My trip, all told, took thirty hours to complete. I flew from Columbus to Atlanta and then to Paris and Frankfurt, then took a high speed train to Leipzig. It was exhausting and stressful. Here are a few ideas to make the trip less stressful.
Give yourself time when traveling abroad. I cannot stress this enough. On multiple occasions I did not give myself enough time. Usually, I can breeze through ticketing, bag check, and security in 15 minutes. The few times I stood in line for two hours in the past have convinced me to never depend on getting through that quickly every time.
Along the same lines, try to book flights with decent layovers. My flight from Columbus to Atlanta was delayed over half an hour. I had a forty minute layover. My flight to Frankfurt took off while we were waiting on a gate to disembark. This caused a major snarl at the service desk, who outsourced me to someone with a thick accent on a phone, who finally got me a flight to Paris and then a connection to Frankfurt after not too long a wait. The thing is though, that I booked a train ticket, worth about $100, to Leipzig, set to leave three hours after I landed. I was not able to make the train, and Duetche Bahn politely informed me that I could not get a refund after something like forty eight hours in advance of the trip.
The overnight flight over the ocean will be an interesting experience. Flying to Paris, I had a plethora of languages being spoken. I know French, German, Russian, and Arabic were among them. The plane, an Airbus 330, was a very nice aircraft. We were served two meals, about the consistency of a high quality microwave diner. We were handed hot towels at one point. These felt amazing. The inflight entertainment system was top notch. I had a number of recent movies to choose from, and a not so terrible list of music to listen to which included the Piano Guys. That was pretty cool. For the record, I slept for four or five hours, and none of it really mattered; I spent most of the remainder of the trip in a near comatose state. I was greeted to Paris by a very thick southern U.S.A accent, which was really entertaining.
Familiarize yourself with airports before flying. I was not expecting Charles de Gaulle airport, and it nearly had me for lunch. It is a mess of tunnels, busses, passages, and other means of disorientation, and it was sheer luck that I did not run afoul of my schedule. Of note: they stamped my passport and let me through, no questions asked. They did send me through security again, and with a slight hassle with my ipad (they apparently require it outside the pack, unlike American airports), I was on my way.
I arrived in Leipzig at 11:00 pm local time. Exhausted, I made my way to the proper hostel, took a shower, and fell in bed.
Posted on Wed, June 17, 2015
by James Nantze