Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Odyssey - Switzerland to Toronto

Cruise updates will come when real time permits, but, for now, an update on actually getting home from the cruise.

Our mission was simple (in theory; it's still defying gravity) - get from Barcelona to Geneva to Montreal to Toronto on Sunday, with a day of rest on Monday.  We were curious whether we'd be able to get to Barcelona on time as we needed to get off the ship around 6 am; that turned out to be the easiest part.

We arrived in Switzerland, and easily got to our gate at the foot of the Swiss Alps and waited for our noon flight.  Which became our 1 pm flight.  Which became our 3 pm flight (featuring free lunch, and a trip back through security).

By the time we returned from lunch, the flight had gone from 3 pm to 10 am the following day.  Again, Air Canada coughed up for a hotel, and after a two-and-a-half hour wait in line for vouchers, we were shuttled off to the Starling Hotel, which I would highly recommend if you have $500/night to spend.

We arrived back at the airport at 7 am, went through security for the third time in two days, and began our second attempt to leave Europe.1 This time, we were at least able to get off the ground, and, three-and-a-half movies later, we landed in Montreal - right country, wrong language.  We had a bit of a wait, but it was OK, as we had to collect our bags, go through customs, and then go back through security.

At last, we boarded a plane for our final destination.  And we sat.  And sat some more.  And sat even more, as we waited for them to manually close the automatic luggage hatch.  We did finally get in the air, and were informed by our fearless captain that we would be flying a little lower to avoid some weather.  Of course, as we descended into Toronto, we crossed through Rainmageddon 2013 anyway.

As a result, we could not actually taxi to the gate for about 30 minutes2, but, at least we were on the ground. For the record, hearing rain pound on a plane in pretty creepy. We had a car booked, so while we waited for our luggage, I went and got it rented to save some time. Turns out, we didn't really need to as, due to the awful weather, the baggage crew couldn't actually get to the planes and unload them. For about two-and-a-half hours.

Finally, we were able to get loaded into the rental, pick up our car that we'd left at my aunt's, and make our way home.  Unfortunately, as Etobicoke had no power, and most of the roads south of Derry Rd.were, at least, partially covered in pools of water, that entire trip took another 2.5 hours.  So, all told, after landing, it took 5 hours to go about 65 kilometres.  And then we all got to get up for work at 8 am.

Yay travelling!  But kudos to Air Canada for dropping plenty of coin to accommodate everyone and, hey, what are you going to do?  I'd much rather they discovered the mechanical issue that kept us in Switzerland on the ground than in the air, and weather's weather - not much you can do about it.

We're home, and we're almost not tired.

1 - We also met Daniel Vukovic, which was pretty cool
2 - Side story: the pilot turned off the seatbelt sign as we sat on the tarmac for our comfort, but said, "We could move at anytime, so don't get out of your seats." No sooner has the final fizzle of light evaporated from the sign than a dozen people stood up and started walking around

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