I am writing this at 5am (or is it 11am?) from my bed. My own bed. My familiar, comfy, welcome bed. Our last day in Europe began at 5:45am on Friday morning as we rose after a very sleepless night in Zurich. I don't know if the Swiss always love the nightlife as they did on that particular Thursday night, or if they were unusually rowdy because it has been a holiday (Corpus Christi day), but the party at the bar and spilling onto the street below our apartment went on until 3am at least.
The boys, however, rose without (much) complaint and were reDy to leave for the airport by 6:30. Our Uber driver was there in a flash and quickly delivered us to Zurich's airport. Security began at the ticket counter as agents asked us a series of probing questions (Where have you been? Where did you stay? What did you see while you were in England? Paris? Etc.). This quickly turned surreal as Reed has difficulty understanding the agent's questions because of her accent, and he would turn to us before answering or ask, "What?" Tim and I thought, "Well, here we go...we are going to be detained for sure!" Luckily we were not and now have a story to give Reed a hard time about for years to come.
Our flight from Zurich to JFK was 8 hours 30 minutes, and after we went through Customs and retrieved our luggage, we had to change airports to LaGuardia. Our second Uber ride of the day was less positive, with a driver who didn't want to honor the agreed upon price and threatened to turn around and take us back to JFK. Finally he and Tim agreed on the price, and he delivered us to LaGuardia after some pretty white-knuckle driving. Frustrating for sure, but we were just thankful to be safely one step closer to come.
Unfortunately now we had a long layover and then a flight delay! We boarded our flight to Knoxville after 22 hours of wake time, and landed after a full 24 hours with very little sleep. My parents were a welcome sight, as they met us at the airport with our car to take us home! We were all in such a stupor as we stumbled across the threshold of home, we hurriedly said our good nights.
I look out my bedroom window at the familiar backyard scene that I love so much, and I cannot believe our epic trip is over. I am so grateful--for the prayers of so many who covered our trip each and every day, for the safety we experienced, for the accommodations that were ideal (even over a noisy bar), for the kindness of the strangers we met, for the good weather, for excellent public transportation, for good health, for the beauty and history we saw, for the adventure we experienced, for the food we enjoyed, for so much more...
Most of all, I am beyond thankful for these three people I shared the last 16 days with!!! Traveling together can challenge you, stretch you, push you, and wear on you, but it also grows you and binds you together in such a beautiful way. I am so proud of the boys--for their attitudes, their eagerness, and their engagement. And for Tim--our navigator who, with his able assistant Reed, steered us safely and successfully every step of the way. This was, indeed, the trip of a lifetime, but not our last. Maybe after a few more hours sleep, I can start dreaming of the next! 😉