As I said I would do in my what I got for Christmas post, I went to Germany and France for two weeks! My original plan was to do a daily post that detailed what I had done so far, and also share some pictures, but the days were so packed that this first post is starting after I got back! I will still do a daily post, but just not actually while it’s happening.
It was the beginning of the two weeks, and so far, it had been a wild ride! The first day had to do almost solely with traveling to Germany, the first place that we were staying. Technically, because my time zone is 9 hours behind where we were staying, this post covers the first two days!
The first thing that I did, of course, was pack for the trip the day before. Here is my suitcase, with a taste of what was in it. I was really excited when I learned that I could roll up items in my suitcase to be really small so I could make more room!
We all got suitcases that could fit in the carry-on compartment, not knowing that, on international flights, it is common for them to let you check your bags for free! I was a bit nervous about that, though. I was afraid, for some reason, because we had three flights in all and four different airports to go through, that the bags we checked would be more likely to get lost. But I was glad not to have to carry my suitcase with me everywhere!
Something else that I was worried about was the time. We were going on an hour flight to Seattle, then a 7 hour flight to Iceland, and lastly a 3 hour flight to Germany. All added up, with the layovers and time difference, it would mean that, if we didn’t get any sleep, we would all be awake for more than 24 hours straight. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never pulled an all-nighter before, and I didn’t want to start now, especially because we had a two-hour drive from the airport to get where we were going and we’d be meeting relatives later that night before we could sleep.
After around two hours of driving, we arrived to our first airport to fly on our first flight of the day, which was one hour. I will be honest; I was worried about takeoff before getting on the flight. I haven’t been on many plane rides as an older teenager/adult before, and my most recent one had been about four years ago. As we stepped onto the flight after having an early lunch, I felt a bit iffy and nervous. But once I got on the plane, I felt better. I felt us going faster down the runway, and finally the wheels lifting off the ground. Going through it wasn’t as nerve-wracking as the thought of it beforehand. I also kept telling myself every flight that the probability is higher that something bad will happen driving around in a car than flying in an airplane. I don’t remember where I heard that, and that statistic is probably skewed by the fact that you are in a car more in general throughout your life, but it was still helpful!
The flight was very short, so we barely got to cruising altitude before the descent happened. While we were descending, my left ear was fine, but my right ear began to hurt from the pressure. I tried chewing gum, but nothing seemed to alleviate the pain until we were all the way back on the ground and some time had passed. Only then, when I randomly would yawn, sometimes a few hours later, would my ear finally pop and be back to normal.
We landed in SEATAC in Seattle and we had to quickly get to our next destination, as the first flight had a small delay and we didn’t have much time. We were at the north terminal and we had to go to the south terminal, which is the furthest away that it could be, but there were these little subway trains that zipped you around the airport very fast! We had to ride about three or four, but I had never ridden a train like that before, so it was fun riding on them.
We had “dinner”. It was only around two hours later than lunch, but the problem was the 7-hour flight we were about to do didn’t serve dinner unless you paid for it.
The next two flights had TVs on the back of the seats, so those were useful for entertainment.
On the 7-hour flight, I played a coloring game meant for kids, but it was fun! I also watched Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and played a few games on my phone. I tried at some points to close my eyes and doze, but it was still light outside and my body didn’t feel that sleepy yet, although by the time we landed, the time of our body clocks was 11 p.m.
We landed in Iceland, which was exciting, as it was the furthest I had ever been from home. I didn’t get to see much of it, though. Coming off the plane was rainy and windy, and we went on a tram to go back to the main airport. There was one family that barely didn’t make it to the first tram, and had to wait extra in the wind and rain! I felt bad for them!
The Iceland airport had some sections under construction, and I’m assuming that’s why it was so crowded. There were many people and not that much seating, so we had to go scouting for a place to wait while hoping that people didn’t board without us knowing. Luckily, we weren’t too far away from our gate, but the intercom never called out anyone to board; we all of a sudden saw that people were lining up at our gate, so we followed, and people got on the plane without any rhyme or reason.
This was the last flight, which was three hours. This was the only flight that I fell asleep on, with my head in my hands bending over. My hands got numb and tingly from time to time from limited blood flow, but it was fine in the end. I slept on and off until there was one hour left in the flight, where I just hung out on my phone as much as possible. That’s when things began to go a little sour for me.
For some reason, on this flight, I was feeling more sick than usual. It was normal at this point in the day to feel a bit off, because it almost had been 24 hours with 2 hours of sleep at most and I hadn’t eaten since the 7-hour flight, but I was feeling especially strange. And I often get motion sick. So when the plane landed, I already was in a bad place. But then, while the plane was driving around to get to a place to unload passengers, it braked, and it braked hard. Everyone flew forward a bit, and luckily or unluckily, I was wearing a seat belt. The seat belt protected me from flying forward, but it also pushed on my already sensitive stomach. At that point, I felt like I could hold it together, but then the plane kept driving around. Maybe another minute passed. I began to feel worse, like it was inevitable, but I reasoned I could hang on until I got off the plane. And the plane kept driving. About another minute went by. Luckily there was a little paper bag left in the seat in front of me. I took it, opened it up, and got sick. It did make me feel better, but I was frustrated that it happened, on the last leg of the journey, when we were about to be done with it all.
After that ordeal, we got off the plane, happy to be done with traveling and also very tired. We went to the baggage claim and waited for our bags. And guess what? Our bags never came! We were waiting by the belt for about 30 minutes, and nothing was coming up. It was really frustrating to not have our bags after a long journey, and it really messed up a lot of the trip in the future! It was especially frustrating because that was what I was worried about all along, and it was realized.
We met our uncle at the airport, and went to get our rental car. It was a fine car, but the floor hadn’t seemed to be properly cleaned, which was pretty gross and unfortunate. But, on the bright side, driving to our destination in Germany was fun! We got to see different road signs and different car types, and it was fun to see the subtle differences. I will say, though, that the German countryside looks quite similar to the countryside where I live, so it didn’t look that different, but it was still really cool to be visiting another country so far away and so different for the first time!
The house we were staying at also looked very cool! I’m not a big fan of the more modern, minimalist design, which this house had, but it was still a very nice place to stay. At the house we were greeted by some of our family that lives in Germany, which was really nice. But it was also very tiring to stay up even more than the 24+ hours that we had already spent traveling. We ate pizza for another meal until about 8:00 p.m., which means it was about 11:00 a.m. at home, so it was the longest stretch of time with the least amount of sleep that I have ever had. Then, I went to bed. I forgot to mention that the luggage at this point was still lost, and we had earlier gone to the store and bought some necessities, so we had some pajamas and some clothing to wear.
Also, in the United States, it’s called TJ Maxx, but in other countries, it’s called TK Maxx! Cool!
And that is the end of day 1! It was quite an adventure for me, and I hope I don’t have to travel in a way that stressful again!
Happy baggage claiming!