Tag Archives: airport

Final Notes

I made it back. Walk to tram, tram to bus, bus to airport, long check-in line, walk to gate, fly to Heathrow, go through seemingly endless labyrinthine hellscape at Heathrow, fly to Seattle, go through Customs, walk to shuttle, shuttle to car, drive home. Roughly 21 hours. I think 19 of that was in Heathrow, although BA upgraded me and let me pre-board for no apparent reason. Maybe they liked the cut of my jib, although honestly my jib was looking pretty rumpled at that point.

Some final notes:

  • I learned to say seven things in Czech: Dobrý den (good day), prosím (please), pivo (beer), káva (coffee), pokladna (cash register), papriková klobása (paprika kielbasa), and trdelník (trdelník).
  • Danish trucks don’t make a beeping noise when they back up.
  • On all the local transportation I rode (trams, subways, buses, etc.) in Copenhagen, Berlin, and Prague, I don’t think anyone ever checked my ticket. I’ve read that Prague spot-checks riders and will fine you 700 Kč if you don’t have a valid ticket. But a three-day ticket is 310 Kč, so if they check less than once per week, you’d come out ahead by paying the fine.
  • Thai massage seems to be a thing in Prague. They’re all over the place. One aspect of Thai massage involves putting your feet in a fish tank so that fish can nibble them. This takes place in the front window so that you, the idiot tourist, are on display to passersby while fish nibble your toes. I did not do this.
  • I now understand the line from the 2013 David Bowie song “Where Are We Now”.
         Had to get the train
         From Potsdamer Platz
         You never knew that
         That I could do that
    Meistersaal studio, near Potsdamer Platz, was where Bowie and Iggy Pop recorded in 1977. Potsdamer Platz was one of the ghost stations of the U-Bahn. It was in the east, but the stations on either side were in the west. Trains were not allowed to stop there and guards were posted in the station to make sure they didn’t. West Berlin had to pay the DDR for the privilege of passing through.
  • I walked a total of 118.44 miles over 18 days, for an average of 6.58 miles per day.
  • I really need to bring less luggage.

Seborga to Chamonix

We departed Seborga at about 8:00 AM and I dropped off Lobo and Alcalde at the Terminal 1 Kiss & Fly of the Nice airport. There was no kissing, but they were able to fly anyway. Apparently the airport is flexible about these matters.

It took me awhile to get back on the A8, due to the strange and occasionally impossible guidance of the car’s navigational system. I was halfway up the mountain behind Nice before I finally got suspicious. I eventually made it out of the city through the selective veto process that had worked fairly well with Lobo’s GPS.

I managed to find my way back to the Starbucks in Monaco and got a Ristretto Bianco and wrote a post card to my mom. It already had Seborga and Italy stamps on it, but now I was in Monaco, so if I wanted to mail it, I needed a Monaco stamp. I started wandering around Fontvieille (in the opposite direction than we had gone before) and came across the Monaco stamp museum, which sold me a stamp and mailed the card for me.


I walked around a little, then took off for Chamonix.


I stopped for gas just outside of Monaco — 77.76 to fill the tank! Pulling out of the gas station, I nearly t-boned a Rolls-Royce. I wonder how understanding they’d be getting hit by an American in a rental car with Swiss plates. Probably not very.

But I made it back to the Grand Corniche and the nav system guided me through Italy for 4+ hours without incident, except for occasionally beeping to tell me that I needed a break. Like I’m going to take orders from a car. I did take one break to get a doppio macchiato and use the restroom at an Italian rest stop, but otherwise I ignored the break notices. Stupid car.

  • Final toll for crossing Italy: 50.10
  • Toll for driving through the 11.6km Tunnel du Mont-Blanc: 44.20.

The nav system became hopelessly confused once I got into Chamonix, and Google Maps wasn’t any better. The car has a British accent and Google Maps has an American accent, but neither one can pronounce French, and some of the streets they guided me to do not seem to exist. I finally gave up and parked, then walked around looking for the hotel. It took me about two minutes to find it that way.

Hôtel Le Chamonix is across from this church.


The hotel is a creaky old wooden building that has just what I need and nothing more. My room is on the second (i.e., third) floor, but to go up the stairs I have to step over this dog.


I spent a couple hours wandering around the village (which is bigger than I was expecting), had pizza provençale sans anchois for dinner, located the t-shirt place recommended by Lobo, and returned to encapsulate the day in this blog post.

Meandering to Nice

Lobo showed surprising maturity by not waking me up by blowing the bugle. I slept for over eleven hours, so it must have been a struggle for him. He did it right away after I got up.


We had to pick up Alcalde at 2:40 PM, so we set off around 9:30, thinking that we could get some breakfast at an Italian bakery or something, and maybe stop at a supermarket to get some basics for later in the week. We drove through some Italian towns on the coast, getting lost repeatedly, partly due to the uselessness of Lobo’s GPS and partly due to our own ineptitude. At one point, Lobo saw a bakery and got out and ran in while I drove around the block and he got back with some breakfast. Only it wasn’t a bakery, it was a butcher shop, and it was sort of a quiche thing that was pretty good, but he only got one and there was only one fork. And we didn’t find a market. But other than that it was a success and we drove on to Nice.

