Today we had to wake up early in order to fly to Germany. Our flight was a 7am and our hotel was purposefully booked a short 10 minute walk from the terminal. We left the hotel at 5:50am missing any breakfast because we were too early. Upon arrival at the terminal we were greeted with the longest check-in line I’ve ever seen (and this is a small airport, like Sacramento). Mind you we had to check our baggage because of the way EasyJet handles carry-on bags. A sign said that baggage check for flight ends 40 minutes before departure, which meant we had 20 minutes to get through check-in and then 10 minutes to make security and run to the gate. At most small airports that would have been close, but doable.
After about ten minutes in a line that did not seem to be moving I was getting a little worried. Luckily, we found in both Copenhagen and London-Luton that when a flight is nearing departure if you’re at the back of the line you get to go to the front of the line. Little things like this are lessons I think we Americans could learn from the Europeans. Back home we would have likely missed the plane. Here our bags were checked and we then went past some great looking shops selling coffee and other breakfast foods we desperately wanted, but we needed to get to security.
At the top of the escalator I saw a line that made the check-in line look short. Imagine the largest high school gym you’ve been in, filled with a long snaking line of people splitting into about 10 security check points. Luckily it moved relatively quickly and after about 15 minutes we made it to a check point. Of course we did not make it smoothly through security. Darcy’s Kindle was chosen for bomb screening. It turns out there was a dime under the Kindle which creates a suspicious looking spot on the x-ray.
Up to this point most every airport worker we met was moving with purpose. The special bomb screeners had no such desire to move quickly. At one point I started stacking empty bins for the screener so that he spcould get on with screening our Kindle. Another 10 minutes and we made it through security and were off to our gate. At this point the true sprawling size of this tiny airport became known to us. Last call for our flight was announced over the loudspeaker as we rounded a corner where a sign came into view that told us our gate was 5-15 minutes away. Needless to say we went from walking at the speed of Peter (or too fast as Layla said) to running. We made the gate just a final boarding was announced again, proceeded out the gate and found ourselves boarding a shuttle bus that would take us to the plane. It waited a bout 5 minutes before it left to take us to the plane.
So maybe we hadn’t needed to run after all. Oh well, such is life. But after we boarded the plane and then proceeded to wait another ten minutes for another shuttle full of passengers I had really wished we had stopped for some coffee. The flight was only an hour and we had the price ledge of purchasing over-priced Starbucks VIA and muffins (which were actually tasty).
In Dortmund we were able to quickly collect our bags and proceed through both passport control and customs. When we left the terminal Ellen was waiting for us with a big welcome to Deutschland! Ralf drove us to Osnabruck where Ellen took us for a tour of her school grounds and the downtown portion of the city.
Later that night Ralf and Britta took us out into the countryside for a traditional German dinner of schnitzel. Layla got to see some animals at the farm, including this pony I’ve named El Loco Ponyo.
We really enjoyed this and the evening spent with them at their home on the back deck talking and translating our horrible German and their very good English.
More to come as we have time.