10 hours, 40 minutes is a long time on a plane. No kidding.

20140803-121949-44389503.jpgAs I write this, my iPad tells me it’s 11:24 pm. My watch, set to arrival in Frankfurt, Germany time, informs me it’s really 8:24 am. My head says it just doesn’t care.

I did my research ahead of time and read that “heading east” over several time zones is the toughest adjustment to make. Having no experience other than today, I agree.

At first the flight was an adventure. Mom and I scootched into our seats (she on the aisle, me next to her (with two strangers to my right). Hmmm…more room on this Lufthansa 747 than in the Hawaiian Airline planes I’m used to flying on for my only other experience in long flights. More leg room, seat bottoms with enough padding and nifty seat back entertainment. But that screen…it is just the perfect distance from my eyes to make my glasses ineffective unless I tilt my chin up and look down through the lenses. I take the glasses off.

The intended plan was to set our watches to Amsterdam time (nine hours ahead) as we board and “act” like it was really that time. Great plan. Tough execution. With a 3:05 pm departure time in Los Angeles, that meant we should be “behaving” like it was just after midnight. Right. Hop into your seat and fall asleep immediately. Not gonna work.

The flight attendants didn’t help, bringing by drinks, little pretzel/cracker snack bags and then a full meal (I chose the pasta, ‘should have had the chicken; it came with mashed potatoes and gravy and I *love* mashed potatoes). Sigh.

Those in our row eat like a quartet of Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaurs: we each carefully tuck our elbows into our sides so as not to bump into the stranger next to us and carefully bring the pasta/chicken/salad/bun up to our faces with elbows bent at tight angles.

Warmed washcloths were passed out next, along with sherry or Bailey’s Cream. I opted out of the liquor and popped another “No-Jet-Lag” pill. That should definitely soothe and put me to sleep. Nope. Do you think those little pills are actually Tic-Tacs going icognito (at five times the price)?

I tucked my head into my pillow, pulled up my pashmina to my chin, slid the turquoise eyeshades (hey, they match my pashmina!) over my head and readied myself for a nice sleep. Hawaiian music played softly in my earbuds and I curled up, waiting for a timely visit from Mr. Sandman. And waited. And waited.

Lifting the eyeshades off I glanced at the monitor in front of Mom (I’d turned mine off). What? We had seven hours and 11 minutes left? We were only over the midwestern US???

I’m a patient lady. I lowered my eyeshades (do you think the turquoise color was entertaining for my fellow passengers?) and headed for some more shut-eye. I was careful to keep leaning to my left, where Mom sat. On the other side was a nice young guy from Austin, heading to Ghana for three weeks to do an economics internship. He likes action movies. We share foot space. I don’t really need to know him any better than that so I continue leaning left as I struggle to sleep.

Okay, by now I’m certain we’re surely over Ireland and almost there. I peek out again. Other passengers are bleary-eyed, watching videos; some are frustratingly sleeping calmly. Show-offs.

Mom’s screen still shows our plane’s location. And the time remaining in the flight: four hours and 52 minutes. Egads!

I give up and watch a movie (“Bend it Like Beckham”). I turn on the “flight exercise” program on and do ankle circles, shoulder shrugs and lift up my head “like a marionette on strings” to the animated instructions on screen.

As I write this, we have one hour and 48 minutes left. My excitement right now is that I see the flight attendant walking down the aisle, passing out more of those warm washcloths. I rejoice. Has life dropped to this level? A moist paper washcloth, heated in a microwave and handed to with little tweezers by a German woman is a thrill.

At this point, it’s those small pleasures.

(Posting this from Frankfurt Airport; we have a 2-hour layover. See, we made it off that plane!





Categories: Uncategorized | 13 Comments

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13 thoughts on “10 hours, 40 minutes is a long time on a plane. No kidding.

  1. Julie Matthews

    Looking forward to following along as you take the river cruise we are doing late September. I enjoy your writing style – thank you for your blog. It sounds like your cup is always half full & you and your mom will have a great time – now matter what the water levels or locks are doing.


    • Thanks, Julie. I’m looking forward to that river cruise portion, too. The Viking Helvetia is docked just below our hotel here in Amsterdam–I don’t *think* it’s one of the newest longships, it just doesn’t look like the pix I remember from the Viking website–but I’ll tell you even it looks a lot longer than I’d thought! Are you doing a pre- or post-trip on your cruise? Amsterdam seems pretty interesting (the sun didn’t set until after 9:25 pm); we’ll see more of it tomorrow.


  2. First of all, I’m impressed at your packing skills. That really is packing light.

    The first thing about your flight that would drive me nuts is your seats. I’ve never taken an international flight in the middle bank of seatsโ€”I always book one of the pairs of seats on the aisle. Sitting next to a stranger for 8+ hours while I’m trying to sleep is not my idea of a vacation ๐Ÿ™‚

    Probably a good idea to skip the alcohol (based on everything I’ve read), although I wonder if a glass of wine would help me sleep ๐Ÿ™‚

    So excited to see your updates once you’ve had the chance to get some shuteye in a comfortable bed ๐Ÿ™‚


    • No choice on the seats, Liz. We booked through Viking and no upgrades were available. Seat configuration was 3-4-3. I’m just glad we weren’t the two *middle* seats in middle bank!

