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Sunday was a travel day for us. As we had agreed, our daughter and son-in-law came to pick us up and drove us to Raleigh airport. During the ride, they kept us entertained with stories of grandson’s #1 upcoming prom preparations (apparently, coordinating the color of his vest with the color of her dress is of great significance) and grandson’s #2 views of women (he is thirteen).

When we arrived at the airport, everything went well – we checked in, proceeded to the gate and eventually boarded out flight. Just as We were taxiing to take off and only seconds after I had thought “Ok, our connection in Philadelphia will be easy”, the captain announced a twenty minute delay in taking flight!

Eventually, we did get airborne and had a pretty smooth flight. We knew we had to change terminals in Philadelphia, so we came out of the gate in a light jog, trying to make our connection. By that time, both of us were pretty hungry too, but had agreed that we would find the gate and then possibly get some lunch. We did just that, buying ourselves a very expensive plate of very bland Chinese food just around the corner from the gate. We slung it down like if our lives depended on it, which was a god thing, because when we rounded the corner, thinking we still had 10 min to spare, the flight to Frankfurt was boarding!

The older Charlie and I get, the harder these flights become. In the heydays of flying the seats were not built for his 6’4″ frame, but now they are downright torture devices. He had reserved an aisle seat in an attempt to be able to stretch his legs a bit but this subtle attempt at a minor degree of comfort was thwarted by a little middle aged, short, plump German stewardess who insisted on tripping over his feet every time she came down the aisle.

I am glad we ate the Chinese food at the airport because the one meal we were served on the flight was the worst airline food I have eaten in my 50 years of commercial flying – it was horrid, tasted canned, was burned/dried out in some heating apparatus, and was accompanied by a roll that was at least three days old.

Finally, we arrived at Frankfurt! From here, we were one short, one hour flight away from Vienna. Except, in all my years of flying, I had never flown through Frankfurt. Again we knew we would have to change terminals, and so we started following the signs to “terminal A”. And then, surprise! A long queue at passport control, populated with approximately 200 people holding passports from every country that is nowadays closely scrutinized (Saudi Arabia, Yemen, with a sprinkling of Pakistan). When we finally got to the front of the line and asked the young lady who checked our passports if we should run, she replied “run, I don’t know – but walk very very fast”….so we came out of passport control in a full sprint! We stayed in that sprint for a good ten minutes, traversing what is a massive airport, passing through yet another security checkpoint, where they took the small water bottles we had in our backpacks (because who needs 4 oz of water after sprinting through a busy airport?)

Here too we got to the gate as they were boarding – we took our seats, hoping nothing would keep this flight from being held up or delayed, although at this point, this being the flight to our end destination that would have been a minor annoyance….

We arrived in Vienna, with the stewardess in our section having managed to not speak a single word to us. Granted, it is only a one hour flight, but this was still an accomplishment in my book!

Now, all this seems rather comical, although when you are going through it, it is more of a tragedy! But again I was reminded how much of a trooper BHE is, who participated in all this madness with a good natured look of tolerance on his face at all times (and yes occasionally the pain of all these sprints did shine through)!

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