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Archive for May, 2017

In May (I’m writing this a little after the fact), the wife and I took a trip to Cologne, Germany where I had a conference to attend. But before the conference, we were going to take a few days in eastern France in the Alsace region, which borders Germany. Historically this was a disputed region between the two countries. We were planning to wander around several small towns, and then perhaps also Strasbourg before heading up to Germany.

The plan was to fly direct from Seattle to the Frankfurt airport, rent a car, and then drive ~3 hours to the small town where we were staying. Then, we’d drive back the day before my conference to Frankfurt, and take the train up to Cologne.

The plan started off well. We don’t check any bags when we travel (if we can), and with our TSA pre-check we got through security in around 5 minutes. Then, we headed to the Alaska Airlines lounge where we hung out because we have a Passport card which gets us access to various lounges around the world.

It was pretty sweet.

And that’s when things started to go awry.

First, the airline we were traveling on – Lufthansa – delayed the flight. Then they delayed it again. And again. Finally, they announced that because the PA system on the plane was broken and they couldn’t fix it, they were cancelling the flight. We were now 3 or 4 hours later than our originally scheduled departure time.

We had to rebook.

We called up British Airways and got scheduled onto their next flight to London. We figured we’d catch a flight there, and then take a connection to Frankfurt. We had to reschedule our rental car at the Frankfurt airport and that took forever. We also had to recheck through security, but this timeĀ couldn’t use our TSA pre-check. The second time around through security (just heading back, rechecking in, and then getting back to almost the exact same gate) took an hour.

This time the plane took off on time, and we arrived in London just fine. Then we got on our connecting flight. But we learned about arrival that our next flight to Frankfurt was going to be delayed due to weather. And it got delayed again. And then we were going to get bumped. For you see, there were thunderstorms in the Frankfurt area that shut down the airport. So even when the airport re-opened, we were going to be delayed because all of the other planes whose flights were delayed would have to have their queues cleared.

And then there was no guarantee we’d even catch a connecting flight.

So we said “Forget it. How about if we cancel our reservations in France and just stay in central London for a few days?”

The wife and I talked it over, and we agreed. I looked up a hotel online and booked one using credit card points in downtown London, close to London Bridge. The wife cancelled the rental car and AirBNB in France, but surrendered some of the charges due to late cancellation.

Oh, well.

But London was neat. We wandered around the city for the first couple of days, checking out the bridges, the museums, some of the art galleries, and the Shakespeare Globe outdoor theater. The third day we went to Windsor Castle, and the fourth day we went to Kew Gardens which I had never heard of but thoroughly enjoyed.

The trip to London completed, and then we made it to Frankfurt. I was holding my breath because I didn’t want yet another cancelled flight. But it didn’t cancel, the weather was great, and we made it to Cologne. I went to my conference, while the wife wandered around the city.

And then we were done.

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