Sunday, July 17, 2016

Bon Voyage; or, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

and we're off!
It's an ordeal leaving our little base and going anywhere because of the crazy limits on where and when you can fly. We picked one of six flights out in July and crossed our fingers and toes that it would work out. One little hitch in travel means you may never get to your final destination, or you will have delays that cost you time (and money). 

We got up early and drove to ferry landing. It was bittersweet---we were overjoyed to be off island, but sad because we had to say goodbye to some long-time friends who will be leaving island for good while we are on break. While we were in Germany, they were moving on to the DC area. 

Instead of us jumping for them at ferry landing, there was a bizarre reversal as they jumped as we left for vacation.

After a car, a ferry, and a bus to the airport, we only had a short wait before catching our flight. The flight was on time! Things were looking up, even after waiting a little over an hour to load the plane. We enjoyed an uneventful flight over the Bahamas, and then. . . Jacksonville.

Jacksonville, for whatever reason, seems to be the Black Hole of Travel. This is where travel dreams are dashed. Connections are cancelled. Reservations are lost. And this is how we ended up losing a day of visiting with New England family for sitting in Jacksonville.

A cancelled flight and a day later, we ended up in CT. We love Connecticut. My husband's CT family goes back many, many generations and this small town, Southern girls feels right at home in the Yankee city of Hartford and the surrounding area.

After months in a hot, desert climate, the cool evening weather and lush, green woods were a welcome change. I love Connecticut---most people don't hug and kiss you when they first meet you, bless their hearts, but they are as warm and funny as any Southerner is.
hunting wabbits in Connecticut

Connecticut to me is just---different. It's a little more reserved, a little more intellectual. The South has our fair share of intellectuals, but it's a little more obvious in CT.  Here's a perfect example: we were in line at a small grocery store behind a couple discussing an event they had attended over the weekend on a college campus---at Yale. There was no pretention or affectation because the chance of going to Harvard or Yale or any of the other Ivies for a weekend in New England is as good as going to a state university in any other part of the country. It's all about geography. Then on the way out the door, I spotted a paperback exchange rack. The first book that caught my eye wasn't the typical Danielle Steele or John Grisham but Jean Paul Sartre's Being and Nothingness. Heavy, man. 

A day and a half visit with our Connecticut family was too short but wonderful, and then. . . we caught a flight from Providence, RI directly to Frankfurt. From Frankfurt we took 2 trains to Vilseck. 
Frankfurt, the first of 2 train stations to get to Vilseck
And guess what? It was SO much easier (and less stressful) navigating through airports and train stations outside the U.S. and trying to comprehend anything in our pitiful little knowledge of German than the voyage from GTMO to Jacksonville. 

A car, a ferry, a bus, a plane, a bus, a plane, a car, a plane, and two train rides later, we were finally at our destination. Planes, trains, automobiles (and a ferry thrown in for good measure)---that's how you get from Cuba to Germany.