Eastern Europe, Day 1 – Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Westport, Connecticut to JFK in Queens, New York, to Prague, Czech Republic

Our driver called and asked us if he could pick us up to take us to the airport an hour earlier than we had previously arranged. This was really fortunate, because the traffic getting to JFK was even worse than ever. After crawling along for more than two hours, we saw that a manhole cover was in the middle of the highway, blocking two lanes of traffic! Later, in spite of the hassles, we learned that flying in and out of JFK has its advantages. We could get a direct flight to and from our destination, while most of the others in our tour would require two or even three flights to get home.

A we walked to our gate, I remarked to Nick, ” I wonder how many people want to take this flight to Prague today?” I was amazed when an announcement was made that the airline would offer $200 to anyone who would exchange their ticket on our flight for a flight on another day. It seemed that they had overbooked and needed seven seats. They then offered $300, and next $500. Eventually they offered $!,000! We don’t know how this was resolved, but the plane left on time.

I have explained about Rick Steves tours before. Each tourist is recommended to take one carry-on size suitcase, because we would be rolling it along by ourselves. We have learned many things about travel through the years. The best thing to do is to put both pieces of luggage inside the plane in the overhead bins, because that way you are certain that your luggage will arrive when and where you do. This is not always possible, because some items you might need or want to have on the trip are forbidden, such as liquids, and lotions. We put those items in the one suitcase that will be stowed. That way, at least one

suitcase will definitely arrive when and where you do. Also, put half of each person’s belongings into each suitcase. That way each of you will arrive with something to wear. We have had the experience of arriving without a piece of our luggage having been loaded into our plane. A clerk expecting to be yelled at by irate travelers asked us, “What does your luggage look like?” Well, it looks like everyone else’s luggage. So the final thing we do before handing our luggage over at JFK is to take a photo of it to make it easier to find should it not be on the plane when we land.

We arrived in the Czech Republic at about midnight Connecticut time. We had made arrangements with our hotel to be picked up. We were warmly welcomed at Hotel Metamorphis and went in for a nap before starting our day’s adventures.

7,500 steps

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