Making my way to Venice

It’s 5:30am on Monday morning. After 2 hours of sleep (it’s impossible to finish packing at a decent time) I crawled out of bed for what was to be my last hot shower at home and my last good hair day. At 6:30 we were headed for Louisville’s SDF airport.

backpacks at airport
Loaded down & ready to go

Louisville Airport
I arrived at the airport with what I thought was the perfect amount of luggage. All of my must-haves plus all of the practical stuff. As you will soon read/see, I was lacking a bit in the warm clothing department, but my pack was not too heavy this time. After having a few mishaps on recent trips at the airport I made sure to arrive over 2 hours early. I went to check in and walked right up to the counter. So much for worrying about long lines.

Saying goodbyes
My parents dropping me off

Naturally, I had to get a last minute photo with my parents. As we were trying to figure out how this would work, the United Airlines guy from the counter came over to take it- as he pointed out he was ‘so busy’ so he thought he would help us out. Nice! The last cheesy thing I had to do was take a picture with the Kentucky Derby jockey. So touristy of me in my local airport. An airport worker suggested I hop on the horse but I can only imagine what airport security would do then!

Kentucky Derby jockey statue

Chicago Airport
I took my first flight to Chicago which aside from the turbulence wasn’t too bad. I was asleep before it even took off. When I got to Chicago I had to go through the tunnel to get to United Airlines Terminal One which is one of my favorite airport features. Murphy/Jahn architects out of Chicago designed it, and one can’t help but linger momentarily to watch the lights dance across the ceiling.

United Airlines Terminal One

I had a four hour layover in Chicago which worked out well, because I got to catch up with friends at the last minute before permanently parting ways with my cell phone. Goodbye phone, hello Skype.

Bikes at Frankfurt Airport
Need a ride?

Frankfurt Airport
From Chicago I flew into Frankfurt, i.e. one of the worst airports ever. I get off the flight, go down a long hallway. Then, my choices are to continue to go down a hallway or go through automatic doors (to other terminals) that are opaque. It’s like a bad sci-fi movie. They close behind you, so if you make the wrong choice you’re screwed. I brave the doors, head up some stairs, take a train, get off, and am pointed to customs. I walk up to a counter, where the guy snickers to his pal (who knows why). It had something to do with going to Italy and speaking Italian. Whatever. So he stamps my passport, you go behind his booth, and there’s an area to check luggage. Of course no one is there, and there’s no signs except an exit sign to the right and these opaque automatic doors to the left. Do I go through? Well, why not. The doors open to a huge open area where I see people again. Excellent, I’ve re-entered civilization. I check the screen since my gate was assigned hours ago, and I’m sure it’s wrong.
The screen says ‘Gate A’. Well, thank you Frankfurt but there are Gates A1-A65. Which of those 65 is it? I find an information desk, and he points me to A19. I get through security, am on my way to the gate, when I see these bikes randomly parked. Cool. But of course they’re for staff only. Darn. I find my gate and double-check the screen at the desk, since my ticket and the main screen were useless. Of course at Gate A19, the screen is blank. So, I just waited and hoped it was right. Luckily, I boarded the flight with no problems.

Small Diet Coke can on a plane
.15 Liters of Diet Coke

Off to Venice
Now for the good part of this long transit. I asked for a Diet Coke when drink service came around, and this is what I got. At .15 liters, I’m pretty sure that’s only about 5 ounces! And yes, I sadly found this worthy enough to write about! So moving on, I was really tired and there was a lot of turbulence, making it difficult to sleep. The pilot got on the speaker and mentioned that we were about to fly over the Alps. I immediately sat up and had my face glued to the window. But all I saw for a while was clouds. I was so bummed and thought that maybe the view was only from the other side of the plane. And then out of nowhere, I see this.

Flying over the AlpsWow. I thought they were breathtaking. At this point, I really looked like one of those annoying kids you see with their noses mushed up on the car window. I couldn’t get enough. I had never seen the Alps before, and it was just so amazing how dramatic they were. So of course, I will close with one more picture of them!

Alps from an airplane

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