As much as I like travel–and airports and flights and even rental car offices!–even I have to concede that a single flight of 11 hours and 25 minutes is a bit excessive. Add to that a 2+ hour layover in Munich and then a 2 hour flight to Stockholm and it’s downright ridiculous.Well, those are my thoughts as we’re tying up the first leg of today’s Lufthansa fun and about 30 minutes away from Munich. Folks on board are more active, they’ve raised the lights from the dim setting it’s been since after meal service what seems like ages ago–but was only really last evening–and there’s lots of venturing down the aisles and around to the stairway to the downstairs bathroom area.
For those familiar with my last year’s multi-hour flight to Europe, I’m batting a thousand: ‘wasn’t able to sleep this year, either. Gave up on the homeopathic remedy hyping a no-jet-lag result and instead opted this year for a more mainline approach: a dose of liquid NyQuil. Shut-eye was not a result.
I did turn off the seatback monitor in front of me that showed elapsed flight time and the plane’s approximate location; it seemed to be mocking me each time I’d lift up my turquoise (so very, turquoise, too) eyeshades to see if maybe it was time to give up on sleep because we were almost in Munich. Maybe we were even flying backwards. At least it seemed that way because the factual “Time Remaining” slot simply didn’t seem to be moving.
I looked around. And I was jealous.
The guy across the aisle, so long-legged that he had to pretzel his legs into position, was asleep. The guy behind him was also visiting Dreamland. The woman directly in front of me snored.
I began tallying the number of times flight attendants cruised the aisles. I lost count. They offered long-flight solace in the form of water, warm washclothes, wine (white, red or sparkling?) and some understanding looks when they spotted me blearily looking around the cabin.
I didn’t even want to think about the folks we’d passed in Business Class as we boarded; it seemed inhuman for them to be lying in almost-flat bed/seats while I was roughing it in Economy, just hoping for another warm washcloth to soothe my frantic thoughts.
Thoughts like, “I’ll never get to sleep on this plane. And then what will happen when I have to find a taxi in Stockholm and I can’t even think in English, let alone Swedish?” And, “How many hours have I been awake at this point?” And even, “Maybe this is simply too long of a time to be spent in a narrow metal tube with hundreds of strangers; maybe I should never even think of going to Europe again.”
And, finally, “Do you think if I tell that solemn 30-year-old flight attendant that I think I am infatuated with him that he will bring me a third warm washcloth?”
It was a pretty serious lack of sleep-ability.
But the flight began to draw to a close (note the very welcome breakfast photo; tip from Mom, put the cold bun on top of the hot aluminum container of scrambled eggs and potatoes and eat the fruit salad first to give the bun time to get up to almost-warm status) and I gathered up my gear to face Munich airport and a two-hour uneventful layover.
Well, really only uneventful if you don’t count Mom pushing the “alarm” button in the private toilet room (she says she thought it was the toilet flush button) and setting off a good loud beeping for those of us standing in the hallway outside; but I kinda promised her I wouldn’t tell you about that so….)
And the good news?
- We’re here in Stockholm, at the Hilton. We walked down the street about 15 minutes and stood right outside the Viking Star (it’s berthed within sight of where we’re staying). Side note: This is a lot bigger than the Viking riverboat we journeyed in last year. A lot.
- The sunset was a beauty.
- We have a full day of adventure ahead of us tomorrow before showing up at the Star.
- I forgot half of my toiletries back at our son’s home in Southern California but daughter-in-law was clever and texted me a picture of what was there so I know what to replace at the store tomorrow. Second side note: The Hilton hands out nifty black toothbrushes–so elegant–just for the asking. What a Stockholm souvenir.
- And it’s bedtime. I don’t even want to think about how many hours I’ve been up now.