Ok, Rome airport (FCO) was the worst. There were moments when I honestly considered chucking my plans and somehow getting back to Sicily. Anything to get out of that airport. But getting to Sicily probably meant I’d still have to fly, so… I toughed it out. And sometimes life throws the worst at you right up front and then calms down. The remaining flights and airports have not been bad. Though, I keep waiting for all hell to break lose at any moment.
Frankfurt was much more what I had in mind. Honestly, Germans are always so organized. Structured. I love this about them. For as much as my Italian friends told me I looked Italian, they also repeatedly told me to relax. I’m German. Relaxing does not come naturally to me. I’m a planner. I’m always on time. Yes, I’m laughing. It is both a point of pride and a curse.
So, flying through Frankfurt during Covid-19 wasn’t crazy at all. Nothing even remotely similar to Rome. Looked like all the terminals were open. (Unlike in Rome where they had shut down all terminals but one. This effectively means squeezing everyone into one terminal causing crowds and chaos.) Everyone was wearing masks and for the most part, due to less crowding, people maintained a reasonable amount of distance.
Luftansa also boarded all window seats first. Nicely done! Much appreciated. What I didn’t expect, however, was to have the seat next to me taken. I honestly had hoped due to Covid, for a trans-Atlantic flight, every other seat would be filled. Good news is that the flight was not filled, so my row companion moved up and we both had space.
Then Toronto. Canadians are VERY serious about Covid at the airport. Maybe because they’re so close to the U.S. Kinda like sitting next to Pigpen on the school bus – makes you just a bit fastidious about trying to stay clean. I was instructed three times after deplaning to quarantine for 14 days. And that’s before I even spoke to the immigration agent! Seriously, it was a good thing I changed my hotels plans and booked a room at the airport Sheraton. Every agent, guard, or whomever it was in a uniform that I passed, asked to see verification of where I was staying and when I was leaving.
Instead of going through customs once I reached the States, I was shuffled through US Dept of Homeland Security in Toronto before boarding my flight to Houston. The line wasn’t long, which was good, but there was only 1 agent and the interview was very thorough. She mentioned having my bag pulled (it was already checked) to ensure I wasn’t transporting produce or plants (I am not making this up), but either I was convincing (I mean, who makes up my story, right?) or the ticking of the clock finally got the better of her, and she let me go. I made it to my gate just on time.
So far Houston has not been bad. They’re even handing out free cloth face masks. Yet so much is closed. It’s a bit eerie.
I found the chapel and took a nap.
Soon I’ll board my flight for Tulsa. Tonight, after 4 months (17 weeks), I’ll sleep in my own bed. Still not ready to believe that until it actually happens. If 2020 has taught us anything, expect the unexpected. And be grateful for every gift.
I am definitely grateful. Very, very, grateful. And maybe more than just a bit tired. 😉