Thursday, December 23rd

Time to go home today.  We finished packing, ate our last Viennese breakfast, called a cab and headed to the airport.  Since we were flying home via Frankfurt, we were concerned that the stalled air traffic created by this week’s snowy weather hadn’t fully cleared out yet.  It was a moot point.  We were delayed, but it was due to the fog in Vienna.  We were finally able to depart after a two hour delay. 

Vienna’s airport has an interesting and efficient was to handle security…..they have security checkpoints at each gate that are opene and closed as needed.  Until it’s time for you to board, you’re free to walk through the airport visiting all their shops and restaurants.  With so few people going through security, it was a breeze to get through but since it would take about an hour to fly to Frankfurt, we knew we would probably miss our connecting flight to Toulouse.

Most of the passengers on the plane had connecting flights so the flight attendant updated information as it was received.  We were advised that our flight was waiting for us at Gate B11.  The plane landed at Gate C1…..we rushed to the B terminal….necessitating another trip through security but, since a plane was waiting for us, we were moved us to the head of the line. 

We arrived at Gate B11 as quickly as we could with my gimpy gait and Craig loaded down with our three carry-on’s.  Huffing and puffing, we looked out the windows…..there was no plane in sight…..and no personnel were waiting for us at the gate. 

We were advised to go to Lufthansa’s customer service desk in Terminal A.  More huffing and puffing through yet another terminal and we were face-to-face with a dour agent who’d prefer not to deal with us (granted, Craig had a bit of an attitude)…..but we persevered and soon had boarding passes on the next flight to Toulouse….which entailed another two hour wait. 

We circled back to Terminal B…..with yet another trip through security…..interesting that two checkpoints in the same airport didn’t produce the same results.  This go-around, Craig was able to walk through without disrobing but the computer bag had to be inspected….go figure.

By the time we got to our new gate (which we were warned could be changed…..which it was), we needed an attitude adjustment…. so we downed a couple of beers while we waited.  Finally, it was our turn to board.  The airplane was on the tarmac so we had to board a bus to be taken to it.  We didn’t see an elevator and the promised “pre-boarding” never materialized so this necessitated negotiating a steep stairway down to the bus and another flight of stairs up to the airplane….one slow step at a time.

After we were comfortably ensconced in our seats, the captain’s voice crackled on the audio system advising us that the co-pilot was on another flight that was delayed and we wouldn’t be able to take off until he was aboard.  While we waited, a man in orange workclothes came aboard to talk to a flight attendant…..who then came over to our seats to verify that we were the “Vanderkamp’s”.  We told her we were and she advised us that our bags had made it aboard this flight.  Finally…..something had gone right.

The co-pilot arrived shortly afterward and we proceeded on the bumpy 1½ hour flight to Toulouse.  With my slow gait, we took our time getting to baggage claim….trying to take elevators whenever we could.  We arrived at Baggage Claim just as the luggage was  starting to arrive.  We waited and waited and waited.  Finally, my Cadet Blue suitcase came bouncing out of the darkness.  One down, two to go.  We waited and waited as other travelers found their bags and departed.  There were still 20-30 bags circling but our bags were not among them.  Then the carousel stopped…..no more bags.  So much for the assurance we had been given in Frankfurt.

After filing our claim for two lost bags (and being assured that they usually turn up within 24 hours, that our file will note that we only speak English and that the carrier would have no trouble finding the cottage), we picked up an Opel Corsa rental car and headed toward Chateau Miaou to spring our Felix from solitary confinement. 

He was waiting for us on his tower…..other cats in each and every enclosure…..I’m sure Felix was wondering what the heck he was doing there with these strange creatures.  We put him in his carry case and listened to his animated stories all the way home. 

As we turned onto the gravel path next to the canal, the bright moonlight shone on the water…..the canal is filled again!  It was after 10 pm when we opened the door and entered the cold, dark cottage.  Craig started a fire.  We opened a bottle of wine and unwound while listening to real English words being spoken on British telly.

It was the end of a very long day.

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About Languedoc Lady

I'm a newly retired woman from California getting ready to spend a year (or more) with my husband living the good life in Languedoc in the southwest of France.
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