Well, folks, it appears we are off to an in-auspicious start for this European adventure.
But before I dive into the gory details of our extended stay at Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport yesterday, I should mention that I am joined on this trip by my good friend Dena Everman. Followers of my travels may remember Dena from our trip to Greece last summer. That trip was so much fun that we decided to repeat it again this year, including a stop in Rome on the way over.
With not much going on in the month of August this year, I thought, “why not stick around for a while and see more of Europe?” So, I made plans to stay on for another few weeks after Dena goes home and travel through Central Europe and Scandinavia.
Our original schedule had us departing Atlanta at 4:20pm on Wednesday on a direct flight to Munich arriving at 7:50am Thursday morning. We had planned on a full day of sightseeing in Munich before departing Friday morning for Rome.
Sounds almost too easy, right? Well, here’s how the day actually unfolded…
Wednesday, July 29th
12:30pm: Arrived super early at ATL for 4:20pm Delta flight to Munich
1:00pm: Seated at International “E” Concourse Sky Club – commenced drinking of champagne to celebrate departure
3:30pm: At gate, ready for boarding
4:30pm: Sitting on plane, ready for departure, when Captain announces mechanical problem with plane that will hopefully be resolved “shortly.” Am immediately struck by a feeling of dread.
5:30pm: Aircraft diagnosis – broken (and apparently mandatory) part will need to be replaced by new part driven in from shop that is not nearby.
5:30pm – 7:00pm: Wait for part
7:00pm: Part is here but declines a trip to Munich by not solving the problem. Plane is sick and even Obamacare can’t save it. Disembark aircraft.
7:15pm: Meal vouchers handed out. Re-directed to get food and proceed to T Concourse (as far as possible from current gate) to board new aircraft with, assumingly, all working parts.
7:30pm: Back in Sky Club for more champagne. Food is overrated.
8:30pm: Finally ready to board new aircraft at T concourse.
8:45pm: Sitting on plane, ready for departure. Awaiting catering and luggage on new aircraft. Captain announces we are now all engaged in a game of “beat the clock” with crew time. Have 45 minutes to get in the air or crew will “time out” and we will need a new one. Have decided I am tired of hearing from Captain.
9:30pm: We lose. New crew is called in. Disembark aircraft.
9:32pm: Now in T Concourse Sky Club. Thank God for champagne.
10:00pm: Sky Club closes. Booted back to gate to wait with rest of huddled masses.
11:30pm: Re-board aircraft for 3rd time with new crew. $200 vouchers given to all passengers to quiet growing discontent.
12:15am: Onboard again when new Captain announces new problem. Seems first on-call co-pilot was too tired (seriously) to come to work. Will take at least one more hour to find conscious co-pilot.
1:30am: New co-pilot arrives, seems alert. At this point we are not picky. If he is breathing, we will take him.
1:45am: Passenger morale reaches all-time low when German guy gets up to up to use bathroom just as aircraft is finally ready to push back. He is not heard from again.
2:15am: TAKE OFF
9 hours and 6 time zones later, we landed in Munich Germany at 4:30pm local time. By the time we made it to the hotel, it was 6pm. Since our entire day was gone, we made the best of things by showering, changing and heading out into the city to find a classic German brew house for some beers and brats. After a lovely walk through town, we ended up at the raucous Hofbrauhaus and scored a table in the middle of the action. Beer was great, food was questionable. We were too tired to care about the food so a good time was had by all.
Exhausted, we headed back to the hotel with grandiose plans of getting up at the crack of dawn to see some sights and take some pictures. Dena and I are both amateur photographers so we are determined to come home from this trip with lots of great shots.
Day 2 in Munich
Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate this morning and we awoke to a gloomy light rain. We gave up on that idea and went back to sleep for an hour before rallying to catch our 8:30am train to the airport.
We began our trip in Munich Germany simply because it was the cheapest ticket from Atlanta to Europe. Flights directly into Rome or Athens were much more expensive so we decided Munich would be fun for a quick stopover.
Of course, we didn’t expect it to be this quick! But at least we were able to salvage some of our day and see a little of Munich. My apologies for the severe lack of photos, I will do better in Rome, I promise. After a rocky start, we’re ready to make up for lost time…on to Rome!