Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Europe Trip, Part 1: Getting There

Let the recaps begin! I am going to be blogging the trip in pieces over the next few weeks. I have a gazillion photos and it's hard to pick which ones to post! But let's begin...today's post is about our first day of travel...it's wordy and long! That's your warning!

We live in Virginia, but we drove to Philly to catch our flight to Europe. We found great prices flying out of Philly since it houses a main hub for US Airways (big mistake...I would not book an international flight with them again). We have good friends who live in Philly, so we parked by their apartment and they watched our car for the two weeks we were there which allowed us not to pay for parking.

My handsome husband waiting for our taxi to the airport...

In the cab...

Our flight was at 6:50 and we arrived at the airport at 4:45. We walked into the US Air international departures and found a line that was wrapped so far back you couldn't even see the counter. It appears that US Air books all of their international flights between 6 and 7 pm. We stood in line for close to an house and fifteen minutes before we finally got to the check in desk where we handed over our luggage.

We were a little confused because we only had one set of boarding passes and we had a layover in Amsterdam. We had no tickets from Amsterdam to Geneva. It was here that the lady behind the desk told us that we'd get our tickets at our gate in Amsterdam. Wonderful, we thought....turns out she was way wrong, but I'll get to that later!

At this point it was 6 and our flight was about to start boarding. We stood in the security line, got through with no problems, and picked up some food to eat on the plane (I was rather iffy about airline food). By the time we got to our gate, they had already boarded most of the passengers. As we were walking onto the plane, J realized that our seats were not together. Lovely. We booked our tickets together and requested seats when we booked. So much for that. There was a nice guy on J's row who offered to switch with me, which made me so thankful. All of my books, contact case, food....it was all in J's backpack which would have meant me walking up and down the aisles all night. Thank goodness this nice guy switched with me! We had dinner, watched Dear John (so cheesy) and I got a few hours of sleep in.

My dinner...

Our flight was bearable, but not wonderful. We had a lot of people on the flight who spent a lot of the night walking around and bumping into seats, which meant very little sleep.

Once we were in Amsterdam, we made a dash through the HUGE airport. We had to go through immigration and get our passports stamped (this was my first!). We got to our gate, and the lady working told us we should have stopped at a transfer counter to get our boarding pass. Lovely...this was not what the woman in Philly said to do. The reason we needed to stop at a transfer counter after leaving our first flight was because they can't move your luggage until you've picked up your next ticket. She said this could result in delayed luggage. Fabulous!

Our flight to Geneva was easy and painless. We got our first taste of European chocolate on the plane (a major boost to my mood!).

After an easy landing, we had made it to Switzerland, our ultimate destination. WOO! We quickly found out though that my bag did not make it to Switzerland. BOO! We had to go to the baggage office, file a claim, and the helpful woman at this airport was quickly able to inform us that my bag had been left in Amsterdam. We weren't totally surprised, based on what happened in Amsterdam, however, it was odd that J's bag made it and mine didn't. We'll never know! We decided to just stick around the airport for 3 hours and wait for my bag instead of hopping on the train for Bern, which was our initial plan. We decided that we'd just catch a later train.

Here's J with his bag...notice the big smile...

And here's me with my purse...my only possession at this point...

But then we bought a croissant and I slept for a little bit, and all was well in my world...

Just as promised, my bag came 3 hours later, right on time. We headed to the train station, which was connected to the Geneva airport (so convenient!) and hopped on our train to Bern. I was so happy to have my bag again!

The train, just as everyone had told me, was so nice and clean and relaxing! And we had so much space compared to the plane. This train happened to be pretty much empty in our car. It was us and 2 other men. We were so happy to have some peace after spending the past 24 hours in airports and full planes.

We made it to Bern (finally!), found some dinner near our hotel which I took zero pictures of, then we crashed. Our first day of travel wore us out!

Up next....Bern, Switzerland!


  1. Yay for the first Euro trip recap! :)

    Good thing they found your bag quickly!

    PS- That train looks about 10x nicer than the Italian trains!

  2. As they say, half the fun is in getting there, haha!! Can't wait to hear more!! :)

  3. Ughh...what a crazy first day of travelling! I'm sure it gets more fabulous from here..can't wait to hear all about it!

  4. Ughh...what a crazy first day of travelling! I'm sure it gets more fabulous from here..can't wait to hear all about it!

  5. I'm glad you were able to wait for your bag. What a horrible trip that would have been without it! Can't wait to read more.

  6. I'm excited for all these recaps! So far US Airways sounds lovely - ugh!

  7. I can not wait to read more!! I can't believe all the craziness you had just getting there--but hey, if it was boring then the story wouldn't be as interesting and fun to tell! LOVE J's hat!

  8. Yay! Glad you got your bag the same day!

  9. So glad they were able to get your bag to you quickly! Can't wait to see more of your trip!

  10. good gracious! you had quite the time getting over there!

    can't wait to see more of your recaps. catching up now!