Sunday, July 6, 2014

Day 16 - The Voyage Home

Today we got up frightfully early for our trip home.  We assembled in the hotel lobby around 2:45 a.m.(-ish) and loaded up the bus.  The hotel had thoughtfully prepared snack bags for each of us upon checkout -- juice, an apple, and a couple of sandwiches. We were blocking the narrow street in front of the hotel but due to the hour it didn't become an issue until just before we were ready to leave.  We finally pulled out for the airport at 3:05.

We got to the airport about 3:40 a.m. and bid a last farewell to Juraj and Jaroslav, then went into the aiport and got our boarding passes.  We had a long wait before we were able to check our bags in (like, 4:30 a.m.) and the staff were being a lot more finicky about bags than we had experienced coming the other direction.  They asked to see our  carryon bags and weren't satisfied with some of them so there was some last minute rearranging or checking of bags which was frustrating.  Finally we were through, and then through security and got to the gate about half an hour before boarding our KLM flight to Amsterdam.

The flight was short and reasonably smooth. On arrival at Schiphol we had to basically retrace our steps from when we arrived there 15 days previous.  Our layover was much shorter, though, just a couple of hours.  After a trip through passport control and a Bio-Technical break (and some shopping for some of us) we went through security (again) and finally boarded the plane and headed back to PDX.

The flight was mostly uneventful other than a little bit of turbulence at one point and a very upset baby.  We arrived at PDX about half an hour early (wow!), went through customs etc. and collected our bags and then proceeded to do a lot of hugging and good-bying before we parted and went our separate ways.

For me this trip was a wonderful opportunity and so much fun.  The chance to sing with my friends again and to enjoy seeing such amazing sights with people I really like was terrific and something I will always treasure.

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