progress and whom lands in Paris/Nice the same time we are!) and Kelsey.
  • May 14th: We travel from Paris to Nice and spend 3 days here, with a possible side trip to Cannes where we shall soak in the sun off the coast of the Mediterranean Sea (at least we are hoping for sun!).
  • May 17th:  We start our long journey to Germany with a one day side trip.  We shall leave Nice and arrive in Lyon for one night.
  • May 18th: We will depart Lyon at 6am AHHH, transfer in Strasbourg where we have a 3.5 hour transfer so we hope to quickly explore around the train station before we leave for Stuttgart.  We shall arrive in Stuttgart at 15:04 aka 3:04pm where I have invited myself to stay 2 nights at my Aunt Rosie’s house. **Note to Aunt Rosie, this is the confirmed date that we will arrive at your place**
  • May 20th: We will depart Stuttgart and make our way to Munich where we shall waste away our time in Biergartens during the day.  Well, maybe just one day.
  • May 23rd:  From Munich we are off to Berlin!  Poor Rose is going to be forced to party late with me on Friday, right before she departs the next morning!  She will have plenty of sleep time on the plane.  It will be a practice for the jet lag we are going to suffer from.
  • May 26th-31st:  I am free, no plans…sooo that means Markus, Sandra, and Aunt Rosie:  All or at least one of you should plan something with me…otherwise I will be forced to travel by myself somewhere.  I am thinking either Prague or Salzburg…but I am open to other suggestions.  Maybe an additional night in Berlin?!
And that is all until next time…  Next on the agenda: Paris Hostels

It’s OFFICIAL

14 Jan

This blog officially has a purpose!  I mean, it did prior to tonight…but now it really has a purpose.

Our airfare is PURCHASED!  I didn’t choose the easiest flight, but the price was right.

We will be leaving the US on Sunday, May 6th and arriving in Amsterdam.  I will be flying back home on May 31st out of Stuttgart.

Rant time:  How is it that airfare gets cheaper based on flight schedules that don’t make sense?
Example:  We fly out of Lansing, and arrive in Chicago and from Chicago we go to Amsterdam…so we are going out of the way to get there.  Yet it is cheaper than just flying out of Chicago.

Rose and I both will get to experience travelling by our lonesome in airports too.  Definitely not the most exciting experience of this adventure, but it is still an experience!

Sorry this entry is boring, yet exciting!  I am tired…more updates to be added at a future date.  Next on the list: Rail passes.

Round 1, Check

21 Dec

So last night Rose and I had a 4 hour hang out/planning session and it went splendid!!  We will book our airfare in January and then start booking our hostels and purchase our EuroRail Passes.

Here is our rough itinerary:

  • Fly in to Amsterdam, and spend 4 days with friends in the Netherlands
  • Travel to Paris and spend 4 days here
  • Travel to Nice and spend 2-3 days here
  • Possible one day side trip to Lyon before arriving in Nice OR a one day side trip to Geneva before entering Germany
  • Travel to Stuttgart, Germany to visit my family for one night
  • Travel to Munich and spend 3 days here
  • Travel to Berlin and spend 3 days here
  • Say Goodbye to Rose and then I get to figure out the rest of my travels with myself or my family.

Now we will focus on choosing the hostels that sounds the best and the sights we want to see.  We will for sure see:

  • The Eiffel Tower
  • The Louvre
  • Notre Dame
  • Anne Frank House
  • A beach on the Mediterranean Sea
  • Old Town

MUCH more to be determined…

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.