The wait is over, Europe is opening up for Americans and I am not delaying any longer. In fact, I just arrived in beautiful Dubrovnik, Croatia for a few nights of discovery and education. This medieval town perched along the steep Adriatic coast is a UNESCO World heritage site that draws thousands of guests daily to its walled old town
Stay tuned for more coverage of this region over the coming days. For now, I want to share the airport experience at SFO and my connection gateway Munich with you to set expectations of what to expect when you travel overseas. Largely due to the mess of different rules for each country, the poor counter agents now have to validate every document for compliance.
My example is the perfect illustration of this challenge. I have a ticket on United for SFO to Munich and back and a second ticket on Lufthansa from Munich to Dubrovnik. Well, the systems don’t talk to each other so I was asked to provide the mandatory entry registration for Germany even though I am not entering Germany, I only transit within the airport to a non-Schengen country. It took two supervisors and 40 minutes to sort this just for me. Add hundreds of families with their own versions and you get long lines. Lesson learned – get to the airport early or risk missing your plane.
Once aboard my plane, I settled in for the 11 hour flight which passed uneventfully – full moon over the horizon aside. The photo doesn’t do the experience justice, take my word for it – It was magical!
Once our completely full flight docked at the gate in Munich, it felt like we had landed on the moon. The airport was a ghost town; no immigration or checks of any documents; my transfer was easy and fast. Note that Germany still requires full n95 face masks to pass through airports and on flights. No fabric ones and no single layer ones are permitted. This highlights the need for preparation and showcases the value of travel advisors.
Good news is that I made it safely and in one piece. I look forward to sharing more adventures with you soon.