Two and a half months after finding out that I had won the Life’s Ultimate To-Do List contest with Hilton Garden Inn, I finally made it to Krakow. I get to spend Thanksgiving 2012 with my brother in the country that could have been our home, had World War II never happened. I feel pretty lucky to have this opportunity and to share it with him.
On Wednesday, I met my brother at JFK (he flew in from Detroit) to take our overnight flight to Frankfurt. We were the first passengers to board, going first class. Once you fly internationally on a first class flight, you will never want to fly economy. This is my third trip abroad, first being Israel in January 2011 and second being my Europe trip in December 2011/January 2012. Flights in both directions were long and without sleep due to little room to move and people sitting in front of me who decided to lean their seats all the way back. In first class, this problem does not exist. The person in front of you does not affect your journey in the least, and your seat can flatten almost entirely with 60 inches of extra room in front. It’s still not easy to sleep with jet engines loudly spinning outside, but it’s significantly more comfortable.
7 and a half hours of Delta bliss. We enjoyed four course meals and wine for dinner. It truly felt like we were flying in the 1950s instead of 2012 (minus the ability to smoke, thank goodness). Philip and I both sat at window seats, watching the sun rise over the United Kingdom and Brussels. It was truly a wonderful journey.
We had a six hour layover in Frankfurt before our flight to Krakow. I made plans for us to go for lunch in the city, and take a bit of a walking tour. If only we had time to really see the sites, but what can one really do in a three hour time period.
I will say, carrying a forty pound backpack on a walking tour probably wasn’t the best idea. In the end, it was worth it. Frankfurt is a beautiful city, and we stumbled upon a large market where we ate lunch. My stop in Berlin last year most definitely helped my navigation skills as well as understanding of menu items.
Lack of sleep and heavy bags caused us to head back to the airport a bit earlier than planned. Our flight to Krakow was significantly smaller and far less luxiurious. A taxi driver picked us up (our interaction limited by his lack of English skills and our lack of Polish) and took us to the Hilton Garden Inn.
The front desk staff was so welcoming. There was a letter from the front office manager, who I had corresponded with via email, welcoming us to Krakow. They gave us a junior suite, at the corner of the hotel with a “view.” The view is mostly of the highway, but in the distance (beneath the fog), you can almost see Wawel Castle. Almost.
All we could think about was the warm beds awaiting us. 24 hours of travel really does a number on you.