Blogs: Richard Weber
Friday, March 14, 2014
We began our day with a scheduled 5 a.m. departure of our hotel in Ireland, with backward planning for a shower and quick packing of hygiene items it meant getting up and moving about 4 a.m. I was up at 3:45 showered, dressed, and out the door of the room at by 4:15. Having noticed earlier in the week that the McDonalds’ Restaurant ended service at 5 a.m.; I determined I would start my day with a burger for breakfast. The restaurant was filled with a mix of folks - tourists to local college students all finishing their evenings . The restaurant was trashed with discarded food and wrapper littering floors and tables. I got my double quarter meal to go and headed back to the hotel to be on the bus at 5 a.m.
The bus left on time and headed for the airport through a progressively thickening fog as we approached the airport. Once unloaded we headed inside, checked in at the ticket counter, checked our luggage, then headed through security; I was detained briefly at the security area as they wanted to check the chemicals that were in my shampoo bottle. After the test was complete we walked through the terminal to the gate. The Dublin Airport is odd in that once you leave the center concourse you cannot return to the dining and shopping area. This is done through the use of one-way automatic doors. So now penned into our terminal we waited for our boarding call only to hear the flight was being delayed due to visibility bein only 200 meters and the pilot later explained they safety mark is 900 meters of visibility. We began boarding the plane two hours after the originally scheduled departure time. We boarded and the were told we are not leaving quite yet because the fog is only just starting to lift but with an hour of flight time we should be able to leave shortly. Twenty minutes later we were able to finally take off.
We landed in London, England’s City airport not knowing the status of our next plane as it too was delayed coming in to London. So we made our way through another oddly configured airport and quickly went to the gate as the next leg of the journey which was to fly to Italy was boarding all ready, according to the departures boards at the airport. Arriving at the gate it was a much different story, a room about 15 feet across and thirty feet in length was the seating area the quickly filled with confirmed ticketed passengers for the flight. After all the passengers were checked-in at the gate we were then given the message to walk across the tarmac to load on the plane. We were off the ground again this time for a three hour cross-Europe jaunt to Italy. The flight ended and we transitioned from the plain to the bus. Our driver for this leg of the trip was put-off by the delays and had been waiting at the airport for us to arrive for a couple of hours. We eventually made it to the hotel and were able to go to our rooms. For dinner we ate a pasta dinner followed by a second course of chicken with cheese. Then we walked around town mostly as a group until we returned to the hotel at about 10 p.m.
After some phone calls home via Skype, using a local unsecured access point which did not belong to the hotel, and some personal hygiene it was time for bed; a long day, around 20 hours by the time it was all said and done.