At least, of our trip. Three weeks and over 15,000 miles of travel would see us back in Pittsburgh. But not after a day full of flights and layovers.
We got up at 4 in the morning to finish getting ready and get our Taxi a bit after 5. We made great time on the empty streets of Paris and arrived at the airport before our goal of 6. Bags checked, hoping that all the liquids would make it safely, we made it to our gate and grabbed some quick airport pastries. Which were still better than 95% of what we have at home. This is going to take some getting used to…
Our flight was uneventful, and saw us in Iceland a bit over 3 hours later. As a side note; Icelandic is an incredibly odd language. But they also have a great sense of humor with odd descriptions in their in flight magazine and menus, and their safety video was very clever, taking place in the natural surroundings of the country, and not on the plane itself. Oh, and the landscape was beautiful when we landed, showing us a huge rainbow ending at the airport terminal. Neat. We will have to come back.
We had the lucky chance for additional screening here before our US bound flight, something we were assured was random. Just as random as us having come from Turkey, right? The Icelandic agents were polite enough about it, and kept assuring us they were only doing this because the TSA said so, which was some humorous international finger pointing.
Our lengthy flight to Boston was equally uneventful. We proceeded through customs and border control without an issue, and our bags appeared to not be leaking. The Boston airport is a disaster of a layout and wayfinding, resulting in a frustratingly long time to get to our gate, requiring going back through security. All the while, english shock occurring, the sudden ability to understand with 100% clarity every conversation around you. It wasn’t much of a surprise that we stopped for a meal (timezones confusing us as to which meal it actually was) and two large beers.
A short jaunt had us back in Pittsburgh just in time to hit rush hour in our taxi ride home. Over an hour later and with the credit card getting one more charge in there, we were back at home. Needy cats, an overgrown yard, mail everywhere. We did the necessary rounds of cat cuddling, and then promptly went over our checked bags to discover we had no casualties amongst our 20 glass bottles full of various forms of alcohol. Woohoo!
We had made it. There will probably be a few more “summary” type posts following this one analyzing some overall trends and general reflections on the trip. But one thing was clear: Every step had exceeded every expectation we had, shattering misconceptions and concerns both we and others had before our departure. We can’t wait to go back.