I have to close out our trip with the story of our trip home. While most of it was either in an airport or on an airplane without many visuals, it is still a good story that we will want to remember.
Neither of us slept much last night – we would wake every hour or so, worried about making sure we had enough time. Finally around 3:50am we gave up and got ourselves showered and ready.
We had to catch a shuttle from the terminal our hotel was near to the terminal we were leaving from. On the drive, we met a nice couple from Houston, both who were headed to Paris as well before continuing home. From then we learned that the Charles de Gaulle Airport was a nightmare to navigate – apparently if you go from one terminal to another, they put you through an additional passport and security check. We only had one hour between our flight landing and the other taking off, so we quickly started doing research on how to manage it once we got to the Milan airport. Our flights were in two different terminals and we learned we had to take a bus from one to the other and we would be cutting it VERY close. This of course gave us all sorts of anxiety about potentially missing the plane back to Seattle.
Thankfully the flight from Milan to Paris was on time and uneventful. Along the way we saw the sunrise over the alps. Off in the distance (too far to see) is the Matterhorn.
Once we landed, we got ready to gather our things and run. As we were heading toward the terminal to disembark, our plane took a turn and pulled up into an area where you had to walk down a flight of stairs and then take a bus to get to the terminal. After waiting what felt like ages for the planes doors to open, then hustling to the bus, then waiting again what felt like forever for the bus to actually leave, we made it to the terminal and sprinted towards our next check point. Thankfully we only had to go through a passport check and not security, and as we approached the passport check line … we saw it was extremely long, very crowded and did not look good for us. I spoke with one of the men who worked there, explained that our plane was boarding and tried to push my way as far forward as I could get us when we were just stopped by the sheer volume of people.
While we waited in line, two men who have travelled through the airport before reassured us that they will hold the plane if there are enough people who are late. The problem was out of everyone we asked, they were going somewhere else, so we thought we were likely the only two left. It took forever to get through the line, then we hurried down below to catch the next bus to the terminal we are to depart from. There was a reader board of flight status while we waited and our was still thankfully set to “boarding” while we waited. After a few minutes though, that status changed to “last call” and panic REALLY started to set in.
After what felt like hours (but probably was only about 15 minutes) we got on the bus and made the agonizingly long drive to the terminal and then we sprinted. Sprinted while holding bags … running as fast as we possibly could … through this crazy large terminal full of massive amounts of shopping before you even are close to the gates. As we were running, another announcement about the flight to Seattle as last call for boarding came over the intercom and we ran even harder. And we made it. Gasping for breath, holding our boarding passes and passports out to check in, we headed for the plane. The flight attendants took one look at us and immediately handed us water bottles as we were out of breath. As we sat down another announcement in the plane, “We will be holding the plane for another 20 minutes, as there are 40 passengers still trying to get through passport checks and transportation to the terminal.” Apparently it wasn’t just us. But at this point, we didn’t care. We made it.
During our wait time on the ground, Jeremy got a quick pop up message on his phone that his bags were in Amsterdam. I checked on mine and sure enough, our luggage decided to take a little tour of the red light district without us. But we didn’t care … we made the flight and were on our way home.
Our flight was uneventful, we watched a lot of movies, didn’t sleep much, and made it home to a wonderfully rainy Pacific Northwest scene where autumn was in full swing.
My dad picked us up and we headed straight to Carters soccer game where we all tried not to cry when we saw each other again. It is good to be home and now the battle with jet lag begins!