Posts Tagged With: EU passport

London Bound is London Arrived!

London BoundI get on my last airline in 24 hours and am so grateful that it is because I don’t think I could go on a fourth and conserve even a modicum of saneness.  British Airways is flawless in its operation.  British Airways BA also excels in service.  The planes, however, show their age.  Lots more room is a plus.  But the leather seats are cracking and the overall feeling is that of an aging woman who tries no longer to fix herself up.   Miraculously I cannot keep my eyes open any longer and fall asleep for most of the hour and twenty minutes from Berlin to London.  London Map

At the airport again my custom protocol is incredibly painless with smiling agents and super helpful people.  I’m really enjoying being an española!  The EU passport is a blessing.  Thank you abuelito!  I was his favorite – or so I was led to believe – and with this gift of nationality I know that it was true.

And it seems they know I’m coming… the camera crew is here!  Oh, not me, huh?  Someone is holding a Phelps sign.  Could it be the swimming medalist they are waiting for?  No.  They wouldn’t need a sign.    Waiting for me?  But some things do welcome me to London.  Welcome to London       Welcome Too

Heathrow ExpressI take the Heathrow Express which is beautiful, new, clean, efficient and free to terminal 4 where we will reunite.  Heathrow Express Train     Heathrow Exp. Inside

I have to transfer and now I realize how huge Heathrow is.  Again, everyone is super helpful.

I go to the ladies’ room and the only reason why I mention it is because I had the most frightening of encounters.  There, staring at me unflinching is death worn over!  It cruelly stares me down.  No amount of make-up will fix this so I don’t try.  I put some lipstick on though, some mascara and look at the mirror again.  She hasn’t left, but this reflection does not reflect how I feel!  I don’t try any more and leave towards our meeting point Costa Café.

I pass an exchange place and do a double take.  Yikes, $1.79 will buy a British Pound.  How can it be more valuable than the Euro?   But it is.  Normally (when not going to an exchange place) I can buy a British Pound for $1.51 and a Euro for $1.29 Wow.

Costa CafeSo at Costa I buy an Emmental cheese and mushroom toasted sandwich, my first British tea, and a bottle of water.  8 pounds.   About $12 which is starting to sound reasonable to me.   Costa Meal

 

I need to plug my computer.  Running out of battery and I realize I have forgotten a very important thing: a plug adaptor for my electronics.  Will probably buy here at the airport otherwise will have to go running around town in search of, which I don’t want to do.

I also have tried to get internet and bought a Boingo Hotspot thing.  It didn’t work.  Mac doesn’t seem to like it or there is a conspiracy against me going on-line once more.  I almost welcome the disconnect.  Oh bullocks, as the Brits would say, I don’t.  I want to get on my mail, my Facebook, my online Klout. 🙂  I also learned another word on the plane today.  They are not potato chips, they are crisps.

I’m starting to not think straight again.  Dean’s plane has arrived I think half an hour ago and he still isn’t here.  Hope he gets here soon or I may curl up in this comfy sofa and close my eyes  and forget where I am.  Jet lag you are not welcome here!

4:45 and still no reunion.  I have the address of the flat we are staying in so I take the Heathrow Express to Paddington and from there have no energy left to find this place on my own so I take a taxi.  I ask for his phone and call the person that is renting us the place.   Leave him a message.  He calls back (on the cabbie’s phone) and will meet me at 6:00.  He’s there when I arrive.  Lets me in and I have the pleasant surprise of a charming flat.  Flat Living Room   Flat Kitchen   Bedroom Flat    Tutu finds his spot.  Tutu Shelf  Tutu Upfront

And as an extra good surprise I get an email from Dean saying that he has not found me at the airport and he is on his way.  Only a few minutes later we reunite.

Nice start to our Europe trip.

