Wait a minute, what the heck is wrong with my alarm? I could have sworn we just went to sleep....
Oh yeah, we did.
With a 40-minute cab ride to the airport and checking bags because of our wine and olive oil bottles, we awoke very early to make sure we left enough time for everything. We quickly showered and threw on our clothes, and made our way down to the hotel lobby in time to meet our cab driver, and say goodbye to the nicest of the three-headed lobby attendant monster at Hotel Cecil. Our cabby was slightly too talkative for a Sunday morning around 4:00am, but he soon caught our vibe that we weren't quite ready for twenty questions on this given morning...so we rode ther est of the way to the airport in relative silence, reflecting on the trip and waking up.
We got to the airport in great time and immediately made our way to the airline counter to get our baggage checked for our multiple stops on our flight home, from Athens to Paris to Los Angeles to San Diego. But as soon as we started talking to this airline employee, he said it was too early in the morning to print the passes for our connecting flights, so we should get them at the next airport, but our baggage "would definitely be there to meet us in San Diego." Yes, we all know where this is going...and it ain't San Diego. But more on that later.
After saying goodbye to our luggage, we made our way to the gate and had an easy boarding process, and before we knew it, we were on the plane back home. The flight to Paris was uneventful and short, and when we arrived we printed our passes for the next (and longest) leg of the trip to L.A. Other than a slight flight delay, we had no problems with our connection and soon enough we were on our 13-hour flight to Los Angeles. And what did I do that entire flight? You guessed it...more movies! I watched True Grit, Memento, Hunger Games, and American Reunion, and was once again grateful for modern airplane technology allowing me to have something to keep my mind off the fact that I couldn't sleep on planes!
We arrived in L.A., and at this point we knew we would be going through customs since we were back in the states. We had a relatively short layover in L.A., and with our previous flight being slightly delayed, we were a bit worried about catching our final flight to San Diego. The line was incredibly long, and we knew we were in trouble, but then the airport employees gave us a bright orange form for connecting flights and allowed us to bypass the long line and make our way straight to baggage claim, where we waited for our luggage. And waited. And waited. After the same ugly blue duffel bag went around the luggage carousel for the 30th time, we realized our stuff was not on the plane, but we were inching closer to our flight time, so we asked to file a luggage claim, to which we were told we had to wait to file it until we got back to our home city (San Diego). We raced to the next terminal over (where our flight was), and got on the very short flight to S.D., knowing that we had some issues to resolve when we got into town with no luggage. We took off quickly and within an hour we were landing safely at Lindbergh Field in San Diego (around 6pm).
While Julie's mom patiently waited for us, we went to the airline office and filed our claim, to which they said they found the luggage in their system (in Atlanta) and would track the luggage and have it delivered to us the next morning. How it got to Atlanta, we have no idea (probably a Paris to Atlanta flight), but we were overjoyed knowing that our stuff was not lost and that we would only be without it for about 12 hours. The better news was we had everything we needed ot get by for the day, since we were both due back at work the next morning.
Julie's mom drove us home, knowing we were too exhausted to talk about all the details of the trip, so she let us just kind of sit and idly chat about the wedding and how nice it was to be back home. And then she dropped us off, we walked up to our front door, and walked in to find all of our wedding presents still waiting to be opened! A joyous sight for Julie, and a slightly overwhelming feeling for me, opening presents would have to wait for another day, as we both were ready to crash. At 7:30pm my wife was asleep, and I wasn't very far behind her. And thus our trip ended just how it started that first day in Athens...exhausted, happy and ready for a good night's sleep.
It was the best trip of my life, and I did it with my best friend. And I definitely have the travel bug now. And wherever I go, I'll be sure to bring my travel agent wife, along with the newest addition of the LP Bible.
There ya have it! Greece, blog-style!