After quite a long day of travelling I’ve been back home again here in Karnes City in southern Texas since (fairly late) last night. This is my itinerary for my return trip:
- 04:50 dep. Hersel, Clarenweg, [bus line 604] for Bonn, Stadthaus. This, btw, was the first bus in the morning, and a very “unchristian” time for me, but it had to be.
- 05:12 arr. Bonn, Stadthaus
- 05:19 dep. Bonn Stadthaus [tram, line 66] for Siegburg, train station
- 05:42 arr. Siegburg
- 06:11 dep. Siegburg [“flight” LH 3601 = ICE train] for Frankfurt/Flughafen (Fernbahnhof)
- 06:51 arr. Frankfurt [The ICE train really is the best and fastest way to get to Frankfurt Airport from Cologne or Siegburg: no wonder that Lufthansa has cancelled all flights between Cologne and Frankfurt airports.]
- 09:40 dep. Frankfurt [LH 440] for Houston
- 13:50 arr. Houston
- 15:30 dep. Houston [UA 1725] for San Antonio
- 16:39 arr. San Antonio
It really was quite along day, as I had woken up at around 2:15 a.m. on Wednesday morning and hadn’t dared to go to bed again for fear I might not hear the alarm, which I had set for 3:15 a.m. Here in Karnes City we immediately drove to Barth’s in Kenedy for some supper [BBQ again, yeah! ;)], and after that, of course, sat together for a while at home to chat, so that I only got to bed [on the plane I had only been able to nap a little for a few times] after 11 p.m. local time, which makes it after 6 a.m. German time, resulting in around 28 hours of being awake. But even if that was quite a long time, the trip wasn’t too tiring and it was fast, too, as all the connections were very punctual.
With hindsight I could easily have taken the next train from Siegburg [one hour later] and thus have slept one hour longer, since, as I was travelling on a weekday outside of the holiday season, there wasn’t any real wait anywhere in Frankfurt. I could have allowed for that, of course. But I always like to do things without rushing and you never know if the German trains run on time, and I really didn’t want to miss my flight to Houston. I’d rather be twiddling my thumbs for a while in Frankfurt! Well, I didn’t actually twiddle my thumbs too much: I had my second breakfast at the airport and then, at the gate, spent my time reading. In Frankfurt I had, btw, a surprise waiting for me at the security checkpoint: I had forgotten to take my anti-thrombosis injection before showing up at security and thus still had the syringe on me, a fact I only realized when emptying my pockets and when quite a few of my things already were on the conveyor belt through the scanner. But the official there simply told me to put the syringe through the scanner, too, since it was medication I needed on the trip, and they really did let it pass. Which was fine by me as I really didn’t want not to take that injection. An additional advantage was the fact that thus I could give myself that injection only shortly before boarding.
For Houston I should possibly have planned more time to change planes and book a later flight [they fly about every hour] to San Antonio, as with the long-winded immigration procedure plus a second security check I did have to hurry some to get my flight to San Antonio. When I arrived at the departure gate, boarding had already begun.
As to the immigration procedure in Houston: it begins with quite a long walk [the same as in Frankfurt, btw] from the gate to the customs and immigration area. In addition to that [although I’m not absolutely certain as on my way out from Houston to Frankfurt they seemed to have two jetway bridges] they only had one jetway – if I got that correctly – for more than 500 passengers. Leaving the plane therefore took quite a while. I Frankfurt, btw, we had three of these jetway bridges to board the plane. In the customs and immigration area in Houston I at first entertained some hope that it might be fast even if by far nor all the lines were open as there were not so many people in the line for American citizens and residents. But since, as it quite often is the case, I was in the wrong line again – “wrong” line meaning one that turned out to have many “questionable” cases that took a long(er) time to solve, I did have to wait some time. For myself luckily it didn’t take long. They did take my fingerprints and also a photo, but there was no long questioning, only what had been the purpose of my visiting Germany. I might rather have not mentioned that, among other things, it had been to see doctors, as that only led to the question if I was bringing in medicine(s) and how much. But my answer, “about a month’s supply”, seemed to satisfy the immigration officer. A further delay – but I knew about that – is always caused by the fact that your luggage is not being checked through to your final destination because [as always at your port of entry in the US] you have to get it through customs there so that you need to get it at the baggage claim, take it through customs and then check it again. Even if that normally doesn’t take long and the distances aren’t far at all, it does mean some delay. But what I can’t understand at all is the fact that one has to pass another security check even if one hasn’t left the security zone. And since there are transit passengers as well as new arrivals who only start their journeys there are sometimes quite a few and long queues and thus, even if the personnel of the TSA [Transport Security Agency] really try to speed things up, quite a delay sometimes. Well, I did manage to get to my gate in time, even if quite sweaty. What really was a help was the fact that it was only a short distance to my departure gate in terminal E.
What I hadn’t expected at all, considering the short transit time I had in Houston: my checked duffel arrived together with me in San Antonio. That is not always usual, judging from my previous travels.
That much about my trip back from Germany to here.
About my experience flying the Airbus A380 I’ll post some pother time.
Um diesen Artikel in Deutsch zu lesen, hier klicken.
- Suitcase Packed (pitstexasexpatblog.wordpress.com)