Sunday, November 25, 2012

David & Kim's Big Adventure

Before I go into the trials & tribulations of our recent trip I do want to entice you with a photo from our trip ~
One of my favorite people is in the floral business & asked that we take pictures of flower shops during our trip.  It's ahrd to believe that this is on the street in Vienna.

Now I can tell you all about our recent adventure.  We had tickets to fly from Newark, NJ to Berlin, Germany & on to Vienna, Austria on 10/31/12.  Is anybody making the connection?  Newark, NJ - 10/31/12..... That's right ~> Hurricane/SuperStorm Sandy week.  Since we'd been watching the weather we figured that flying out of Newark would be a no-go.  We contacted Lufthansa several times on Thursday, Friday & Saturday beforehand & said, "we are ready & willing to fly early, but we have to get to Vienna."  Their response, "wait".  Finally - on Saturday we decided that waiting was not the answer & we booked a flight on Aer Lingus from Boston to Vienna & planned to deal with Lufthansa later.  Our trip over went smoothly (we did have to cancel our airport parking in Newark & find a hotel for the 1st half of the week in Vienna, but we made it work).  Leaving our house on short notice was a little scary since we didn't know if our house would be hit by the storm or if we'd lose power, etc.  We just had to believe that all would be ok.  We arrived in Vienna & began exploring.  The weather was cold, cold, cold, but we layered the clothes we had, figured out the public transportation & went all over lovely Vienna.  On one day we decided to take a tour to Prague.  It had been on my list of "places to see" & was everything I'd imagined.  It's an enchanting place & I hope to return in the future.
On Saturday we picked up the boat for our Danube River Cruise.  The weather continued to be cold & dreary, but our spirits were high.  We met several people on this trip that were both fun & funny & the time flew by.  We traveled on the Danube from Vienna to Nuremberg.  We would recommend a river cruise to anyone that wants an easy-going pace, lots of stops along the way & good views (when it wasn't foggy). 
After a week we disembarked & began our week in Bavaria.  David was determined that every day would be an adventure & he was particularly interested in going to Lichtenstein.  By the end of the week we'd covered Lichtenstein, Switzerland, Austria & pretty good chunk of Germany.  He did lots of driving on the Autobahns & adjusted to the no speed limit as though he were born to it.  The food was wonderful & filling.
After an adventurous week in southern Germany it was time to head to Berlin.  We had checked our flight from Berlin to Newark previously & it showed online as confirmed.  The flight on 10/31 had taken off, but we wouldn't have been able to get to Newark with the roads/bridges being closed.  When we arrived in Berlin we attempted to do online check-in (required within 24 hours of flying).  The results - no reservation on file.  OH NO!  We called Lufthansa (in Germany) & I spoke to an agent that informed me we'd been "no shows" on the first leg of the ticket.  As such - they had canceled our reservations.  If we wanted to get on the flight they would sell us one way tickets at $2985. PER PERSON.  I couldn't imagine that we were being asked to pay for tickets that we'd already purchased.  She suggested that we just cancel the first reservation & book roundtrip tickets to Berlin & then not return.  That wasn't going to work.  I did my best to calmly explain about the storm & where we live in relation to Newark, NJ.  She put me on hold a couple of times & finally came back to say that because of the storm - we could fly on our original reservation.  I still have to plead our case with Lufthansa for a credit/refund for the first leg, but wanted to do it from the US.
Our trip was an adventure from start to finish, but we came back with wonderful memories & our house weathered the storm.  All of our family was able to reassure us (as we watched CNN from Vienna) that they were fine.  Thank heavens for email.

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