Zürich to Chicago

What a difference it made last night to have the AC running full force.  Ron also convinced the night concierge to give us ice for our water before bed.  So I slept pretty well, all things considered.

Ron had discovered last night, when checking email, that the US State Department had issued international travel alerts for Americans.  Credible threats from Al Qaida with possible terrorist attacks in August.  Just an extra layer of anxiety for our return trip.  =(

We were all awake at a reasonable time today.  Downstairs for breakfast by shortly after 8:00.  And on our way by shortly after 9:00.

We stopped for (attendant pumped!) gasoline in the neighborhood, then entered our final Swiss destination for the GPS.  Brunhilda got us to the airport by about 10:00.  We eventually found the correct parking garage (thanks to one more travel guardian angel) and dropped off our rented Opel.

Upon entering the airport proper at about 11:00, we were surprised to see on the Departures board that passengers were expected to report at the gate at 11:40.  For a 12:55 flight??!!  That seemed excessively early, even for the Swiss!  Not wanting to risk missing our flight, we complied.

Swiss Air had self-service check in, using passport or ticket reservation number.  The kiosk issued a boarding pass, as well as a luggage label.  Then on to another line (presenting passport and boarding pass) to turn over checked luggage.

Then passport control and an exit stamp.  SkyMetro to the international terminal.  Quick duty-free stop for chocolates.  And no time for lunch.

A new line at the gate, where all US citizens had to complete a form of whom to contact in case of emergency ~ for the consulate.  We also had to present our boarding pass and our passport again.  Extra security measures due to the terrorist threat level, I’m sure.  At that point, whatever they needed to do to keep us safe.

After this extra check at the gate, we sat for 30-40 minutes.  Ron hunted down water bottles for us.  And we took one last pre-flight potty break.

Once boarding was announced, we had one more check of boarding pass and passport.  With all of the extra security, the flight missed our departure time (and our fly-over for Paris and London).  After waiting for a new departure time from the tower, plus 3 passengers on late connecting flights, we were about an hour late leaving Zürich.

When we packed at home, I gave a fleeting thought to how similar the bottle caps and the pills are for my two prescriptions.  My blood pressure medicine and my anti-anxiety medicine (for the flight).  Since I haven’t ever mixed these up at home, I dismissed the thought of packing one in a more traditional Rx bottle.  What I didn’t anticipate was the level of exhaustion, anxiety, and distraction I’d be feeling just hours before our return flight.  So-o-o-o-o-o, I’m pretty sure that I accidentally took an extra does of BP  med instead of a single dose of anti-anxiety med.  OOPS!  Well, with my anxiety level high, I was pretty sure that my blood pressure would be higher than normal anyway.  So hopefully there would be no terribly adverse effects during the flight.  Even so, I wasn’t confident enough to then add the anti-anxiety med on top.  So I weathered the longer of the two flights without a helpful “cocktail” for my fear.

Thank goodness for a really smooth flight with only occasional, slight turbulence!  Great seat-mate who is an artist and entrepreneur in the metro area (primarily Irving Park).  Having a nice choice of in-flight movies also helped.  I watched “The Big Wedding” (Diane Keaton and Robert DeNiro), “Admission” (Tina Fey), “The Company You Keep” (Robert Redford), and the animated “Epic.”  =)

We landed safely back in Chicago shortly after 4 p.m. local time.  It felt so good to be back in the United States, though bittersweet to have our Swiss adventures concluded.  Just a few francs left to share with the children in our family … and a few hundred photos to organize, of course.  Projects for another day.

~ CH~

~ USA~


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