Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Halfway around the world and back again

I thought I had published this entry on 9th Feb as per the heading, but somehow I managed to delete it from the blog during editing, so here it is about three and a half weeks later than intended!

As I mentioned last time I have travel scheduled for half of February. My first trip was to Lithuania, specifically to the Baltic coast. There is no quick route so, on Monday afternoon I flew first to Chicago, then overnight to London Heathrow in England, arriving Tuesday morning, where I waited 6 hours for a plane to Copenhagen in Denmark, there I should have only had a 3 hour layover, but that eventually became 5 hours after technical issues with the plane (something to do with a door!). I finally exited my destination airport at 3 a.m. local time on Wednesday morning or 8 p.m. EST, and arrived at the hotel half an hour later, 27 hours after my first plane took off and 37 1/2 hours after my alarm went off at home on Monday morning. Rarely has a hotel bedroom looked so inviting!  During my outward travel I completed knitting one scarf, started another and also continued with a summer weight sweater for my grandson. This is the back pinned out on my ironing board after I got home.

I had been expecting to be met by cold weather but by the time I arrived it was a balmy 6°C, as opposed to the -15°C of two weeks earlier! Strong gusty winds, grey and wet are in some ways better than 2 feet of snow and bitter cold, especially as there would almost certainly have been a cutting wind with that too.  However I was still very glad not to be out in it for more than a few minutes at a time.  After I had completed the job I had flown out to do I had a couple of hours on Thursday afternoon to wander around Klaipeda by which time the wind had dropped and the sun had come out. This is one of the older buildings in the town.

Now for the important bit of the travelogue: the food! My chosen hotel was home to an Armenian restaurant and the dishes were excellent. I enjoyed salads that had never seen a lettuce leaf in their existence, aromatically spiced meats served with fragrant fluffy rice and a delicious filo, honey and pistachio dessert.  Definitely a cuisine to investigate further.

Travelling home on the Friday I essentially reversed my route, though with shorter stopovers at the various airports along the way. The icing on the cake for the journey home was clearing immigration at Chicago O'Hare in about 10 minutes (as opposed to the, at least, 2 hours it took me on one previous trip) and being able to catch an earlier plane for my final flight, getting both me and my luggage home 4 hours earlier than expected!  More knitting on the homeward legs led to completed scarves for my sons.

An unexpected bonus on the transatlantic flight was flying over the southern tip of Greenland - only the second time I have done that in 20 years of travel between Europe and the USA.