From Portugal to The USA

Parque da Lavandeira

Back in Seattle! …well, close enough to Seattle to declare that I’m in Seattle! It’s real weird being back in the States. I have a couple more stories to tell you all about Portugal (friends came for a visit!), but I just have to tell you all about my adventures getting from there to here. My travels are never effortless, and this was no exception. Why can’t it ever be easy!?!

So early!

Okay… time for some maths. The plane to France takes off at 9:20am. I like to get to the airport three hours early for an international flight. It takes 30 minutes to get from my apartment in central Porto to the airport. I’m taking an Uber because the Metro doesn’t open until 6am and that’s just too tight of a time crunch for my liking. My guess is that it will take an Uber 15 minutes to answer my request and get to my place.

View of Luis I Bridge
This bridge in Porto is just spectacular! I found a random staircase up to get a better picture for you all.

That means I need to be downstairs with all my luggage by 5:30am. Sigh. That’s so early. I decided I would skip breakfast because the airport has a lounge with a free breakfast that I can use with my fancy travel credit card. Free food and coffee! I had all my bags packed the night before, so I was prepared. No problems getting an Uber and I was at the airport by 6am.

Here’s the issue. Portugal to France is not considered an international flight because both countries are within the Schengen Area. Therefore, the check-in counter doesn’t even open until two hours before the flight departs. I could have taken the Metro. The counter opens in about an hour and a half and I’m hungry. The lounge with my free food is after security. Sigh. At least I brought a gluten-free brownie.

Off to Paris

The check-in counter finally opened, with a bunch of us having lots of discussions (in a self-made impromptu queue) about when the counter would open. Security was an absolute breeze. No taking off your shoes or pulling out your laptop. Easy-peasy. It was also no problem finding the lounge once my sleep-deprived brain figured out how the gates were numbered.

Blue tile art in Portugal
The blue tile art in Portugal is gorgeous. I love all the different art in interesting places.

That lounge was filled with all kinds of delightful Portuguese delectables. Unfortunately, not a single thing in there was gluten-free, so I was out of luck as far as food was concerned. Sigh. Luckily, they had coffee and orange juice. I added some white port to my OJ… don’t judge me! There was just enough time for me to finish my drinks before I had to make my way to my gate, where they were boarding early, so I walked right on.

No food on the quick two-hour flight from Porto to Paris. Sigh. Good thing I brought GF cookies. The flight was uneventful, and it was extremely cool to see the Eiffel Tower during the landing. Paris looks lovely. I might have to come back. Upon landing, I was real-real hungry and determined to find a restaurant, as there are no lounges that I have access to at this airport.

Mrs. ItchyFeet in Paris airport
This is in the massive Paris airport. I really have to switch out my heavy backpack for a rolling suitcase. My neck hurts!

Paris airport is massive

First things first. It literally took me an entire hour (and a bus ride!) to get from the gate where I landed to the gate that I was flying out of. An hour! So hungry. Here’s the problem. Think about delicious French fare: bread… and not gluten-free bread. The only savory thing I could eat in the entire terminal I was in was salad. Sigh. It was a really good salad, though.

The original layover in Paris was only supposed to be three hours, which is a long wait, but not too long. Well, the plane I was supposed to be boarding was incredibly delayed, so that layover turned into five hours. Still hungry. We all finally loaded onto the plane and took off with no worries. Lunch was about to be served and I had pre-ordered the gluten-free meal! So excited! Noms!

They unexpectedly gave me two gluten-free meals, which made me extremely happy! Finally. I am now properly fed at 6pm. Time to watch some free entertainment for ten hours. Ten hours!!! I legitimately did not know that planes could be in the air for that long. I’m used to like five hour flights. Perfectly reasonable to land after five hours. Ridiculous to be in the air for ten whole hours.

View of snowy Canada from airplane
This is Canada! But when I tell the story, it’s either the North Pole or Greenland, depending on my mood.

I don’t feel so good

Remember how I told you I take Dramamine whenever I get on a boat or a plane or a moving object of some sort? Well, I forgot to take it and now it’s too late. The flight had free alcohol drinks, which I was very excited about but could not partake in due to the crazy flipping of my stomach. This was going to be a painful flight.

The flight is interesting because it lands at 7:30pm on the same day that it takes off due to time zones. Plus, it flies over the North Pole (well, Greenland, but close), which is absolutely spectacular to see. So much gorgeous white snow! I forced down the second meal the airline provided because it was delicious as well. Only a couple hours left and I’m really hurting. Something is wrong with my stomach.

View of BC fires from airplane
Check out all the smoke from the British Colombia fires near Seattle!

After finally landing and dealing with more delays on the tarmac, I finally get off that plane. Ten hours is too much. I have Australian friends in Thailand who I really want to visit, but I’m not sure that I can make that long of a journey. Maybe I can figure out a way to hopscotch from a closer country. I ran for the bathrooms before customs and got real-real sick. At least I made it off the plane!

To north of Seattle

I paid for Global Entry (actually I got the Canadian Nexus but it comes with Global Entry) that they have here in the States and it is so worth it. No need to even show my passport. I just presented my face to the ID screen and into the country I went. I was definitely happy that these ID cameras were shorter than the ones in Miami because I almost had to ask for a step-stool at that airport. It was very comedic.

Street art of doggo in Porto
Okay, I’ve visited and enjoyed both Lisbon and Porto. Maybe I should check out Bahia, Brazil! Add it to the list.

My father-in-law was nice enough to pick me up and my mother-in-law had an amazing meal all made up for my arrival. Unfortunately, I was too sick to eat and could only say hello before heading up to the bathroom. Ugh. I’m going to bed. That was a painful day. I woke up promptly at 2am. Jet lag is the worst! However, I’m so excited to see all my Seattle and Oregon peeps so it’s worth it. My parents might even come visit me, which would be wonderful!

Still hurting from my travels (I think I tweaked something in my neck because it hurts like crazy), I could finally get the bi-valiant COVID vaccination I tried to get in DR and Portugal. It’s been two years since my last shot and Seattle has been getting hit hard recently. Better safe than sorry. Now I just need to sleep for several days to recover from all these adventures! More stories of Portugal to follow.

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