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Wednesday August 10: Bucharest Romania

Monday August 8: Boston to Bucharest

24 Hours of Travel

Our Danube River cruise is off to blistering start--if you consider a glacier to move at a rapid pace.

About 15 minutes before we were to be picked up to go to the airport, I noticed an email from Lufthansa. It said that our flight out was delayed by just under 3 hours. Instead of leaving at 5:30, we would be leaving at 8:30. I called the van service, but they didn't have any openings later that day, so we took our originally scheduled van in. This means that instead of sitting in Logan airport for about 3 hours, we get to wander around here for about six hours. We are now past security, and we have about 4 1/2 hours before our flight.

The more concerning aspect of the delay was our connection in Frankfurt. We were going to miss that connection by hours. The good news is that our flight to Bucharest had been scheduled for tomorrow morning. They rescheduled us to an afternoon flight, so we'll get in to Bucharest on the same day as our original schedule, but we'll have a five hour layover in Frankfurt.

I guess today (and tomorrow) is our day to spend some quality time exploring airports... It could be a lot worse, however. I was afraid that there would be no available flights for Bucharest that day, and that we would have to spend the night in Frankfurt and fly out a day late. At least so far, this delay is just an inconvenience, and nothing more. On the other hand, I'll be very happy when we arrive in the hotel in Bucharest.

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There is a neat Walden-themed rest area at one end of the concourse in Logan. Among other things, it has some flat padded rectangular "benches". One of these was just the right size to lie down and rest. I didn't doze or fall asleep, but I spent some time sort of half asleep.

Around 5:30, I got up, and we went in search of food. Pretty much everything here is between $20 and $25. Can you imagine paying $25 for a hamburger or a sandwich?

Little did I know that in Switzerland, $20 to $25 for a burger is not unusual.

While we were eating, I looked out the window and saw a big airliner coming in for a landing. It looked like it was coming straight at us. When it got closer, I recognized it as a 747. They have a very distinctive look, and I really like them. I commented to Amy that I thought that this was probably our airliner just arriving. In fact, it was. When it got closer, I saw that it was Lufthansa. A bit later, it came past us and ended up parking at the gate that we're leaving from.

Our 747

That answers the question about the delay. As I expected, the delay was apparently caused by the plane we would be taking being delayed in getting to Boston. Right now, we're back in "Walden", where I'm charging my phone. In about a half hour, we'll head over the gate and wait there.

Overall, we should be spending just about 24 hours either in an airport or on an airliner.

 - -

We are now in Frankfurt, where we get to spend a quality 5 hours doing nothing. They must have made up some significant time, as it looks like we might have been able to make our original connection by about 5 minutes, but that is moot now.

When we got on the 747, the pilot came on the PA and told us the reason for the delay. Apparently, the plane took off from Frankfurt, and then they found that the water system on the plane was not working. Imagine a long flight where you can't flush the toilets or get water in the sink.

They couldn't fix it in the air, so they had to turn around and land back in Frankfurt. They got the water system fixed, and then they took off again. Hence the delay.

The boarding was a new experience. They had "biometric" boarding. We didn't show our boarding passes to anyone. It was sort of self-serve. Each person walked to a point, got a picture of their face taken, and if it liked you, it opened a door to let you board. Presumably they were doing facial recognition, but I'm not sure what they were comparing your face against. Perhaps that info is in your passport?

We flew in "premium economy". This gave us more space, e.g. we had a doubled arm rest between us, so we didn't have two people trying to share one arm rest. I don't know if normal economy was like this, or not, but we got real glass glasses, and metal utensils. Even though we didn't leave until about 8:30, they still gave us a dinner, and then in the morning a light breakfast. Unfortunately, I was too full to eat the dinner, although I ate all of the breakfast.

I sort of dozed for most of the flight. I'm not sure that I ever really fell asleep, although I spent most of the time with my eyes closed and resting.

I saw a coffee shop here that had a long line, and a sign that said "A morning without coffee is like sleep". They say that like sleep is a bad thing. I really wouldn't mind some sleep about now...

 - -

After 22 hours of travel, and 22 hours of wearing a mask, we're finally in our hotel for two nights, and are now part of the actual tour package.

The flight from Frankfurt to Bucharest was not the most comfortable, but it was only about 2 hours. It was a relatively small plane, certainly much smaller than a 747. There was no video monitors or entertainment of any kind. On the other hand, I tried to spend most of the flight dozing.

Unfortunately, the seats were not good for dozing. If I sat upright, my head would fall forward. If I slouched, my lower back started to hurt. Eventually, I gave up and listened to my audio book.

Going through passport control was the easiest I've ever experienced. The line was essentially non-existent, the bored officer looked at the passport, looked at us, stamped it, and that was all.

I had a little scare when the first two ATMs wouldn't give me any cash, but when we found that the taxi didn't take Visa, I tried a third machine which did give me cash. I was beginning to get worried that my bank had something screwed up, and they weren't allowing foreign transactions.

The taxi ride was uneventful. The hotel is large and very posh. We got in around 8:30 or so, and we were pretty beat. We shared a pizza at one of the hotel restaurants. Now we're getting set up for tomorrow morning's excursion, and then we're going to hit the sack.

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Wednesday August 10: Bucharest Romania