November 2 – Thursday

Was awake and up by 6:00, and Colin and the doggies walked me to the metro/train station to get the bus to the airport before 7:00. They stayed and waited until the bus left – I’m sure going to miss them!

Got to the airport in plenty of time, to find out that the flight to Toronto was almost 1 1/2 hours late. While I was waiting I got a nice Italian cappuccino, which I managed to spill all over the table, floor and my camera case when the case got caught on the table as I was trying to put my cup down. A lady at the next table gave me a couple of wet-wipes, and the cleaning lady was right there with her clothe and mop – all cleaned up in no time, although no nice cappuccino for me.

2C06D44E-8822-45D9-B5DC-994ED8D142D0The flight seemed very long – around 9 1/2 hours. They fed us a meal – the lady next to me got the last of the chicken so I got pasta by default – not too bad, although the ‘salad’ of mixed veggies was questionable. After a few more hours they came by again with some heated panini-type things that weren’t too bad – she gave us a veggie one each, then said they had some chicken ones left also so we each got a second one.

Got to Toronto with lots of time to catch the flight to Vancouver. They didn’t give us anything at all on the 5 1/2 hour flight – I could have bot something at inflated prices but figured I’d already spent enough on the flight and they weren’t going to get any more from me.

Landed a few minutes late, but okay for catching the final flight home. A couple of earlier flights had been cancelled due to the weather in Kelowna and ours was completely full with several folks waiting on stand-by. I was in seat 13A, so followed the rows to the back only to see that the last row was 12 – was I sitting in the galley (maybe on top of the wine cooler?!?). Nooo – the 13th row is right at the front – facing row 1, which makes a lot of sense – right? A really tall fellow sat next to me, but I leaned against the wall on my left and tried to sleep.

The pilot’s little speech was not reassuring – he said that right now the visibility for landing was not good, but they were going to hope it cleared a bit as we flew – it didn’t. We must have been just about there when he came on again to inform us that it had gotten worse and we were turning back to Vancouver.

As soon as we re-entered the terminal we all headed to the information desk where we were given pamphlets with a number to call to re-book our flights – I scurried to a pay phone and the first flight I could get isn’t until Saturday morning so I booked it, then ran to get the bag I’d checked in Rome – at least it was there and hadn’t been left in Toronto or something.

Found another pay phone and called Dominic – he knew the flight had been cancelled as he was at the airport to pick me up but, of course, I wasn’t there. Realized that face-time hadn’t worked for me as I still had my ipad on ‘airplane mode’ so switched that off so I wouldn’t have to use the pay phone anymore.

Dominic checked the highway news – some of the roads had been closed because of the storm earlier in the day. The really nice guy at the arrivals information desk let me plug my ipad in to his power outlet, and got the highway map up on his computer also – it showed that the Connector was closed, but Hwy 3 should be ok, so Dominic was going to hop in the car to come get me.

My 21 hour trip home just got a lot longer, so I headed to Tim Horton’s on the upper floor for some coffee to keep me awake. Several other folks doing the same thing, only they have flights for Friday morning, not Saturday. I asked for a cappuccino, and told them I’d just come back from Italy (the land of great coffee) so they better make it extra good – they did what they could, but it’s just not the same.

I managed to stay awake until Dominic arrived just before 8:00 Friday morning. The highway had been hell to drive – black ice everywhere, and snow blowing sideways making visibility almost zero.

But – he made it and was it ever good to see him coming towards me in the airport. Headed back immediately – roads were much better now. Stopped at Starbucks in Chilliwack for coffee and a bite to eat – took the Coquihalla which was in much better shape than it had been in the night.

9E1091F2-6890-4BED-B4B9-D3A09E4F56D2My first glimpse of the Lake as we came around the bend on the Connector was beautiful, as usual, despite (or maybe partially because of) the snow. The cold here was almost shocking to me – two days ago I was wearing shorts while walking along the sea. I hope this isn’t what it’s going to be like for the next four months.

Arrived home after about 38 hours of traveling – just exhausted. The kitties both were wary of me when I first walked in and ended up scooting out the window, but that didn’t last long. By the time I had showered and unpacked a bit Sly was ready to cuddle, and Merlin was squeaking for combs – home sweet home!

My trip was, overall, a resounding success – I enjoyed (almost) every minute, and had many wonderful experiences. Meeting Colin in Italy in the first week or so was a great coincidence (if you believe in them!) and the whole six months would have been considerably different for me if he hadn’t been so kind and generous towards me and allowed me to travel with him and the doggies – a huge thank you to him, and hope to see them again next May!

THE END – or at least bye for now. Look for Sally’s European Adventure – take 3 coming to a blog near you next May.


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