Hello everyone! I thought I would do a wrap up blog like I did with the Asia trip. Just a quick look back on the travel time back to the US and a reflection on the trip.
On our last day in Paris it was 100 degrees. That meant that it didn’t cool down much at night and we all had a fitful, sweaty sleep. We went to bed around 12:30 and got back up to 5:50 am, though I don’t think any of us slept over 2-3 hours. Julien was nice enough to make up coffee and make sure we had some food in our bellies. Then, he drove us to the airport. In France, rush hour traffic isn’t until 8ish because most people don’t go to work until 9, so the roads were pretty clear and easy to navigate. The ride to the airport was east, breezy. We parked and Julien came in with us because he had a client who worked at the airport who he was going to meet up with. What service we got! Thanks, Julien! You rock!
Security at the airport now is interesting, we had to show our passports 4 times to 4 different people within about a 4 minute time period. Which I guess is good, but I don’t think anyone actually really looked to make sure we were who we said we were. I guess we don’t look too threatening. We said goodbye to Julien and went down an escalator to go through customs, or whatever it’s called when you leave the country. Again, the customs agent barely looked at our passports. Security was easy (didn’t have to take off our shoes, score!) and we found our way to the gate. From there everything went smoothly, we boarded 20 minutes later and actually took off on time, wow. Tons of Americans were on our flight, it was like we were already in the US.
The flight time was 9 hours and I sat next to a guy (probably in his 50s) who just wanted to talk every moment that he saw I was awake or moving. I just don’t really like small talk with strangers (I’m shy!) so I tried to avoid that as much as possible. I just wasn’t feeling chatty, sorry man next to me on the plane. It was a daytime flight but we were so tired from the night before that we slept on and off. Maybe about 4 hours total. We watched “The Second Best Marigold Hotel”, that was pretty good and funnier than I thought, American Ninja Warrior (pretty entertaining), Malificent, and listening to lots of podcasts (my favorite right now is “Criminal” and Nick listens to Dave Ramsey). We got fed an awful lot on this flight, which was nice. Pasta, salad, rolls, ice cream, pestp wrap, coconut cake, etc. Much better than China Eastern Air.
When we finally landed, I was getting antsy by the end, we ended up landing an hour earlier than expected. We were in Chicago at 10:45 and our next flight to Minneapolis wasn’t until 2:00. Luckily we had this time because customs ended up taking us almost 2 hours! We had to go thru customs first, now they have computer that you go to and fill out your information and it takes your picture (looking good after a 9 hour flight), and prints it out. You give this new, beautiful picture along with your passport to a customs officer. So by this time you have waited in two lines. Then, you get your bags in baggage claim (this took 30 minutes or more itself) and wait in line again (super long with lots of Chinese), just to then give your bags back and transfer to another terminal.
When we got to the next terminal for our flight to MSP, we had to go through security again. The line was crazy long and there were Chinese teenagers on a trip cutting in front of everyone and not following any sort of protocol which was driving everyone nuts. Especially me as a teacher, I wanted to jump up there are direct everyone. The security staff was clearly frazzled! Luckily, we were calm, cool, and collected because we had plenty of time before our flight. At the last minute I remembered I had a full waterbottle that I’d filled up after the flight and had to down it in a few minutes. And, then we had to take off our shoes. I don’t know why taking off shoes is such an inconvenience but it is my least favorite part of the security process. The buzzer lit up when I walked through, turns out I was “quota”. So I got my hands swabbed and the girl told me “wow, it’s been one crazy day today!”. What a hard, crazy job dealing with people all day!
Anyway, we made it through and still had an hour to kill so we stopped for lunch at Chilis. Fried chicken, fries, and onion rings hit the spot. Then, low and behold our flight to Minneapolis was on time! This was the smoothest trip we have ever taken. I was already having nightmares about our Asia flight home and was just picturing the same thing happening. But our flight was on time, smooth, and we were in Minneapolis 10 minutes earlier than scheduled.
It was so nice to be home! There’s just something about being back in the US that is very comforting. We took the light rail home, so convenient. Walked the ten minutes from Target Field to our apartment (sweat for those 10 minutes, to match our word of the trip: sweaty) and collapsed on the couch! Tired, but happy!
What a wonderful trip we had. On reflection, it was a completely different Europe trip because we got to see France through multiple Frenchies 🙂 eyes and have wonderful conversation, food, and experiences. We have now seen a good majority of France and decided that though we love each region we have been to for different reasons, we still feel a strong connection to Strasbourg and feel that it will always be our home away from home.
Europe also had an un-easy feeling to it that comes with the world we are currently living in and I think it helped us to see how grateful we are for everything we have and get to experience. And for all the viewpoints we can now understand.
From traveling, we learn what is most important to us; spending time together. This will forever be our journey. We love you and thank you for following us on yet another adventure. See you soon! A toute a l’heure!
P.S. I’m including below a link to a video of a song that Julien, his sister Fanny, and his mom sang one night in Normandy. It’s been stuck in my head ever since. Enjoy! I’m also including the song that played all the time on the radio and now will forever remind us of driving in the French alps.
Radar is on his way home as I write! We can’t wait to have our little man back!