Before I begin, I’d like to remind you, if you haven’t been here for a while, that if you leave a comment on the Day 5 post celebrating my 500th post, your name will go in the bag for my giveaway draw.
Another Travel Story:
Last week I shared my story of a rather amazing trip I took a few decades ago. Well, ten years later, I made a similar trip. I had inherited some money and one thing I did for myself was to return to Virginia in June. No camping this time; I love camping, but I wanted something different. So I booked one night in a hotel, but nothing else. I was prepared to camp again if I had to. Plan Z, I call it, this ‘what I will do if all else fails’. I’ve never had to implement a Plan Z, but I feel better when I have one.
This time, getting there was much of the adventure: It was significantly cheaper to fly from SeaTac (between Seattle and Tacoma) than from Vancouver, BC. So I offered to pay my younger son and his girlfriend enough for them to have a weekend away for a change and they drove me to the airport. Well, we decided to leave a bit early and stop for breakfast on the way. Except we forgot it was Sunday and we were on the freeway. In the end, we left the freeway and finally found a place that was open. After a more hurried breakfast than we’d have liked, we resumed our trip. Traffic was bad and we were held up a few times, possibly due to accidents. In the end we arrived at the airport at exactly the time my plane was due to take off. I wasn’t worried, and I told the ‘kids’ so; I urged them to go on their way, reminding them that things have a way of working out for me. But my daughter-in-law was not budging. She insisted on staying with the car and sent my son with me to make sure I was ok. When we got to the desk, we found that the plane had not taken off, due to problems with the landing gear . . . So they checked me in and we said goodbye and my son left, likely still worried a bit.
Things continued to unfold . . . because I was so late, they had given away my seat and there was nothing left in the economy class, where I usually fly. But there was room in first class. Hmmmm
And apparently I was to be treated as well as if I had paid for it. Nice. Only, I had a very sore throat (I used to get laryngitis frequently back then) and was unable to swallow anything but some warm water. I could have had a drink or two otherwise.
We sat on the tarmac for several hours, then were asked to disembark, as the problem with the landing gear was still not solved. No worries; I didn’t really want to fly with flaky landing gear, anyway. Although I did love the leg room!
So off we went; me holding back because some passengers were in a huge rush; they were trying to get to New York or other big cities where they had to catch a connecting flight to Europe or the like.
By the time I arrived at the booking desk, the poor staff looked so stressed; passengers were upset and shoving, raising their voices and so on. I felt that if I missed the evening sign-in at the conference, it wasn’t the end of the world; if they missed a connection, it might be the end for them. So when I got to the head of the line, I told the young woman that I didn’t have to be in Virginia exactly on time, so long as I got there eventually. And I told her she could send me anywhere, the more unique the place, the better, as I do love an adventure! Her relief and gratitude were almost tangible. So she booked me through to Minneapolis, where I would stay in the Embassy Suites hotel. Now that’s a very nice hotel and it really was a suite. I ordered room service for my supper, as I’d not had lunch and it was late in the evening by then.
After a good night’s sleep I took time to look out my window. Across the street was a huge military graveyard, with row upon row of white crosses. The sight has stayed with me all these years.
Shortly after, I went down to the dining room for my complimentary breakfast. Some of you may have stayed in places like this, but I hadn’t; there was a large room with cooking and serving stations all around in an oval shape. I could have had a Korean breakfast, a Japanese breakfast . . . you get the idea.
Then it was time to return to the airport and continue on my way. The flight went smoothly and I was soon landing at Norfolk. I forgot to tell you last week that on my first flight here a decade before we flew through a huge lightning and thunder storm. It felt like being on a roller coaster; lucky for me I love roller coasters! But we made it safely and the sight of lightning flashing all around was truly spectacular.
I spent my first night in the fancy hotel, on the 17th floor, in a room that faced East. I left the curtains open and woke to the most incredible sunrise ever; a huge red sun rising out of the Atlantic Ocean, right in front of my eyes! I shall never forget the sight.
The next day I learned that there was a beach cottage informally called the Canadian Cottage and that one of the ladies had been unable to come at the last minute. I was offered her room and, of course, accepted. It was right next to the beach and when we crossed the street to the west, we were at the conference. I suppose one could call this serendipity at its best.
I had a great time, renewing acquaintances from the previous trip (the couple I’d stayed with before had moved out of state, so I was unable to visit them) and meeting new people. This time, thanks to my inheritnce, I was able to be more supportive of the organization and I bought a few souvenirs and some raffle tickets.
Did I mention that I had booked this flight for three weeks, also? I did. and I met the nicest volunteer there and we hit it off immediately. She invited me to stay with her for the last two weeks and we had such a good time, visiting historic sites and places of interest to me. The only hitch was spending a day at the beach when it was very overcast, but warm. My new friend fell asleep and I was reluctant to wake her. I ended up with the worst sunburn I’d ever had. Fortunately, this was the day before I had to go back to BC, so it didn’t spoil my visit. But three days later you could still feel the heat in my arm.
There is more to this story, but I’ll continue it either next Saturday or the one after that.
I wish you all some time for relaxation and creativity today.
Music: I’ve been enjoying Selma’s posts on Norwegian Nisse, and I always think of dwarves as larger cousins of the Nisse. Here is Edvard Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King” from Peer Gynt. This is the first piece of classical music I ever heard and I still recall how vividly the images of dwarves marching underground were in my mind’s eye. It’s a bit rousing, so here is an antidote, also by Grieg: