2023-06-09 20:50−4 (2023-06-10 00:50Z):
The Icelandair flights to Berlin via Keflavík met expectations except that the flight to Keflavík took only about five hours. I guess we got an assist from the jet stream.
I don’t remember what kind of planes I was on and don’t really care. From BOS to KEF, the plane was some kind of wide-body that had 2-1-2 seating in the Saga Class section; and I had seat 3D in the middle which was just fine for this introvert traveling alone. 😎 From KEF to BER, the plane was smaller, and I had an aisle seat on the right side.
They made me check my walker all the way to Berlin. I was allowed to use the walker in Boston all the way to the airplane door where they took it away from me, and so I needed a wheelchair at both stops.
In Keflavík, I was met by a very nice young woman who spoke English with an American accent. She used some kind of authority to let me cut in line at immigration (where I entered the Schengen area) and at the airplane. That, combined with the flight landing a bit earlier than I expected, gave me plenty of time to make my somewhat short connection. I asked about the tipping policy, making sure she understood that I didn’t want to insult her by offering, and she said that they didn’t expect tips but were allowed to accept them. I gave her a fiver and we were both very appreciative. 😎
I didn’t have such good luck in Berlin. The guy didn’t speak English except for a few words; and although I had taken German in high school and I remember the grammar (because that’s the way my brain works), I have close to zero vocabulary; and you can’t make much of a conversation out of “Wo ist die toilette?”
At one point, he left me alone for a while and I figured I was on my own; so I used the wheelchair like I would have used my walker, sticking my carry-on bag on the seat and pushing the wheelchair. I hiked and hiked and eventually needed to sit and rest a bit. I’m glad I did because he came up behind me and took me the rest of the way to the baggage claim area using an elevator that I never would have found. I claimed my one checked bag, and he took me to the place for claiming large items where I got my walker back.
After another hike I finally got out of the airport. It turned out that my hotel is right across the street from where I exited, which was encouraging; but the hotel entrance is around the corner and down another level, and there are no signs giving directions to it. I walked a bit more and found an elevator that took me down to the right level; and then after yet another hike, I found the hotel entrance and checked in. Everything from landing in Berlin to getting to my hotel room was pretty stressful, and I was sweating like a pig.
The room itself is a disappointment, principally because the desk where one would use a computer has a glass top, so you can’t use an optical mouse, and I’ve never had the need to develop the muscle memory to use my laptop’s touchpad accurately and effectively. Fortunately, I brought along a packet of health insurance information that I need to read; and I can use that as a mouse pad. Also, the desk doesn’t have a light nearby.
The Steigenberger Airport Hotel is very convenient, and except for the desk that I mentioned, the rooms seem to be quite nice. If you plan on staying there and doing any work on a computer, bring a mouse pad.
Somewhere, I seem to have lost my German-style power adaptor…the round kind with the ground straps on the sides. I was told that there’s a shop in the airport that sells them, so I’ll try to buy one tomorrow morning. I’m guessing that that’s what’s used in Bulgaria. We’ll see. For tonight, my plain two-prong adaptor is working fine; and one ground strap in the socket seems to be making contact with the ground pin on my plug.
After freshening up a bit, I went to the restaurant for some supper. It’s a high-priced place with lots of fancy stuff on the menu. I paid 35€ for the weiner schnitzel because I knew what that is. 😎
The rest of tonight will just be catching up on e-mail and blog reading…or maybe not since my Verizon hotspot won’t work outside the U.S. I’m supposed to log in to something called “H-Rewards”, no password needed. If that works, I’ll post this tonight; if not, I’ll have to wait until I get to the meeting hotel in Varna tomorrow. (I’m a little leery of giving my e-mail and FtB passwords over a public network, but both use HTTPS, so that should be OK.)
My flight to Vienna leaves at 09:00, and the restaurant opens for breakfast at 05:30, so I’ve already set my alarm for 04:30. With any luck, I won’t be in a hurry, or get stressed out, tomorrow morning.