Hello from Sweden! I’ve been planning and getting ready for this Europe trip since winter, so it’s very exciting to finally be happening! I won’t be back to America for five weeks so I have a decent amount of time here to explore, visit family and friends, and have new experiences.
I had quite the trip getting over here by myself. I arrived in the Buffalo airport to find it very crowded and chaotic (not typical for a Wednesday at 10am there). I walked over to the priority line to check in my bag and people let me pass, which is also definitely not normal! I walked up to the counter and the representative asked if I’d already checked in, which I had. She then asked if I had a bag and where I was going. Another person came over and she asked him if they were able to process international flights at all if the passenger already checked in and he said no. Then I was very confused. They explained that the entire United Airlines computer system had crashed! I stood there a little baffled and asked what that meant. It wasn’t just a Buffalo problem, but worldwide. They said no international flights could be processed for checkin because they have to confirm documentation like passports and without the computer system working, that wasn’t an option. So I stepped back and waited. Soon they informed us that all United flights were grounded. Definitely not the start you want to a trip like that!
If this situation was going to happen, I have to admit I got extremely lucky with how it all worked out for me. The system started working again half an hour after I stepped away from the counter. My first flight to Chicago was no more than delayed than any other time I fly Buffalo-Chicago or vice versa because let’s face it, there’s always some delay there between to two cities’ weather conditions and the chaos of O’hare. I fly that route more than any other out of Buffalo so I’ve gotten pretty familiar with what to expect.
I got to Chicago and looked at the monitor and realized just how lucky I was. Flight after flight was delayed, awaiting aircraft arrival, or cancelled. My next flight to Frankfurt, Germany was still green and listed on time. I grabbed some lunch, walked over to my terminal, and found a United Club to hang out in until the flight. It felt good to sit down and relax. Even better, I found out my section of the plane was practically empty so I was able to switch my seat and get an entire row of three seats to myself! Hell yeah 🙂
I got to Frankfurt on time, made it to passport control and helped a very young guy in an American Air Force uniform figure out where to go. He looked nervous and asked if he was in the right line. I told him he was and he thanked me then explained how it was his first time here and he was on his way to a base in Italy. He didn’t look over twenty years old. So it was impressive to me. The people I meet when I travel never fail to surprise me. It’s one of my favorite parts of traveling for sure.
I ended up wandering around the airport quite a bit after some confusion about where the gate was. Fortunately, I had time and it was probably for the best so I didn’t fall asleep by mistake. Coming to Europe from America is always harder on your body than going the other direction. That whole west to east trip really affects you differently. I’m always grateful when I travel to have friends in different time zones because while my Buffalo friends were mostly asleep (except my sister who kept me company through text), but my LA friends were awake. I was grateful for the free wifi in the airport so I could have someone to talk to. Traveling alone can get boring and lonely even when it’s adventurous.
I don’t remember much from my flight to Copenhagen because I passed out almost the second I sat down. The guy next to stirred up some trouble with the flight attendants so I was glad I could close my eyes and ignore it. I woke up to seeing the famous bridge that connects Denmark and Sweden right outside my window! I would soon be crossing that bridge to get to my summer home.
I was happy to get my bag and go meet my dad, except he of course wasn’t there – typical! So I went outside and enjoyed the fresh air until I saw him waving me over to his car. We drove to the house and it felt good to be back here. It’s been a year since my last visit (which was extremely short and not the best trip) and it had been 4 years before that. I was surprised to see how much had changed from what I remembered.
Today is my first full day here and it’s been nice to catch up with my parents and just relax some!