Categories: Heathrow, London, subway, United Kingdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Not London, Not Yet, Almost and Soon

 American Airlines, Chicago, airportAA (not Alcoholics Anonymous) leaves with a very tired me inside of it.  I hope to pass out and get some rest.  I don’t.  Flight is pretty full.  I am wide awake.  So I write and read and write again and land in Chicago.

Pilot mentions that it is windy in Chicago, which sounds about right.  Guess it’s appropriately named the Windy City.  35-40 mph winds give us a safe but rather bumpy ride.  Bette Davis and “fasten your seat belts we are in for a bumpy ride” in All About Eve comes to mind.

We have a delay in Chicago and I lose my Priority Access.  Both events unrelated but both highly important to me.  Air Berlin portion is next.  Air Berlin, Chicago O'Hare, Chicago airport  So I board with the rest and a lovely older woman sits next to me and I am immediately smacked by the smell of perfume.  So much so that I go to the male flight attendant and ask to please move.  He is extremely sympathetic but says there are only 3 empty seats and he will check if any are on the window.  He later comes back as I am fanning myself to be able to breathe and tells me that.  The lady is extremely sweet and asks me if I am hot and I decide to tell her I am highly sensitive to strong smells and her perfume is a bit much.  She says it’s her body lotion.  She is so sweet and friendly I automatically regret having said anything but I ask her to please not take offense but I will be fanning myself a bit.  She doesn’t take offense, understands, apologizes and we become friends.  I still can barely breathe though.

The service is amazing.  The flight attendant can’t do enough for me and as he passes by he checks on me every time to see if I’m okay.  I am.   But the seat in coach on Air Berlin is the smallest I have experienced even on domestic flights.  Almost to the point of claustrophobia.  I passed First / Business and it wasn’t much better. Review of AirBerlin in Life Live and Reviewed.

So I watch Hitchcock and am not that impressed.  The make up distracts me though it was nominated for an Oscar on that category.  Performance is great though.  I love Helen Mirren in anything and everything.  The sound on the entertainment system not the best so that reduces my enjoyment.  I watch videos, listen to music, watch a doco and don’t sleep much. 

We land in Berlin.  Tegel, Berlin airport, Air Berlin  I head towards the EU passport line and am greeted with a smile a good morning and a “gracias” from the official.  Best and easiest passport control I have ever experienced!

The airport is small though not quaint. Tegel, Berlin airport, Air Berlin  Air Berlin, Tegel, Berlin airport  Tegel, Air Berlin, Berlin airport  Everybody is uber nice and helpful except for the AirBerlin check-in woman who I ask where is the British Airways check-in counter.  She shrugs and says she’s AirBerlin.

We arrive at 7:00 am.  By 7:15 I am out of passport control, have picked up my bag and have found out where I have to go.  I try to purchase a pass for the lounge but can’t do it here so I buy a Red Bull and a pack of gum which costs me 5.95 Euros.  What?  I have just paid almost $9.00 for two non-nutritious items!  And they don’t take dollars.   I go to the exchange desk and give them $141 which gets me, after the 2% commission and 5 EU transaction fee and $1.41 dollars to a Euro, only $92!!  Okay, I really am in Europe now.

P1160930I go out and the temperature is a delightful 60 degrees F.  It doesn’t feel cold.  But then, I also have a coat on.

I’ve taken Tutu out so he can breathe a bit.  Tutu, koala  I swear I saw a twinkle in his eye and that I am forgiven for not taking him to Desert Hot Springs.  I put him in the side pocket and he elicits a smile from the security check.  He doesn’t see me seeing him smile.  I take him in my arms when they check my passport the control guy looks at me, at him and smiles.  Does he have a passport too?  A lady hears that and tells me that a woman traveling with a stuffed toy dog had a special passport around his neck and that when her passport got stamped, so did her dog’s “special” passport.  Don’t give me any ideas lady ’cause I just may do it and then I can’t fault anyone for finding me weird!

I love airports, I love traveling, I love, love the infusion of energy it gives me.  Or is it just the Red Bull working its effect?

 

Categories: Berlin, Germany, Tegel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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