20 February 2008
Up, up and away!
Our journey begins...after a little head ache.
I finally bought tickets to visit my brother and his family in Geneva.
After looking for airfare on just about every airline, with combinations of flights to just about every city in Western Europe, I finally found flights for my son and me...to Paris. Somehow we have to get ourselves from Paris to Geneva, but that is far less worrisome than getting the tickets from the US to Europe were.
Originally, I had hoped to fly to Amsterdam, rent a car and drive to the very small town in Northern Germany that my dad's family was from. But, that seemed a bit sporty to attempt with a four year-old. I could've gotten a flight to Amsterdam and then flown on Easy Jet to Geneva, but the coordinating of all this in terms of time, finances and stamina, were more than I really wanted to undertake.
Then came the airlines. I hate, hate, hate trying to find airfare. When I first started looking, the flights were right around $1000 each. Too much for my blood. I visited every airline that flew from the US to England, Germany, France and Switzerland. I checked endless combinations of flights on different days, times and with multitudes of connections to different cities.
Northwest and Delta decided to merge during all my efforts and I was very sheepish about going with the hometown carrier because of its recent reputation of cancelling flights and the uncertainty of the impact the merger might have. Plus, Northwest was not really any cheaper than the rest and the flight times were fairly undesirable, especially considering I'll be flying with my son.
So, I went with the airline I have flown before and one that had the cheapest airfare and best flight times: Icelandair. The tickets cost around $1200 combined, which isn't bad considering when I started that was the cost for just one ticket.
We fly from Minneapolis to Reykjavik and have a very brief layover there before we head to Paris. There are a few sites I want to see in and around Paris and my brother and his family might want to join us, so I haven’t figured out how we are getting from Paris to Geneva yet. There are daily trains and even Easy Jet, so I’m not to concerned about that. Once my brother and I solidify some plans, I’ll make some arrangements.
I’m thrilled to be going! Right now, however, I’m a bit disappointed at the things I had to cut out of my itinerary. Cutting out the trip to the town in Germany where my father’s family was from is a bummer, along with not visiting Mont St. Michel, which was to be one of the highlights of the trip. I still have Lisieux and Chartres on the list, along with some sites in Paris. I have two day-trips planned from my base in Geneva. One to the south to the monastery, La Grande Chartreuse, and the shrine at La Salette. Another trip to the west to Ars (St. John Vianney), Paray-le-Monail (Sacred Heart/St. Margaret Mary Alacoque) which is on the way to Nevers for the shrine of St. Bernadette Soubirous where her incorrupt body lies in the chapel.
I would love to go to Chur to go some genealogy research on my Swiss branches, but it seems more of a hassle than it’s worth at this point. My brother wants to take me to all the touristy sites, like Geneva (?), the Jura, Interlaken, and Lucern. I mentioned taking the kids (my nephews and son) to Disneyland and was summarily chastised for coming all the way to Europe to go to Disneyland. I thought it would be a welcome break for the kids and them from all the shrines/religious sites I planned to visit (even though I planned to do the day trips on my own with my son). I don’t know what there is to see in Geneva, but Interlaken would be nice. Parts of the Italian areas of Switzerland would be nice, like Lugano and Bellinzona. And then there's the Château de Chillon on the northern shores of Lake Geneva and...