The Adventure Ends

Trip Start Jun 16, 2010
Trip End Aug 18, 2010

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Where I stayed
Warsaw One More Time

Flag of Poland  , Masovian Voivodeship,
Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Leaving is the worst part… I stink at it! I pretend I am just taking a 10-month trip to the US and reset my desktop count down again. I walk out onto Barbara's balcony to take one last look at the Warsaw skyline… Then I lock all my feeling really deep inside the safest corner of my heart and pick up my suitcases with a smile.

I got up after a sleepless night and decided to repack so that I could avoid paying $50 for extra pounds. I had to leave behind some clothes and a few unnecessities which I can use next year. I came close to the required 25 lbs and gave up. Be what may! My backpack is heavier than I but I might be able to squeeze the suitcase through check-in.

Barbara arrived to get her keys and see me off. She too was petrified by the size of my luggage and helped me carry it downstairs. The Taxi was waiting so we said a quick good-bye and I was on my way to the airport. Right away I realized that the driver was a bit nutty and at first I was worried about the new road he was taking to Okęcie International. Turns out, he showed me the new Siekierkowski Bridge and a new by-way to the airport so the drive was more enjoyable than I had expected. The fare was still the same - $4.

Check-in queue was long and slow. When I finally got to the counter I realized in front of me was that the same man who checked-in Vanya yesterday. Using my most personable self, I chattered him up so that he wouldn’t pay much attention to the weight of my suitcase. It actually worked! The suitcase was 1.5 kg too heavy but he let it go free and I breathed easy. I got through the safety check quickly and walked to my gate.

The flight to London-Heathrow was fast and uneventful. I sat between an elderly British gentleman and a young Polish-American. Pleasant conversation kept us busy and before I knew it I was going through customs again. Heathrow is not the most organized of airports and even going through the safety check there doesn’t actually make you feel any safer. The gate number wasn’t posted for my flight so I had to wander around the main terminal, not knowing if I’d be traveling on the train to terminal B or walking 5 minutes to A-gates. Ironically, the Departure screen announced my gate open at 3:50pm but the number did not appear until 4:15pm. Crazy!

I had a lovely frappucino at the Heathrow Starbucks (way too expensive!), then peeked into Harrods, my favorite little British shop. Never can resist getting a small trinket there. At 16:30 pm they finally let us board. My "all the way in the back seat" came in handy; I could walk onto the plane first and I didn’t have to deal with people walking through the plane back and forth. Next to me sat a mid-age lady who didn’t seem to speak any English. I asked her what her nationality was and it turned out she was Bulgarian. I figured that a person her age would have had to learn Russian in school and sure enough we found a common language. I was able to translate the announcements for her, help her make food choices at meals, and fill out customs forms. We chatted about our respectable trips and she gave me her business card. Turns out she and her family own an inn in the mountains in Bulgaria and she warmly invited me to visit next time I’m in Europe. Well, knowing my passion for traveling I just might!

I watched several movies, crocheted, read, ate; everything but sleep. How I managed to walk off that plane conscious, I’ll never know. But I got through the passport control pretty quickly, my suitcase was already off the belt, and in 15 minutes or less from the time I stepped off the plane, I was greeted by a smiling warmly friend. That is the only thing that makes up for having my toes touch the US soil, lol. We walked outside and the warm air hit my face. I knew it then. The adventure is over… at least for the next 301 days.

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