03 March, 2012

Flying to Copenhagen

Vitoria Plaza
Yesterday I awoke early to repack my bags. I had a terrible premonition that something would go wrong, so decided to put enough clothes to last the weekend into a cloth bag in case Air France lost my luggage. I couldn't find a direct flight, so the chances of losing my luggage in the octopus of Charles De Gaulle Airport  increase. 
My European hairdo

Suzanne and I had tea and bread and cheese for breakfast and talked about meeting again in the early summer. She might come to the US in the late summer or early fall. 

I didn't need to be at the airport until after 1pm, but it is a 2 hour trip by bus from Vitoria-Bilbao-Airport, so I left at 9:25 and caught the 9:30AM bus right down the street from Suzanne's house.   I was lucky, because the bus in Bilbao that goes to the airport was already waiting to leave. So I made it to the airport at 11AM. Took a short coffee in the cafe and then asked Air France if I could check in early, and they said negative, that the desk would open at 1:30PM. 

I relaxed and continued reading "To Siberia" by Per Petterson, a book about two teenagers, a brother and sister, before, during and directly after WWII in Denmark. Occasionally I took a break and walked around the airport. It is small, all the airlines are in a semi-circle in one room. Off this room is quite a large cafe and a shop called Aeroshop, which is advertising Mentos, newspapers and snacks, but it was closed, the shop looking lonely with its empty shelves. 

At 1:30 I was first in line to check in. I gave her my passport and the reservation number. She looked at her computer and started shaking her head.  I had no reservation, she said. I pulled out my computer and showed her the email confirmation. She called Air France and after half an hour, she apologized but there was no reservation. So who knows, I may have been scammed. But at that moment that is not something to debate or look into. Now I needed a ticket to get to Copenhagen. Dick was meeting me and we had a big weekend set up for my birthday in Sweden. So I bought a ticket and was lucky that there were a few seats still open to Paris. 

I got on the flight and next to me was a strange looking man. He reminded me of Doc Martin without hair, the same arrogant look. He had those lips that stick out, typical of the French. But I decided not to try to converse, because he made no attempt to be friendly. Instead I finished "To Siberia," and then began "I curse the river of time" also by Per Petterson. 

I arrived in Paris at the hated airport. Luckily I had more than 2 hours between flights, because I had to move from one building to another and that took an hour. Go out and catch a bus. Then walk half a mile to the gate. One has to remember, I have to be careful about leg pain most of the time, and as long as I don't rush it's bearable. So there is no running down the hallways whether I miss the flight or not.

I had never been to this part of the airport, outbuildings of some sort, like New York was many years ago. Or it may still be like that at JFK, because I never use that airport. 

I got to the gate and yippee a small cafe was open right beside it. So I ate a salad, yogurt. sandwich and a glass of beer. Something new for me. I have always disliked beer, but now it is quite comforting. 

I was put on first class on the flight. I suppose the clerk behind the desk felt sorry for the mixup as I did and decided to give me a treat. It is only an hour, so not much sense really. They gave us a snack of chocolate pudding, some kind of spread for bread. But the bread was cold and chewy, not like French bread at all. So since I was not hungry anyway, I passed.  Then I slept for half an hour.  Luckily I did, because there is an hour's walk in the Copenhagen airport, through many hallways, past dozens of shops and restaurants, which most were closed because of the late hour, and then you get your luggage. The case did arrive, so my premonition was not the lost bag, and I went out to meet Dick. We had a 20 minute train ride to Malmoe and five minutes to the hotel. 

When we opened the door to the hotel at 23:30, there were 20 steps to the reception.

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