[Categories: TRAVEL, PHOTOGRAPHY, EUROPE, WWII]
[See recent previous posts for what this trip was about. I’m posting from a laptop now. ‘Hopefully’ this will be easier than I found my iPad2 to be.]
…what jet lag? Oh, THAT jet lag! After a customer endorsement at our local luggage store prior to our departure m’lady and I tried No-Jet-Lag both leaving and returning on our trip. There were no side effects. Did we arrive at either destination feeling as fresh as a bloomin’ daisy? Uhh, not quite.
Could we have followed instruction more closely? (No alcohol, less food, take without food.) Yes.
I’ve heard traveling east was more difficult with the time zone changes. We survived though I think nothing can replace that ‘I think I’ve been traveling quite a few hours’ feeling. We arrived in Amsterdam mid-late morning, took the train into the city for a walk-around that evening, and were sufficiently conscious to get into the city again early the next day for our visit to the Anne Frank House. All in all not too bad.
In addition to the extended time travel it is always a little confusing as to when and where we will go through passport control and/or customs.
Leaving Prague for Denver at the end of our vacation was a breeze. We were at the huge, empty Vaclav Havel Airport Prague about 7am for our 10:10am flight. We checked in for business/first class at United partner airline Lufthansa through an empty priority line. (All lines were near-empty at this time.)
Afterward we snacked on the free breakfast boxes given to us by the hotel and went through the business priority security line. Passports checked and then through a security line for carry-on security check. You can leave your shoes on. No probs. We lounged in the business airline lounge until departure.
Frankfurt was a bit more chaotic. Much busier at our mid-day arrival. We have 1 hr 25 min before departure to CHI. We go through passport control for a check but do not have to do security for carry-ons again. (It seems like we did on a trip to Italy awhile back but that was flying from Genoa to Munich and on to the States. Can’t recall.)
The United gate FRA-CHI is a zoo. We get in our boarding line but are advised by others that we need to see a gate agent at one of the many little stands nearby for a boarding pass sticker. The agent gives us the drill on carry-ons, all packed and in our possession since we left, etc etc. No probs, we get our stickers, and go back in line.
The agents are roaming, reminding new gate arrivals that they must do the same. Definitely a zoo. Crowded, most people are speaking American for a change, we finally board the 777, get settled in Business Class, and depart.
What did we bring back from Europe, besides a worse case of jet-lag than going over? Precious little that wasn’t a gift.
We start taking our no-jet-lag pills prior to departure and every 2 hours thereafter on the 9+ hour flight to Chicago.
We awoke around 5am Sat. in Prague, or 9pm Fri. in our Denver destination. On the flight I read, watch a decent movie (Hitchcock starring Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansen, and Jessica Biel) and a really really bad movie (Gangster Squad starring Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, and Nick Nolte). (I’m convinced good actors will do anything for a paycheck. I suppose I would also.)
By the time of our 3pm arrival in Chicago we have been awake 17 hours so far. Chicago is the most fun (?) of our international transit. We go through passport control. No prob except I have the required customs declaration and m’lady doesn’t so she has to fill one out because ‘we aren’t married’. Oughta’ be a law.
After passport control we pickup our checked baggage and walk past customs control where they can be inspected if necessary. They aren’t and we drop them off on the other side to be put on our next plane.
We take an airport train shuttle from our international arrival terminal to our Denver departure terminal. We have to go through TSA security all over again. Time-consuming but not a prob as we’ve allowed plenty of time between flights for this possibility. After clearing we go the United Club to wait for hour flight to Denver. The lounge is seemingly un-cooled or ventilated and hot, hot, hot. We are verrrrry groggy from encroaching jet lag.
What else did we bring back from Europe?
We finally arrive in Denver around 9:30-10pm, some 24 hours after we awoke to start our return. We are groggy, stupified, ozoned, spaced, numb-struck and dumb-struck. I’m awake, but more like a walking-dead zombie.
We get the car and drive the 40 final miles home. It is horrifying. M’lady is talking to me and trying to engage me in conversation to keep me awake, though she would be no better driving than I. I don’t go off the road or even hit the bumpy alert strips along the side. It is still horrifying. We make it. We go to bed after all that travel.
We probably get 3+ hours of sleep before we are awake again in the wee hours of the morning. Sunday is a so-so day with recovery slowwwwly creeping up on me. Monday is better, though sleep was not that great Sun-Mon. M’lady is groggily preparing for a business trip back to Chicago that day. Gotta’ love it.
I will probably try the pills again. Someday I must really research this jet lag thing. It’s terrible.