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24 Hours, 4 Airports, 3 Airplanes, One Train, 2 Cars, and 3 Languages Later, I Made It!

Victoria to SeattleMy travel day started out with very little stress, until we were about 20 minutes from the airport and the highway was closed due to a fatality accident. Traffic was inching along the little farm road detour and after
20 minutes I started stressing that I would be late for checkin for my flight. But in the end we still made it with enough time for a caesar before I went through security.

Victoria > Seattle

The flight to Seattle was fairly bumpy but quick. I had about an hour and a half before my connection to Paris and went to see if I could get a better seat for the flight. The lady said there were over 100 empty seats on the plane so I asked if it was possible to upgrade but she said, “only if you want to pay the upgrade fee,” so I ended up with a window seat with the whole row to myself. Perfect! And she also gave me my boarding pass for my connection in Paris to Amsterdam.

The sunset between Seattle and ParisVodka Training for Russia

Seattle > Paris

The plane boarded quickly, since there weren’t many passengers, but then we sat on the tarmac for an hour while the tower updated the route and the aircraft computer reloaded the changes. Finally we were on our way.

The flight was long (9.5 hours). I’m not great at sleeping on planes, so I watched a couple of movies and caught up on some vodka training in preparation for Russia, and then dozed off for a while.

Paris > Amsterdam

Quatchi Travels to ParisSo as I write this I’m sitting at Gate 33 at Paris Charles de Gaule airport. I’m not supposed to be here. I’m supposed to be on a flight to Amsterdam. Although we made good time from Seattle, by the time we landed I only had 30 minutes to get to my connection. I RAN!

The gate was on the complete other side of the airport. I had to take a train to get to another terminal. Then I had to pass through security again, where the ladies took their sweet time running the X-ray machine, sipping coffee as they worked, and then they separated out my purse for a rand check. When I finally got through, I continued running only to be stopped again for passport control. Thank goodness there was no lineup and the guy was super quick, and I was off running again!

I had to get to F35. I was at F1. You have got to be kidding me! So I ran some more, weaving in and out between people. Yup, I was “that guy.”

When I finally got to the gate, sweaty and out of breath, I handed them my boarding pass. The 3 ladies there just chattered away in French holding my boarding pass as I stood there with only 10 minutes until departure. They were talking about something completely unrelated to me getting on the plane. When I asked what was going on, they said nonchalantly, “Oh, the gate is closed. You will have to rebook with customer service over there,” pointing to a desk not far away.

So I did all that running for nothing. Blah.

So I was able to rebook on a flight two hours after my original flight with extra leg room at the emergency exit, and they gave me a voucher for a snack and a (non-alcoholic — boooh) drink. The plus side? Even airport bread in Paris is freakin delicious! I found a tasty organic raisin baguette with brie, mmm! So good!

So here I sit, at Gate 33, waiting for my flight to Amsterdam. Boarding in half an hour… Hopefully the remainder of the journey is uneventful.

UPDATE: Amsterdam > Utrecht

20140212-115943.jpgThe flight to Amsterdam was only about 45 minutes and even arrived a bit early. My next worry was whether my luggage had made it to my rebooked flight as well as whether my ride from the airport was still able to pick me up. Luggage: yes! (Phew!) Ride: no.

So with no ride, my journey wasn’t quite over and I had to hop on a train from Schiphol to Utrecht. It’s about a half hour train ride. It was rush hour, so lugging my bags onto the train was a challenge in itself, not to mention staying awake not to miss my stop. But it all worked out.

I arrived to Utrecht Centraal to my aunt’s welcoming face and was relieved that after a quick 10 minute drive, I would be “home”, and I could sleep. And the best part was that my official Paralympic media accreditation badge was waiting for me when I arrived! Yay!

So 24 hours, 4 airports, 3 airplanes, 1 train, 2 car rides, and 3 languages later, I made it! : )

… Stay tuned as the adventure continues in two days when I make the final trek to Sochi, Russia!



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