It takes three flights to get from Peoria to Basel. Peoria to Detroit, Detroit to Amsterdam, and Amsterdam to Basel. The longest flight is less than 8 hours, but when you add in layovers, red-eye flights, lost strollers, and less English than I expected, it makes for a long trip.
We are very lucky. Genevieve loves to fly. She was so excited to go on the airplane. In fact, when we landed in Basel and made it to our hotel, she asked if we could get on another airplane. A few extra factors were in our favor, though. G has tubes in her ears, so the changes in pressure don’t faze her. She loves to read and she loves stickers, both of which are activities that don’t bother anyone else on the plane. We have an iPad which I loaded up with games for her (Endless Alphabet for the win!) and Disney’s Brave. And the in-flight entertainment for our long flight had Mary Poppins, Frozen, and How to Train Your Dragon 2. She was totally set.
We also spent time on every flight reading the emergency procedure card and pointing out various aunts, uncles, and cousins in the pictures.
We were counting on G sleeping on the long flight because it’s overnight and she didn’t really nap on the first leg. We ended up having to play Frozen on repeat and making her lay on me, threatening to turn the movie off every time she sat up. It worked. Which left me free to do one of my favorite things on an airplane:
I love watching the plane’s progress. I watched it a lot less on this flight, though, because the “flying over a large body of water” concept freaked me out more than I expected. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that Andy and I have been binge-watching Lost.
The Amsterdam airport… I don’t really have anything good to say about the Amsterdam airport. It was huge, everything was far away, they misplaced our stroller, and G fell and got hurt while we were waiting for our flight. Nothing like realizing that you’re overseas and uninsured! She was fine, although finding ice to help with her swelling was predictably difficult. Damn the Europeans and their aversion to iced beverages! At least we got our first introduction to hilarious snack foods.
Although that did little to prepare us for the in-flight snacks we were offered on our KLM flight. The flight attendant was asking everyone, “Biscuits or nachos?” Andy and I looked at each other, totally confused. These options make no sense with each other! Nachos on the airplane? First thing in the morning? WTF, KLM? Little did we know, this is a “nacho.”
This is just the first of many examples to come that Europeans have different definitions of things that we in the States take to be self-explanatory. (Biscuits, btw, were two stroopwafels with caramel in the middle.)
In the end, we touched down in Basel. It was a long day of travel, but the weather was lovely when we deplaned, and we couldn’t wait to eat, nap, and explore the city. Absolutely in that order.