Back to Europe

Wednesday, July 29, 2020 at 11:23 (UTC+0200)

After five months apart from my beloved Karen it was finally time to get back to her.  My understanding was that, while the European Union was still not accepting American travelers, the UK (now separate due to Brexit) would allow me to come in as long as I went into fourteen days of quarantine.  I decided to go for it.

Tuesday morning, during a heat wave, Pappy drove me, and my shocking amount of luggage, to SeaTac International Airport.  I managed to haul and shove everything up to the special check-in counter for people embarking on questionable trips.  They accepted my checked baggage and handed me boarding passes.  First step!

Next I wrestled my carry-ons through the security line.  The officer who checked my ID also made a comment about my "strange" transit through Amsterdam: why wasn't I changing planes in London?  I told him this way was cheaper.  But later I began to worry: since Amsterdam is in the EU, would I be stopped and not allowed to proceed to my second flight to Edinburgh?

After two hours waiting at the gate I boarded my first flight.  It was maybe half full.  I had a large young guy sitting right next to me.  He and his friends spoke some Slavic language, and were not taking their masks very seriously.  Most of them had their noses sticking out, and one guy just wore his on his chin.  I quickly switched into one of the N95 masks Pappy had supplied to me, and fretted about nine hours stuffed in like sardines with uncareful people.  And then the little girl directly behind me started kicking my seat.

But I was so glad to be finally airborne, heading back to Europe!  We rose above Seattle, and cut to the right just in time to catch spectacular views of Mount Baker (and I said "I'm still gonna climb that sucker!").  The little girl kicked my chair every five or ten minutes for the whole flight, just as I would doze off, and the Russian next to me fell asleep against me like a girlfriend.  But I was so glad to be on my way!

Schiphol Airport near Amsterdam was calm and uncrowded.  Good food was available, as well as free WiFi.  And there was no drama with border control since I did not need to leave the gate area.  So here I am enjoying another nine hours of layover before the fateful return to the UK and my next encounter with the Border Force...