      ‘Looking forward to that comfortable bed–I’m looking across the room right now at it and will tumble in momentarily. We’re at Moevenpick Hotel on the Amsterdam Harbor. Three river boats (one is the Viking Helvetia) are just below our 15th floor room.

      (I did have half a glass of “sparkling wine”/half a glass of orange juice on the plane. Didn’t seem to add or detract from sleep pursual)


  3. Karen Baker

    Well the first leg has me laughing…what a flight! I am wondering how your day will go without no sleep…or is it night time now for you….I got lost on the time stuff ha ha. Love your writing style and can’t wait til the next message arrives! Thanks.


    • Yep, nighttime it is. I’m more than happy to have my jammies on and be headed for bed. What a day–but Amsterdam is vibrant and alive with activity and people. And every one of them seems to speak English. But I’m mastering “please” and “thank you” in Dutch (the former is much harder than the latter; I’ll just keep a smile on my face when I try saying it).


  4. Betty Maxey

    Watch for the Eistla at the dock; that’s the ship we are booked on. We just got our flight info, like you we are doing that through Viking. Our flight from Budapest at the end of the trip leaves at 6:30am, more or less- my goodness that’s early. But since Viking made the arrangements, and is responsible for transfers, I guess we will get to the airport on time. Disembarking from a big cruise ship can take forever, but with only 180 passengers I am sure it will be easier.
    Are you going to the concert in Vienna? I want to either do the one that Viking offers, or go somewhere independently. I’m not sure which. Opinion?


    • Linda Graessle

      OK ladies, I am new to this blog but am traveling on the Atla on Oct. 28 Amsterdam to Budapest. This wwill be our first river cruise so I am very interested in seeing how everyone’s travels go. We are at the same hotel as Ukalady. What do you think of the distance into town? We are booked through Viking for air transport also. Pretty straight flight to Amsterdam from Houston but on the way back we have to fly from budapest to Amsterdam to Detroit to Houston. Tried to change but they were having none of it. Please keep posting.


    • dagmar

      Hi ukalady,
      I hope all is going well for you and I can’t wait to hear how your trip is going. I will be doing the reverse trip with my mother on September 23rd on the Kvasir. We’re starting off with Viking’s pre-cruise in Prague and then being motorcoached to Budapest. I would be interested in hearing about what you do in Budapest and how extensive the Viking tour is. I’m hoping to get to the Gellert baths and go spice shopping.
      Julie, which ship are you on?
      Betty, My mother and I were in Vienna a couple of years ago and there are a huge number of “special” Mozart concerts around. You see so many men in cheesy18th Century attire (pretending to be Mozart) around the Opera House selling tickets to tourists for performances at various venues. We were certainly not tempted. But, check out the Opera House website because they may have a performance on that evening that you’d be interested in. Additionally I believe there are SRO places for peanuts if you have the stamina. But on the other hand, I think most people who do the Viking concert are happy they did except possibly for the price of the concert. and that the venue they go to is very hot ( not air-conditioned) in summer. I do however, recommend visiting Schonbrunn Palace. It is spectacular and the gardens are amazing. There’s even a zoo there. We won’t be taking the Viking tour there because we spent the day there last time. Mother and I plan to go to the Belvedere instead and to the Prater since my mother hasn’t been either place since they bombed Vienna during WWII.



  5. Kathleen

    Have a wonderful adventure and can’t wait to follow along…. Taking the very same trip Sept 2015… You are making me sooo excited!


  6. Ellen Gross

    I am so enjoying your posts. We leave in 2wks for our Eastern Europe river cruise. You and your mom look adorable and love what you chose to wear for the flight. Are you wearing the jacket with the zip put sleeves? Can’t wait to hear more.

    Sent from my iPhone


  7. Cheryl

    Hi–I just finished this cruise on the Viking HLIN July 2-16th and we loved it!! So many beautiful countries to see…I want to do it again!!:) Have fun you two!!


  8. Betty

    Oh this is turning into a wonderful opportunity to compare notes! Dagmar, thanks for the info on music in Vienna. Last year we were in Salzburg with a Rick Steves tour and scheduled to go to a concert. But I tripped over the hotel bathroom threshold the night before, and broke my arm. And that was the end of that tour for us. Pain pills, a plaster cast, and a speedy train ride to Frankfurt and the flight home. So- I owe myself a Mozart concert this time! We will be in Vienna with Viking in mid-November, so the lack of a/c not a problem. I will look at the Opera House and the Viking excursion as my 2 choices. And Schonbrunn Palace just now got added to my go-to list. Thank you.


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