Like an eager child who incessantly asks, “are we there yet?!”, I couldn’t keep my eyes off of the map of our flight path on our flight to Europe.
Although I’ve never been a tourist in Germany, Frankfurt has always been my gateway to Europe. The best part about the Frankfurt airport? What I fondly call the “psychedelic tunnel,” which is a passageway between terminals. It’s a trippy first contact with earth after coming off a 10+ hour flight in a jet lag daze. The loooong tunnel has colored lights that dim and brighten, changing from green, blue, red, to pink, etc. accompanied by other worldly sounds, alternating from beeping, whirring to cricket noises. I don’t know if this is German humor or art, but it sure is memorable. I don’t think I can remember the interior of any other airport, and I was eager to see it again for old times’ sake. (You can see a video of the “psychedelic tunnel” here).
Once we landed, I was expecting to frolic through the psychedelic tunnel. Instead, we were cattle-herded into yet another security checkpoint where a young, expressionless customs guard stamped my passport without even uttering a hello, or more appropriately, a guten tag. Next came Paul Bunyan’s sister, a burly stern German woman whose singular job was to make sure people weren’t adult two-year-olds and could put their items properly into the bucket for the x-ray machine. She took her job very seriously.
Things sure have changed since I last traveled to Europe eight years ago. I have never had to go through security again for a connecting flight. It makes me feel old when I can say, “Remember the good ol’ days of the psychedelic tunnel? …When we could fly with liquids and greet our loved ones at the gate?”
One thing that definitely has not changed is my fascination with Italy: the architecture, the food, the language, the food…
We had a spectacular view of Florence as we landed. I even caught sight of the Duomo in the distance.
It’s surreal to travel 5,920 miles at 39,000 feet, and only 17 hours later be in another world. As our taxi meandered through the narrow cobblestone streets of Florence, all I could think was “when can I eat pizza?” Jet lag made me hungry.
And that’s when our driver stopped at a gelateria. It was the correct street, and the correct number….had I reserved a gelateria on Airbnb?
To be Continued…