Saturday, July 11, 2015

Visit to Germany and Scooby Medina del Campo, Spain (8th Volunteer Trip) - Part 1: Getting There

Lovely Scooby Galgo - Won't You Please Take Me Home?
Hola, Amigos and Amigas! :-)
Many tales to tell! It has been a fun and rewarding journey returning to Scooby for my eighth visit.

In late May, I traveled to Germany to visit my dear friend Marie, whom I met via our Scooby connections, both having adopted dogs from our favorite rescue sanctuary in Spain and hence,  becoming soul sisters. After my German visit, I went to Spain to volunteer at Scooby once again. 
More about these adventures in subsequent blog postings. 

Oh My, What an Adventure!
Trip from San Francisco to Aachen, Germany with Stopover in Chicago

Left SFO for Dusseldorf to get to Aachen, Germany, on American Airlines with a "short" stopover in Chicago. Smooth sailing on a brand new jet from SFO to Chicago. Next leg was Chicago to Dusseldorf. The adventure begins...  First, they delayed boarding the new gigantic plane for about an hour. Once we boarded, I struck up a very fun conversation with my seat neighbor, a lovely young woman from the Chicago area who was thinking about changing her career and moving to a new place, possibly California. We bonded.The plane taxied. We were second to take off. Then the pilot announced that the plane behind us noticed that we were leaking fuel from one of our wings, so he turned back. Thank God!
Love the Chi-town, but did not want to get stuck overnight. Lost one day with Marie in Germany.
Boo hoo! :-(
We returned to the gate and disembarked. Waited to hear about the fate of our plane for over an hour. I hung out with my new friend from Chicago and another young man whom she had met from Holland. Here I am with two young souls, hanging out through our crisis, having a good time. They made it fun and a much more relaxing adventure.  After all, what can you do, but go with it?

American Airlines gave us lunch vouchers. We ate and waited. Finally, they determined that they would cancel the flight. There was much chaos trying to get things settled. They then gave us vouchers for dinner and hotels. We were instructed to catch shuttles to our respective hotels for the night. There had to be at least a few hundred of us from that flight, as well as others from other airlines and flights, stuck in Chicago for the night.

It took about an hour to catch the shuttle to our hotel, and there were dozens of people waiting for shuttles along with us. 
The airline put me up in a suite, about 20 minutes from O'Hare. It was very nice but a very industrial area, lots of highway traffic and near the airport, so lots of flight traffic as well. Once we got to the hotel, I learned from the folks at registration that this happens each and every day. They put up hundreds of people who get delayed and have to spend the night near the airport. All said and done, American Airlines spent at least $300 per delayed passenger. Seems so  inefficient and expensive to me. 

Slept well and it prepped me for a full next day in Germany, which paid off. Shuttle took us back to the airport in the morning. Loaded up and ready to take off. But wait... as they loaded our baggage on the plane, they discovered some kind of hole in the cargo area. They then moved us to another gate and got us aboard another plane within an hour. (Side note: I think that a lot of the American Airlines planes are in disrepair, and they need to deal with their issues -- even the brand new planes have issues, which is scary!) From Chicago, we were routed to JFK and then went on board Air Berlin. It was smooth sailing to Dusseldorf from there. Sigh...

Once we arrived in Dusseldorf, everything went well. Had to hunt for my baggage for a time, and some of the young folks from the USA who were also stuck on our journey did not receive their bags, plus they had to stay in uncomfortable digs at the Chicago airport because they were minors.  In the end,  I'm sure that they made the best of the adventure. As for my two companions that I hung out with in Chicago, they made it with their bags. Best wishes, and hope your journeys went well! You are two truly delightful souls that I had the chance to meet and spend time with in a very weird and stressful situation. You made  it pleasant. :-) Thank you!

Marie, Lucy and Abba
Marie picked me up at the Dusseldorf airport, which I love (feels intimate and friendly). She greeted me with her two lovely rescues from Spain, Abba and Lucy. More to follow regarding our adventures in Germany!


Please stay tuned for updates.

Hasta Luego! Thank you for reading my blog. Bless sends her blessings! Sara sends smiles! Wilma sends kisses and hugs!

Our gorgeous Galga, Bless!
Our gorgeous Galga, Sara!

Our gorgeous Greyhound, Wilma!
Please support Scooby and Greyhound Friends for Life!
Know an organization that will donate dog food? Please let me know.


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