We journeyed and journeyed, and over the rivers and through the woods, crossing oceans, and mountains. We took an airplane. And then drove a car. Eventually, exhaustively, we landed in our new land.
Ready for take off!
We traveled from LAX, through London on an 11 hour overnight flight, and then on to Frankfurt. The flight to London was actually not as painful as I had anticipated with 3 kids and a baby. We flew British Airways and I will always try to fly them again. It was one of the most pleasant flights on which I have ever been. Truly, it was like those airplane scenes in movies where the rows are unrealistically spacious, and the flight attendants are attractive, and the food is appetizing. Well, pinch me! I'm no stranger to air travel. It's a necessary evil sometimes to get from point A to point B, but this felt like I was flying in a movie, and our super attractive, err...attentive flight attendant was none other than the super handsome Clive Owen, or at least he could have been his twin. Except our flight attendant might have been just a tinge more dreamy, with just the perfect brand of British accent. You know the kind where they address every female as "love" and it's not the least bit offensive. I'm pretty sure it would be impossible for any words to find offense that were delivered by way of his polished and polite manner of speaking. But I digress. I should just say, his attentiveness and charm made a flight with a crying baby who was unable to sleep at all, feel like one of the most pleasant flights to date. He even had Scott smitten.
Scott taking a turn with the baby.
Good thing we got that basinet! She wanted nothing to do with it!
The kids breakfast is also the British breakfast specialty: Beans, sausage, canadian bacon, mushrooms, eggs, onions, roasted tomato, and toast. Wakey wakey little one, you have a feast of children's favorites.
Shortly after our early breakfast, they will open the window covers and it will actually be about 4pm and almost sunset. Get ready to be time screwed for the next 3 weeks.
When we missed our connecting flight because the plane, which arrived early, sat on the tarmac for 45 minutes, our amazing flight attendant personally escorted us through the airport, down the elevator, on the train, and down the lengthy distance to the counter where we could be reassigned to a different flight. Then he ran, like REALLY ran, to catch his own connecting flight. The other flight attendants were wonderful and peachy just the same, but they didn't look like Clive Owen, or call everyone Love.
Documenting the moment she finally fell asleep! Too bad the flight was almost over. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Also, airplane lighting is the worst.
I am usually less than enthused to fly through Heathrow, similarly as I am when flying in or out of LA, mainly because I know the level of effort required to make a connection through their tight security measures, and spread out terminals. It's stress city that no one needs to add to their international itinerary with kids! However, this time I quite enjoyed our stop over. Maybe it was the pleasant welcoming committee on the plane that made me less opposed to lingering a little longer in the presence of the British. After being hand delivered to the counter that would book our crew of 6 onto the next flight, to compensate us for the inconvenience, the counter attendant promptly offered us 6 vouchers to use toward any of the restaurants in the airport. After painfully making our way through security again at Terminal 5, and I mean painfully, we headed over to the restaurants to spend our complimentary loot. European airports have great food options! Taking up a sizeable amount of airport real estate is a place called Pret a Manger, near the Starbucks, you can't miss it. Don't miss it, if you are looking for something grab and go. Or if you have time to stay. They have all the organic health food options I thought I had left behind in California. Chicken, tuna, salmon, sandwiches, quinoa bowls, salads, pressed juices; they had a variety of everything, and all for an average of about $5 US dollars a meal. The night before in LA we were hard pressed to find anything less than $14 for a subpar sandwich on stale white bread.
Sometimes I forget to take a picture before digging into the grub! Not too bad for airport food. We got all of this, plus 2 delicious sandwiches that were eaten before the picture, for less than 30 Pounds.
Since we missed our connection, this put us to in Frankfurt 3 hours late, and to our Air BnB 5 hours past their check-in time. We had already made arrangements for a later check-in, but now we would be arriving at about midnight/1am. I tried to get in touch with the host while we were connected to the wifi at Heathrow since, once we left, it was uncertain if we would be able to get into contact with them again since we wouldn't have a sim card. I let them know our flight situation, but didn't hear back from them before we had to start boarding, and just crossed my fingers and toes that everything would work out. That's usually my strategy.
By the time we ate, took kids to the bathroom, broke up a few fights, and caught our breath, they were boarding our flight. We grabbed the kids, our things, and rushed along to the gate and politely push ourselves past everyone to the front as we held the baby up lion king style. She is our early boarding ticket. Not that we want to be on the plane an extra 30 minutes with 4 kids, but we need the cargo space, and 30 minutes to negotiate seating arrangements with the kids.
One short (long) 2 hours later we were finally arriving into Frankfurt. Beaten down. Disoriented and anxious and be on our way to our Airbnb before we had no place to lay our heads. After finding our way slowly through the airport, and waiting way too long for our luggage, and taking everyone to the bathroom 16 more times, we found our way to the Sixt car rental desk.
The era of carseats, strollers, and never ending potty breaks.
We got the keys to our car rental, and attempted to make contact with our Airbnb host while we still had access to the airport wifi, and let her know that we would soon be on our way, but she spoke German only, so we think she got the message in Scott's broken German, but not totally sure. We tried to get a sim card for our phones, but the sim card machine was not working, and one of the stores that sold them didn't have any, and all the other stores were closed. It was after midnight. This reality reminder that we were back in Europe. Everything operates under a status of "maybe works" and "maybe in stock", and "surely is closed after 8pm". Since we couldn't get a sim card that meant that once we left the airport we would not have any cell service or internet. Yipee! We would be traveling 1990's style, but in a foreign country, with a foreign language, in the middle of the night, with four kids.