As terribly hard as it was to leave mamie and papi and “the most beautiful region of the most beautiful country in the world”, we had a wonderful trip home. After check-in and security, we moseyed into the Geneva StarAlliance lounge to eat our Swiss muesli and yoghurt, sliced breakfast meats and croissants. We grabbed the paper, a quick coffee and mini Tobblerones for the flight and went to our gate where we were the first ones instructed to board. After a noisy breakdown for Ayo during take off, he fell asleep until our arrival in Frankfurt. Then in Frankfurt, we went to the Lufthansa lounge to wait for the next flight. We downloaded email there, got a Jakobs-Kaffee latte macchiato and beer on tap..oh and enjoyed some caviar and fish verrines, Landliebe yoghurt desserts and chicken sweet & sour baguette sandwiches. On trips like these, Tall Mountain’s frequent flyer status really comes in handy. For the record, we did not used to fly like that growing up! haha
Still, no matter how plush the lounges are, there is no way getting around it: international travel is exhausting. So while we had to stow Ayo under our seats on the way over on our United flight, we appreciated being treated to a bassinet on our transatlantic flight back with Lufthansa. That was especially nice as jet lag usually seems harder when traveling from East to West. It’s nice to be able to manage it on the flight: sleep begets sleep! Our trip was free (besides airport taxes and 10% of the cost of a ticket for Ayo) – we’d booked it on miles before Ayo was born, but I would argue that it would have been worth a premium to get all four flights on Lufthansa. The food was totally decent and came with real cutlery. Snacks weren’t rationed out but made available to all, a flight attendant made our bassinet bed for us, brought out organic baby food for us to take home, in-flight entertainment was great (Tall Mountain hates it when we have to all squint to see a pre-scheduled movie on a single screen the size of an iPhone) and finally there was a downstairs galley with 5 bathrooms – all equipped with changing tables – a great refuge from the rest of the plane when baby loses it. Like blowouts, I think those breakdowns are to be expected when you are trying to get a four month old to sleep with 300 people talking, laughing, snoring, walking by…or my favorite: audaciously peering into the crib.
Take off and landing were rough on his little ears but especially on our European internal flights, leading me to wonder if they fly at a slightly lower altitude than with the larger transatlantic aircrafts. We chose to feed Ayo no matter where we were at in his schedule, to be courteous to other passengers and nursing seemed to help unblock his ears and calm him down. Prior to our departure, sis gave me the best travel by plane tip: “Don’t worry about your baby crying on the flight. It sounds worse to you than it does to the rest of the plane”. That was so true. The loud noise of the plane drowned out most of the babies crying, with the exception of that of a 21 month old screeching toddler. Her poor mother spent most of the flight with her in the confined downstairs galley. Turns out after the 10 hour transatlantic, she had another three hour wait in Denver for her flight to Tucson and then a two hour drive to her final destination. Oh my did we ever have it easy in comparison! Upon our arrival in Denver, all we had to worry about was getting our butter (yes butter) and 17lbs of cheese into the refrigerator and managing infant jet lag. No, that wasn’t a typo.
All in all, I think this was a great age to travel. Ayo wasn’t mobile enough to lick the floor or to need to run down the aisles (those days will be fun). And I know my son enough to be that much more comfortable with nursing, poop explosions or crying in public. It’s definitely not the same as traveling à deux. Tall Mountain and I set our personal movie screens to simultaneously play The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Tall Mountain pointed out that it was like a date-night to the movies. Only we had to pause one hour into it to entertain Ayo who was going stir-crazy in his little travel bed. But we fought for who was going to get to snuggle and give Ayo a change of diapers and scenery. So there was no wishing for the past. Oh sure, things take a little longer but they are just so much more fun with our little boy. And some things stay the same – we managed to do our big shop and bring back many fun treats, this time packed meticulously in between diapers and stuffed animals. My auntie called us from the UK in the middle of our packing and asked: “don’t you have food in America then?” to which I responded: “No! At least.. nothing like this.” 🙂