05 July 2010

Europe - Part 1

Well, there is no guarantee that there won't be 10 "parts" to our 12-day experience in Europe.  There were so many things that happened (both good & bad), and most of them are "news-worthy", so I'll do my best to give the most accurate description of our travels.  I hope you don't get bored on our journey...if anything, I hope you enjoy the pictures.  It was quite a trip...so for those of you all that live far away, that haven't heard much about it...I'm doing this for you!  :)

Day 1--Sunday, June 13th
St. Louis & Chicago, USA

This is the day that was longer. than. you. can. IMAGINE!
Our group of 45 got stuck in St. Louis...that's right. We hadn't even left on a single plane, and we had no idea what was in store for us. This is the first thing we saw:
That's right...we were the first flight delayed to Chicago!  This caused us to miss all of our connections, and our group was quickly separated.   We were all so happy...a group of teenagers stuck in an airport, waiting for American Airlines to "do something" about our flights, in Chicago. Look for yourselves:
When we finally got word...we had to run!  17 of us were headed to Germany, and the other 28 we flying "standby" to London.  Needless to say, I was in the group that got to experience Germany "at it's best".
Now, the flight was probably the most memorable flight I've been on in my life! On the flight to Germany, I met a guy named Seth. Seth was a soldier headed to Afghanistan, and let's just say...he was "not in his right mind". By this, I mean...he was already waaay past drunk when I met him, and he was high as well.  You get my drift....this kid was completely wasted!  The mother of one of my students (who was sitting directly in front of me on the plane) was the lucky gal who got to sit beside Seth.  If you can imagine...the next 2 hours would be full of Seth: air-drumming, sharing ear buds, yelling to his friend about 5 rows up, talking to everyone loudly, taping his feet, laughing, and so forth. It was quite a site, let me tell you.  

So, Deb (the mother of my student), being the motherly-type, listens to him, asks him questions, and is a bit fascinated in this character.  She is listening to his music, putting up with his air-drumming, and his yelling...and every now and then, she'd tell him to quiet down.  She was a trooper!  Then came dinner time.  By this time, Seth had quieted down a bit, and was getting tired.  His drumming was smaller, and he wasn't as loud.  He ate on his stomach...the flight attendant even showed him how to use the fold-down tray.  But, Seth, being as crazy as he was...wanted to just use his own belly.  Now...Set was all of 100 pounds, I bet.  Deb was not as small.  After dinner, this is what we saw:
Very picture worthy, eh?  Yes, Seth was completely passed out!  Every now and then, he'd wake up and "fluff" Deb's arm...as if it was his own pillow.  It was hil-arious!!!

So...this now takes us to Day 2:
Frankfurt, Germany 

This was nor part of our original itinerary.  We had not planned on going to Germany. But, once we found out we could get another stamp in our passport...we were excited.
However, the excitement didn't last for too long.  Once we arrived in Germany, we quickly found out that we only had 5 confirmed seats to Athens, Greece. Our group had a total of 17 passengers.  So, I went along with Misha, another teacher, to go sort things out...don't we look like we're having a GREAT time?
Well, that is me laughing...yes. However, what the picture doesn't tell you...is this was the third time we'd visited the Lufthansa airline desk...it was so crazy!!  After 6 hours of going from the American Airlines desk to the Lufthansa desk, only to do it 3 more times...we finally got tickets for everyone!  We were in 2 different groups...but we all had confirmed seats to get to Greece!

So, what did we do in the meantime?  While we waited for yet another departure?  We ate, of course! For our "trouble"...American gave us vouchers, each valued at 22 Euros each.  That is about $30 worth of food for each person.  So, here are a few things we ordered...hot dog, potato salad, drinks, dessert platters, etc.

We arrived in Athens, at midnight on the 3rd day!!!  Stay tuned for our adventures in Greece.  Don't worry...things get better (and a bit worse, too).