August 24-25 Baltic Sea Cruise

My life often does not go as I have planned. The start of my cruise with Jeff to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary is the most recent example. I had spent much time in July planning this cruise, booking the plane tickets, and shore excursions,etc. I even bought new suitcases, as my old set of suitcases were showing the wear from five years of lots of traveling.

We had decided to go on a 13 day cruise of northern Europe, stopping at many countries that border the Baltic Sea. I was looking forward to flying into Amsterdam and meeting up with Jeff there at the airport. He would be flying into Amsterdam from Hong Kong.

I was very excited as I packed my new suitcases on Friday, August 23. My son Patrick was driving me to Logan Airport in Boston. We left for the airport about four hours before my flight, figuring that it would take 45 minutes to an hour to drive to the airport, as it usually does from our town. And then we ran into the horrible back-up on I93 south into Boston.

There was not just one, but FOUR different accidents on the road into Boston and the airport. We sat on I93 south for about 4 hours, moving nowhere. Finally, we got to an exit, and Pat used google directions to make our way through Boston and to the airport. So I got to the check-in counter right about the time my plane took off. So they put me on standby for the next flight, along with 20 other passengers who had missed the flight because they were stuck in traffic.

At this point, I was concerned but still hopeful that I would make the cruise in time, as the next flight left three hours later, and I was the second person on the standby list. But not only did I not make the flight, but there were eight people on that flight who had tickets who were involuntarily bumped, because the flight was overbooked. It was an ugly scene at the boarding counter, with much arguing, and that flight took off almost an hour late due to the arguments.

So Pat and I headed back home to Andover. Pat had stayed at the airport, waiting to make sure that I got on the flight, and so he missed his evening barbeque with his friends. I was glad that he had stayed, so I had a ride home, but now I was also sad that he had his evening plans cancelled.

When I got home, I called the cruise line and explained what happened to me. My phone call was routed to a very nice lady in their travelers’ rescue department. I did not even know that such a department existed! I told her the flight the next day that I had been rebooked on to Amsterdam. She booked a connecting flight to Berlin for me, and arranged for a driver to pick me up at the airport, and take me to a hotel in Berlin. And on August 25, the cruise line sent a taxi driver from the town of Rostock, where the cruise ship was docked, into Berlin to pick me up at the hotel and take me to the ship. And they paid for all of this, which was very nice!

And so on August 24, I once again left for the airport, about four hours before my flight. This time, Jeff’s cousin Sharon drove me, and we arrived at the airport about 45 minutes later. So I sat knitting in the airport for three hours. This flight was also overbooked, because most of the passengers who had been waiting for the second flight the day before had been rebooked onto this flight. But there were no ugly scenes this time, as there were more people willing to give up seats this time. So the flight left on time, and I arrived in Amsterdam early on August 25, about 12 hours after the cruise ship set sail for Germany.

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A store in the Amsterdam airport.

I took some photos of this store in the Amsterdam airport, because I had never seen a cheese store in an airport!

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A giant gouda cheese!

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Cute calf statues!

I then flew from Amsterdam to Berlin. After I arrived in Berlin, the driver, who spoke no English, picked me up and took me to the hotel. I slept for a few hours, and then went downstairs to get something to eat. This turned out to be more challenging than I thought, because it was Sunday, and Berlin still has laws which say that businesses cannot be open on Sundays. So all the stores around the hotel were closed, the hotel restaurants were closed, and most of the places to eat in the area were also closed. I found t later that businesses that serve food can be open on Sunday, but I think that most of the restaurants were closed because they did not get enough customers to stay open when all the other stores were closed. Anyway, I finally found a McDonalds and a Dunkin Donuts that were open within walking distance of the hotel. So I came all the way to Berlin, and ended up eating McDonalds for dinner. And it was crowded, too, in that McDonalds because it was one of the only places open for dinner!

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