32 hour days are tough!

Disclaimer:  This post was completed after not sleeping for over 30 straight hours.  There is no guarantee it will be coherent, much less devoid of mistakes!

When I began planning this trip, the first major leg ended in Stockholm, where I would spend a couple of days, recuperate, and then go on.  I had been communicating with an up and coming Slovak soprano, Linda Ballova who is a former student of Tom Nelson’s at the Evangeliche Lyceum, and hoping to hear her when I was in Bratislava but our schedules didn’t work out.  So, I made arrangements to hear her in Aachen, Germany where she is rehearsing Puccini’s Trittico.  So, that is why my 24 hours straight of no sleep turned into 34 hours straight of no sleep.

But let me back up. . . yesterday (today?) in O’Hare was actually quite nice.  After my lovely time in the United club I made my way through the airport to my gate.

One thing I really look forward to when visiting an airport is getting a shoe shine.  Maybe that sounds weird, but you just can’t find a place around anywhere BUT the airport to get shoes shined.  So, I did.

He did an awesome job and earned a nice tip!  Once aboard the plane to Amsterdam the flight attendant announced that one of the rest rooms in the front of the aircraft (that services the first class cabin) was out of order, so everyone in rows 7-39 would have to use the two restrooms at the back of the plane.  My seat was 39B.

Here’s the view from my seat:

And here is directly behind me where BOTH restrooms were located:

Oh well, first world problems, right?  I could take a little stink if it was going to allow me to take this wonderful trip!

I didn’t take pictures of my seat mate on this flight because I just thought it would be in bad taste.  But, it is interesting to note that we had a great conversation.  We only spoke for a portion of the 8-hour flight but I learned a great deal.  His name was Joshua and, although only 30 years old he was already an accomplished attorney who grew up in Chicago but lived in The Hague, Netherlands and was a defense attorney for those involved in international war crimes.

Throughout the flight I tried and tried to use the in-flight WIFI ($16.99!) to watch OU play in the Sugar Bowl.  It would work perfectly throughout the commercials and then freeze up during play.  So, I got a different idea.  I had WIFI, so I FaceTimed my son, Jake, and he left his phone in front of the TV.  We were both on WIFI so no extra charges.  it worked out pretty well!

After a long flight I finally arrived in Amersterdam, where I took these pictures because I thought they were interesting:

The flight from Amsterdam to Stockholm was only 1:45, which was nice.  My seat mate in this case was a very nice woman who had her 7-year-old daughter with her.  They were returning from holiday in Amsterdam to Stockholm where the mother is the secretary for the Belgian Embassy to Sweden.  I always seem to meet interesting people!

Stockholm-Arlanda airport made me feel right at home when I arrived:

I had a bit of a layover in Stockholm so I found a nice little spot and relaxed for a while.  To show you how soon it gets dark, this first picture was taken at 3 pm:

And this picture was taken from the same spot at 4 pm:

When I finally did board the plane to Dusseldorf, this was my view out the window:

Luckily it was just a snow shower and didn’t cause any problems with travel.  I arrived in Dusseldorf and took a train to the Hauptbahnhof, or main train station.

I booked a night at the Motel One near the train station.  It is a newer chain of European motels that seem upscale but are really no frills.  It has a wonderful reception area but the rooms are basic.  The cost throughout Europe, to my knowledge, is 69 euros, or about $72.

When I finally arrived, checked in, and got situated it was 10 pm local time, or 3 pm Lindsborg time.  I had been traveling since 5 am the previous morning, or roughly 32 hours.  So, I did what anyone would do as soon as they arrive in Germany and are dead tired.  I found a nearby place to have a nice piece of schnitzel!

And now it is time for me to go to bed.  I will sleep well tonight, and wake up tomorrow morning ready to take the train to Aachen to meet Linda Ballova and (hopefully) sit in on a sitzprobe for the Puccini opera in which she is rehearsing.

Auf wiedersehn!

Mark

P.S.  Matt, if you read this in time. . . good luck tonight vs. Haven!  Mom is going to try to Facebook Live it so I can watch it!

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