Friday, May 20, 2016

Europe Adventure: Day One: Traveling

I have been planning this trip for so long that it seemed almost unbelievable that it was actually time to go. 
I really wanted to make sure that I would be ready when my parents picked me up and that I would be able to sleep on the plane... so I woke up at 3am on April 5th. 
I hadn't had any caffeine for a few days and I was sure that I would be so tired by the time we were on our way to Iceland that falling asleep on the plane would be easy. 
I was wrong. But we will get to that in a few minutes. 

So I woke up at 3, got showered and ready, and put all of the last minute items into my bags that were mostly packed already. 
I tried really hard not to over pack. I really did. 
I read packing lists and blog posts about not over packing. And I was sure I was not going to. Then Monday came and I started loading my suitcase. I realized it wasn't going to all fit into my one piece of luggage without being overweight. Oh no. 
I pulled out a small duffel bag (it looks bigger in the picture than it actually is) and transferred the heaviest items into it. It is one that can attach to the handle of a suitcase so I thought that would work just fine. 
Future me would be so mad at the me that made this decision rather than just dumping stuff. To be fair, I did take out a lot of things that I had planned on taking. Just not enough. 
Also, I was REALLY paranoid about losing my luggage. Because we would be hopping around to so many different hotels and locations I was worried that if my luggage got lost it would not be easy to get it back quickly. So I wanted to have a change of clothes in my carry on. I also thought I needed a million other things in my carry on for such a long flight. 
I went to pack Doug's nice backpack style carry on and it wouldn't fit everything. 
I panicked and tried a few different ways to make it all fit. Nothing worked. 
So I took a late night drive to Target and bought this polka dot duffel bag on sale for $25. 
It was great. In fact, I am SO glad I bought this. It was a pain to carry around sometimes because it was large and I was already pulling so much but it was a lifesaver and I ended up using it to hold all of my souvenirs on the way home. The shoulder strap broke a few days before coming home but I don't fault the bag for that because it was holding so much weight and being carried around so much. 
On the floor there you can also see the Baggallini  travel purse I bought at TJ Maxx for $20. That thing was amazing. I loved it and I will always recommend it. 
So, yes I took all of this with me to Europe. 
I do NOT recommend that.

We took a lot of trains. And it was such a pain to carry all of this up and down stairs onto a train. We only had one train the entire trip that had a straight across entry where we could just pull them on. 
Also, some of our hotels did not have elevators. 
So my biggest piece of packing advice is decide what you want to take and then half it. 
I didn't use a lot of the extra things that I took.

However, I did wear every single piece of clothing that I took so you really have to decide what things you know you will use on your trip and just leave behind the "maybe's". It did make it a little harder going this time of year because we had mostly chilly and rainy weather but we also had some warm times and we were in snow.
Back to the actual traveling...
My mom and dad picked me up at around 7:45am. I said my goodbyes to Doug and the girls (which was hard!) and then we drove to the Salt Lake City Airport. 
We checked in and then went through security where my mom was frisked. 

Then we found our gate and waited. 
Time for our first picture. 
I don't think a picture of more than one person can really be considered a "selfie" but that's what we called it for lack of a better word. We took a lot of them on this trip. While doing it I always felt silly. But I am so glad we did since I tend to not get in pictures. 

Our flight was supposed to leave at 10:30 but didn't end up taking off until around 11:45. 
We booked our flights through Icelandair but our flight from Salt Lake City to Seattle was on Alaska airlines. I always get really nervous flying but especially when flying with a company I have never flown with before. But it was actually really nice. We had a lot of leg room and the seats were really comfortable. 
When I booked our flights I always booked the window seat and the aisle seat in the hopes that if it was not a full flight no one would pick the middle seat between us. Will it work? 
Not on this flight. 
I pulled out some adult coloring books and I colored in an owl one and my mom colored in a Harry Potter one. I have never used these coloring books until this trip and I found that they REALLY helped my flight anxiety. I got them to take because I heard that they could be stress relieving and my experience is that they really are. 
The flight was relatively short anyway but it went by really fast as we just colored and chatted the entire time. 
I was excited to see Washington. I LOVE Washington state. I lived there a few times as a kid and it has always remained one of my favorite places in the world. 
Maddy gave me one of her Shopkins, Jennifer Rain, to take with us on the trip. I carried her in my purse and occasionally took photos of her in front of things to text to Maddy. That was a really fun thing to do. 
Here she is in the Seattle airport...

We had a long layover in Seattle so we used the time to grab some lunch. My mom had a cheeseburger and fries and I had a chicken sandwich and some fries. Not great but not terrible. 
Then we went to our gate and watched an episode of Once Upon a Time on my Ipad. 
Our plane ended up being a bit delayed (will this be a pattern?) but eventually we made our way onto our first Icelandair flight. 
It left a lot to be desired. 
There was no room under our seats for a carry on. Not even my mom's small one. So we had to stash them overhead. All the passengers coming on were really impatient and a few were downright rude as I was trying to get mine up there. As a result of having to put it up there and not wanting to get into it while people were sleeping underneath it (it was not right above us) I ended up not having some of the things I wanted on the flight handy. 
We flew up over Canada which was pretty cool (you probably know I love Canada). 

We ate dinner on board and watched Star Wars: The Force Awakens. 
That was pretty cool because I had never seen it. I really liked it. 
It helped some of the time to go by faster. 

I hate to complain so much but the flight was not great. Usually planes seem to be a little on the colder side but this one was really warm. Everyone around us was taking off coats and sweaters and talking about it being warm. 
And the no leg room made it hard to stretch much. 
I wanted to get up and walk around more but I really didn't want to wake up the sleeping lady next to me. I had the aisle seat in case no one bought the middle seat, but when we saw that someone had purchased them I would always trade them and move over the to middle. 
I tried so hard to fall asleep but I couldn't. 
After a couple of hours I gave up on it and watched Goonies
Another mistake I made was that I bought compression socks that I put on about an hour into the flight. They were unisex ones from Target for $10 and worked great for Doug on his much longer flight to and from Hong Kong. 
But, because my legs are shorter, the socks did not fit me well and I ended up with bruises on the back of my shin right under my knee. I took them off about two hours away from Iceland and never used them again. 
I was SO ready to land. 


The Kings said...

Good commentary! I am loving reliving the trip!

cheryl said...


Donna said...

Ugh, what a crappy flight! I bet you were so glad when it was done. So did you fly from Seattle across the U.S. to Iceland without stopping?? Or did you go a different way?
Packing is SO HARD for me. I'm sure the exact same thing would have happened to me, I would have overpacked. So that's good advice to just bring half of what you think you'll need.

cheryl said...

Yes. SLC to Seattle and then Seattle straight to Iceland. Then Iceland to England. Good price. Less than $900 round trip.

Seth and Julie said...

I am thinking you should seriously think about becoming a travel planner. Maybe you could get free trips, check places out, and then help other people plan. I can never sleep on a plane either, but thankfully I enjoy flying.

cheryl said...

I would actually love to do that. I think I do need to look into it.