My bus journey spanned a delightful 6 hours and 30 minutes, eventually leading me to the bustling Hamburg Central Bus Station. From there, I seamlessly transitioned to the famed German underground system, affectionately known as the S-Bahn, to reach the welcoming embrace of my family's abode. Nestled in their cozy home, I reveled in the cool, rain-kissed weather for a blissful week.
As I type these words, the clock reads 23:35 CET on the final day of October in the year 2016. I find myself perched in the comfortable confines of an Inter City train, en route from Hamburg, Germany, to Düsseldorf, Germany. The purpose behind this journey? A month-long visit to my dear mother in Curaçao. With just three hours remaining until I alight at Düsseldorf Airport, I anticipate a brief layover of approximately 7 hours before my onward flight to Curaçao.
Here I am, currently stationed at the gate, eagerly awaiting the commencement of my flight. The train ride offered a brief respite, allowing an hour of rest to slip away. I disembarked at 02:27 CET at the train station within the airport complex, only to realize that I needed to navigate my way to the terminals.
Typically, the airport's trusty skytrain facilitates this journey, but alas, it doesn't operate during the nighttime hours. After an adventurous 20-minute trek from one end to the other, I finally located the airport shuttle bus and made my way to the terminals, arriving at 03:30 CET. Given the early hour, my gate wasn't yet operational, so I found a comfortable bench and managed to catch another three hours of precious sleep.
Upon rousing from my slumber, I proceeded to check in, surrendering my backpack and heading for passport control. As is customary for me, I had inadvertently packed liquids, but in my fatigued state, it took some effort to comprehend the instructions from the vigilant police officer. Nevertheless, I managed to rectify the situation.
Fast forward to 07:32 CET, and I find myself firmly ensconced at the gate. My boarding is scheduled for 08:40, with the flight set to take off at 09:20. A long flight indeed, with an estimated duration of around 10 hours. As I sit back in my seat, soaring through the skies at an altitude of 38,277 feet (11,651 meters), I can't help but marvel at the breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean below.
A journey like this certainly requires sustenance, and the flight crew delivered with a refreshing drink and a satisfying snack at the onset of the trip. Four hours later, a delectable meal was served - I opted for the chicken with potatoes, and I must say it exceeded my expectations for airplane cuisine.
The plane, though near capacity, maintains a comfortable atmosphere. Maneuvering through the cabin can be a bit of a challenge due to the crowd, but overall, it's a minor inconvenience. The interior resembles a typical long-haul aircraft, featuring a well-appointed first-class section at the front, followed by the XL seats, and finally, the economy class where I find my seat.
Each row accommodates eight passengers, thoughtfully split between two window seats along the side and four seats in the center. I am comfortably settled in seat 27D, positioned in the center on the left side of the plane.
Now, as the clock reads 15:10 CET, I'm counting down the hours: 4 hours and 44 minutes to be precise, until I touch down in Willemstad, Curaçao. Just a short while ago, the cabin crew distributed forms to be filled out, requesting information such as name, date of birth, the purpose of my visit to the country, and the name of the hotel or address of my stay. Excitement for my journey to Curaçao courses through me as we continue to traverse the azure skies above the Atlantic Ocean.