Lobo’s ancient GPS continued to be useless, constantly recalibrating and sending us in weird directions, but we found a parking garage in spite of it, and from there wandered around downtown Nice and had lunch and strolled along the promenade.




It was pleasant, but eventually we had to pick up Alcalde. We drove to the airport and went to terminal 2, which is where I had come in, so that made sense. After parking and walking in, we found that his plane had come into terminal 1. He had texted me to say that he was at the gate, so I asked him if he was at terminal 1, and he didn’t know. So we headed to terminal 1, which was not as simple as simply walking from one terminal to the next. No, we had to drive in circles and up ramps and Alcalde texted me to say that he was terminal 2. So we looped back around to go to terminal 2, even though the flight had come into terminal 1, so how did he get to terminal 2? Anyway, we went there and drove into something called “Kiss and Fly”, which was some sort of departure area and Lobo got out to look for him and then Alcalde sent another text: “Uh-oh. I think I’m at terminal 1.” Okay, so back to terminal 1 and the Kiss and Fly there, which was laid out differently, and this time Lobo was able to find him and drag him back to the car.

We stopped at a Starbucks so Lobo could get a Nice mug, then at a market in Ventimiglia (which Alcalde found with no trouble, using Google Maps) to get groceries. The market did not include bags, although you could buy them for a nominal fee. But Lobo was too cheap to buy one, and we had to carry everything out in our arms. And there was a lot of stuff to carry.


But we made it back to Seborga and had some IPA (Italian Pale Ale) as the sun went down.


See also: Saluti de Seborga, Nice, and Seborga Sunrise.

Arrival in Seborga

Onward to Seborga and points Europeward.

After fitful sleeping on the Delta/KLM flight to Amsterdam, I spent an hour having a leisurely lunch in the Amsterdam airport. There’s a huge mall in the center with a fairly good food court and I could charge my phone while I waited. Then I went to check the gate for my next flight and learned that it was the very farthest gate away from where I was. The walking time was listed as 24 minutes. I had 20 minutes before they began boarding. So I sort of scamper-walked and made it in almost exactly 20 minutes. Then I got on the plane and immediately fell asleep. The flight attendant had to wake me up to tell me to fasten my seat belt. At least I wasn’t drooling.

I landed in Nice and got through passport control in about five minutes, with no customs declarations needed at all. Really, is every country easier than the US? Anyway, I found the rental car desk with no trouble, and there was Lobo. He actually found the right place and got there on time without supervision.

We got the car and took a stupid selfie, which Lobo dubbed a stupie.


We drove to Seborga and found the place with no difficulty, thanks to Lobo’s ancient and quirky GPS device, which I think was a cheaper one even back in whatever decade it came from. But it worked well enough and we got there and the place is spectacular. It’s situated on a hill above Seborga.


The landlady, Sabina, speaks perfect English, and I’m pretty sure she was the same person that my mom and I talked to in the Seborga restaurant in December of 2000.

See also: Arrival in Seborga!, Final First Day in Seborga Update, and Seborga Sunrise.

Butterflies and Condiment Confiscation

Singapore airport has a butterfly garden. No apparent reason; it’s just there. It’s a nice one, though. I would even go so far as to say that it’s the nicest airport-based butterfly garden that I have ever seen.

IMG_1538 IMG_1541 IMG_1542

But things took a dark turn when I went through security and they spotted the kaya spread that I had bought as a gift. It was larger than the allowable size, and thus had to be confiscated, presumably to eliminate the threat of explosives made from spreadable condiments.

I’m now in the Taipei airport with five hours to kill. I was going to take the train into the city and go to the night market, but that would require filling out an entry form and going through customs and passport control in both directions and then security again, and all of that sounds like much more trouble than it’s worth. I’d rather just sit here in the food court.

Midnight on Lantau

Hong Kong Airport is not exactly jumping on a Saturday night. Or a Friday night. Whatever night this is. I think it’s a few minutes into the 28th. That’s Saturday, right? Whatever.

Anyway, I don’t know what I’m going to do for the rest of the night. I can’t check in until afternoon. I have my Octopus Card, though, so I can go pretty much anywhere. The sky’s my oyster!


UPDATE: The trains do not, in fact, run all night, as I was for some reason thinking. So unless I want to pay extra for a taxi to go somewhere else and hang around in the middle of the night, it looks like I’m here for a few more hours, drinking flat whites, charging my iPad, and reading the Economist’s World in 2014.

Boxing Day Airport Report

The SeaTac Airport Central Terminal was renovated and expanded in 2005. It has numerous shops and restaurants, a floor-to-ceiling window with a view of the runway and the Olympic Mountains*, and plenty of space to sit or walk around.


But I’m not in the Central Terminal. I’m in the South Satellite Terminal. The Runway Grill looks like it might be my best lunch option.


* Not that you can see them most of the time.