Monday, December 15, 2008

9 airport visits in 60 hours

Friday evening Dennis just got home and we decide to call the Lufthansa airline as the Budapest airport is still on strike. We call and get some information. Because we lost Kevin’s ticket we need to buy a new one but we have a problem. They open at 5 am and our flight is 6.20 am so this will not give us enough time to buy the ticket and check in. The solution: Dennis needs to drive to the airport tonight to get the new ticket. Not a fun idea. I pack a sandwich and off he goes to battle rush hour for an hour drive to the airport, getting lost on the way.
I feed the boys and start preparing them for bed. They need to sleep by 7 pm so they can wake up at 3 am.

Saturday 3 am. I am awake since 1 am. I just can’t sleep. Dennis is sleeping and he doesn’t even hear the alarm. I wake him up and get Ryan up and dress him. Kevin is so sleepy that even when I put the snow suit on him he doesn’t wake up. The taxi comes before 4am so we rush out the door. The airport is a mass of people. People everywhere, big lines. Where do we start? Dennis sees the man who helped him print our tickets last night and he agrees to check us in as we have a small baby. Other people try to skip the line by standing behind us. He prints the boarding passes and we need to take our luggage to the other terminal and check the luggage there since the baggage handlers are on strike. We go outside, walk to the other terminal and look to check our luggage at counter 64.
As we wait there we hear rumors that our flight to Frankfurt is canceled. Dennis runs back to the other terminal to tell them what these people are telling us. There he catches the end of an announcement in English about our flight. They are going to put us on a bus. To Frankfurt?! That will take days! Dennis runs back to find out what they are announcing in terminal A. Nothing in English, so we ask. They will put us on a bus to the Vienna airport and fly us to Frankfurt from there. There will be a bus leaving from the B terminal at 6.30 am. “Have we already checked our luggage?”, she asks. No, that is good. So we take our luggage back to the B terminal. I can’t sit outside in the cold with 2 boys, and we expect them to announce when the bus is here. So we sit down to eat yoghurt, hard boiled eggs, and apple cake. How wonderful we were prepared, and needed to empty our fridge. Between breakfast and urgent trips to bathrooms with Ryan, our bus left. They didn’t announce anything. Now all flights before 1pm are cancelled and I see some people crying. Some have already been here several days.

6.45 Dennis is back in line at the Lufthansa counter to see what we do next. The lady is unhappy that we missed the bus. I came and put Kevin in Dennis arms as Ryan needs another trip to the bathroom. She softens seeing our little ones. She tells us to get on another bus, but there is no way to make our Frankfurt connection so she writes a handwritten ticket out of Vienna for tomorrow. Where to sleep is our problem.

8.00 We are on the bus heading toward the Vienna airport. We start calling some of our friends on the cell phone to get some tips on where to stay overnight. None of them have any good tips. We pray and wait to see what God has for us. I express my desire to be close to the airport as I don’t want another 3 am wakeup call to get to the airport.

11.00 We are at the Vienna airport. A man helps us to put our suitcases inside the airport as we don’t have any Euros coins to get a cart and have to hold on to 2 boys. Dennis goes to check as I stand in the middle of the terminal with 2 very tired boys and a pile of luggage. No place to sit down so I tried to keep them busy.

11.30 Dennis comes back smiling. He went to the Austrian airline and told them our story and they decided to put us up overnight at a hotel just across the street. This was more than I prayed for. They even loan Dennis a euro to get a luggage cart. We walked into a 5 star hotel with our backpacks and pile of luggage. We had even the meals assured. I was overwhelmed by God’s goodness toward us.

12.00 We had a good lunch in the hotel restaurant. We took the day off to rest as we were exhausted.

6.00 pm We eat a buffet dinner with fancy cheeses, great bread, lamb, fish, and various desserts. We use the evening to walk our luggage back to the airport again to be easier the next morning.

Sunday 5.30 am We wake up and have a quick breakfast and walk back to the airport.

7.05 We fly Austrian air to Frankfurt. What a great airline! After another hour the flight takes off for San Francisco. We don’t have seats together, and there is no basinet for Kevin. So I hold him all the time. Not fun but I will survive L

1.30 pm We arrive at San Francisco. We are 1 hour late as the airplane could not land right away due to storms. We hurried up to pick up our luggage and to check in again for our flight to Medford OR.

We are exhausted and children as well. Both of them fall asleep on the chairs at the gate as our next plane is delayed. So we wait and wait for 6 hours and our plane is canceled again due to bad weather. They hope we will be able to fly at 10 pm but this is too much for us. No one can pick us up at midnight and we are totally exhausted. Dennis finally gets in the correct line for customer service and problems. The manager sees our children asleep and sees that we came from overseas and has pity on us. So she gave us a voucher for a hotel and meals and she will put us on the flight for the next morning. God is so good to us!

Monday 6.30 am We woke up again and hurry to the airport again. The weather is so nice now. Sunny and clear skies.

8.45 We are on the last leg of our trip. Welcome home to Medford OR. We call Dennis’ father to come and pick us up. We are tired but very happy to land in a place.

Now we start the challenge to adjust to the new time zone and get the kids to sleep through the night.


Anonymous said...

Dear Luiza,
my eyes are filled with tears as i read your account of your travels. how good the Lord is -- and what a marathon trip you had.
yes, we are strangers and pilgrims in this land and we are heading Home.
love, esther

Markus and Sarah said...

Oh, I have tears in my eyes as well...a few are from reliving some our memories from crazy international traveling, but most from reading about how God took care of you and provided what you needed right when you needed it along the way. We'd been praying for your family as you travelled - we'd heard about Kevin's lost ticket and then saw on the news about the airport strike and knew you'd be flying out of there. It's neat to hear how God answered prayers! Sending lots of love...