Thursday, March 17, 2016
Green Bay, Wisconsin, United States
The last time I wrote, it was Thursday evening and we were in Paris. Friday was a long day of travel. Staying at the Ibis was nice for an early flight, as the train station was about 20 feet from the hotel, and the airport shuttle was within the train station. Missy flew on Delta airlines, so we had to say good bye before getting on the shuttle, as she was in a different terminal. The rest of us checked into our flight quickly and hardly waited at passport control or security. It was nice. I would always rather be a bit early than waiting in long lines. Once we made it to our gate, we decided to grab some coffee, juice and croissants (shocker!) as we still had some euros. "Burn 'em up!" said Dad. I came back with a 5-euro bill and some change, which is fine with me.

The flight to Istanbul was three hours . We only had a little over an hour to connect, so by the time we left the plane, used the restroom, made it to our gate and went through more security (which I am always ok with), it was time to board. We were actually some of the final people to board, but it was fine. It meant less time sitting at the gate and less time sitting on the roasting plane. Flight time was 11 hours (actually, 10 hours and 55 minutes) to O'Hare, and every time I dislike it. It's always around the 6-7 hour point where I'm ready to punch someone in the face, especially the person in front of me who has to recline his seat back as far as possible. I was able to watch three movies (Creed, Bridge of Spies and Unbroken), so that helped pass the time. 

Once we landed at O'Hare, getting through customs was a breeze as they do a lot of it electronically now. The line for non-US residents was super long, and I didn't envy those folks at all. We grabbed our bags and went to wait for our shuttle to Milwaukee, where John and I left our cars. Traffic at O'Hare was heavy, so by the time we left the domestic terminal and got on the highway, we didn't get to the coach station in Milwaukee until 9:30. Dad rode home with John as that is where my mom was waiting, and I drove home myself. A coffee stop and getting some fresh air in Sheboygan helped me stay awake. 

I arrived home around 11:45 pm, and Bailey's awesome sitters dropped her off shortly after . We were both very happy to see each other and immediately crashed. The weekend was pretty low-key for me, with a lot of resting, unpacking, laundry and grocery shopping. Daylight savings? Meh. When your body is 7 hours off, what's another hour? Now, we are all back to work and regular life.  

Most of our family got together for breakfast on Sunday. It was nice to see everyone, and they liked hearing about the trip. John was telling the story about the wailing baby next to him on his flight to Istanbul, and it had us laughing. I'm still taking all of this in - what we did, saw, ate, drank, and the fun we had. For someone like me who is used to traveling alone, it was nice to experience these things with other people, especially family members. I know Dad was happy to be home and see Mom. They missed one another, but I know he also enjoyed the trip. I feel like being with him and seeing him experience Europe for the first time made this trip extra special. Everything went very smoothly for us, which is always a plus. 

As I went through my mail over the weekend, I came across an envelope from Delta airlines that said "Where will you go next?" I chuckled at how fitting that seemed. I always have travel thoughts and ideas brewing in my head. And I know no matter where it is, it will be an adventure and something I won't forget. 

Thanks all, for reading and coming along with us. 
Until next time,


Darlene Kientop

You will always treasure a family journey. In 2011, my brother, sister, cousin & I traveled to a reunion in our ancestral home of Venjan, SE. My cousin had fought breast cancer, & a yr. later it returned and took her life. Meeting relatives & having communion together in our ancestral church will always be our treasure.