8/15 – The reason we came south to Freiburg was so that Jim could spend some time with his professional colleagues. So today at 8am we met with Gerhard and Eberhardt, two psychologists that Jim has worked with and shares parapsychological interests with. They had a lovely two and a half hours doing what professors do, and I was happy that he had the opportunity to meet up with his friends.
Then it was off to the train station for the three hour ride back to Frankfurt, a final doner meal, and a good night’s sleep (with air con and wifi) at the Ibis Hotel.
8/16 – woke up before the alarm and were all ready to go before our 8am hotel departure to Heathrow – plenty of time for us to get a cup of coffee and make our 11am flight. Ha! I’m not usually one to complain, but the Frankfurt Airport needs a major efficiency upgrade. We stood in one long queue after another for the entire morning, just making our flight with about three minutes to spare. On the upside, we had some nice conversations with a young engineer on his way to a conference in Phoenix, and a man on his way home to Philadelphia from Helsinki. Nice people everywhere.
The long leg of our trip was fine too – got the bulkhead seats so we could stretch our legs, and a TSA pre-check upgrade so we didn’t have to take off our shoes or stand in the long line. The kink came on the last leg – when we arrived at JFK, there was no power in Terminal 8, so we had to go through manual customs check (I think it was actually faster than the automated system), find our luggage in a heap in the dark (no baggage carousels) then drop off our luggage again and jog to our gate, only to find our 7:30pm flight to Norfolk was delayed, delayed,then canceled due to weather somewhere.
The only option was a $30. shuttle bus to La Guardia, to wait for the last flight of the evening scheduled for 9:05, which was delayed, delayed, gate changed, but finally took off at 11:30pm. Got a chance to hear about a missionary couple’s trip to Gambia. They’ve been traveling home for three days, and this was their last leg too. A very long day,but happy to be home!
Unfortunately, our backpacks were still at JFK, so we had to file a claim to ask for their return. Happy to say that at 2am on Thursday, our bags arrived at our door. Reunited – all ‘s well that ends well!