Written by: The Bridge on Saturday, February 16th, 2008
Hello, out of Africa to everyone in Canada and beyond! We are now the new “bloggers” of The Bridge, Brian and Leanne. Maybe we’ll get Ed Vetter and Judy to write something too! We have only been in Palmgrove for 6 days and my first blog will be about our flights and experiences on getting to this infamous place.
We left Crystal Spring on Wednesday 6th, 2008, heading for the Winnipeg Airport. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 12:00pm. After checking in, goodbye hugs, we heaved our way into the waiting terminal, where we sat and waited while our flight was delayed, for the first of many times. It seemed our plane had mechanical problems so we had to sit for an hour longer; then the ride took longer than normally, because the plane flew slower than usual. Maybe because of the wind? Our plane landed in Toronto around 3pm or so, then our longest wait began. We missed our flight to Frankfurt, because, of course, we had been delayed earlier on. Our choices now were to stay overnight in Toronto, or on the other end, Frankfurt.
So…waiting for about 7 hours, Brian and I went running around in the Toronto Airport. It was storming outside; while we watched the departure/ arrival display screens, flights were being canceled all the time. Almost all of them were canceled, except for a handful. For some reason, ours wasn’t, so after waiting one hour longer than was scheduled, we boarded the Air Canada aircraft. We had to sit in our comfy little airplane seats for 2 ½ hours. I think the plane had mechanical problems again, once they got that fixed, they had to de-ice the plane. There was a storm going on, the plane was full of snow and ice. They used these huge nozzles attached to booms with cabs on top, or whatever. It was a liquid something that they sprayed all over the plane, (Brian figures it was a chemical), However, afterwards it was clean and ready to fly over the sea!
Up front there was this poor kid who cried practically all the way… really, really screamed… that was nasty. I was so relieved that I wasn’t sitting closer up front. The poor thing, towards whom everyone was thinking nasty thoughts, was so hoarse already, but still wouldn’t stop. Fortunately, for Ed Vetter, Judy, and me, we managed to sleep most of the way. Ed, Judy, and I were sitting together in the middle aisle. Brian couldn’t sleep, so he entertained himself with the little screen in front of him. There was a selection of movies, television shows, and various audio available. This airplane had one behind every seat.When the person in front of you leaned his seat back, you almost had to look cross eyed to focus!
Landing in Frankfurt found us all awake; it was around 1:30 in the afternoon. We were wide awake, anyways Brian and I, because for us it was a new city in a new country, on a new continent. We had to go find out what our plane to Lagos was doing, but we already knew we had to stay overnight in Frankfurt. It seemed Air Canada was paying for our hotel, the Steinberger Hotel, which was very fancy; we definitely wouldn’t have stayed in it otherwise! Since it was only early afternoon, and we were in a strange city, we decided to seize the day and take a tour. Inquiring at the front desk, we found out a 2-hour tour of some of the city highlights was ready to leave almost right away. To our amusement, we found the huge double-decker bus, which we clambered into; it was empty, except for us four. Hence, we got the topmost seats right at the very front! However, as it turned out, our hotel was only one of many stops for the bus, we drove to the main office downtown, about 7 people got on as well. The bus was far from full; it was a merry crew anyway. There were people from Ukraine, Japan, and an assorted mixture.
The tour turned out to be informative and interesting. The first thing we noticed was these strange trees lining the side of the road. Over the racket of the bus’ blue tarp rattling in the wind, (our driver was unbelievable! He was so confident and had a “shvaarn fuesz,” a hundred times I figured he would for sure hit a car or curb, but he never did.) We shouted down the stairs to ask which trees those were. I forgot what he said the German name was, but in English, it was the Sycamore tree! Of course, that had us excited, because we instantly thought of Zacharias, the tax collector, climbing the sycamore tree to get a better view of Jesus. These trees are trimmed as you see, and one can see that if it wasn’t trimmed, there sure would be enough limbs to clamber up on. I assume because it was “winter” in Frankfurt, they didn’t have leaves.I would like to see one dressed in its leaves.
Next, we toured a place called Saxen House, which is actually not a house, but a block of ancient restaurants with cobble stone sidewalks.By their outlook, they seemed to come out of medieval times.They had names like Gaslicht, Grill Haus, Hoppla, and Steinern Haus.Here we are in front of one of them.The next area our bus careened into was what is called Roman Square, an area of beautiful old looking shops and churches that had been rebuilt, because the place had been leveled in the World War II. Miraculously, the highest building there, a huge Catholic church, was not hit by bombs and was still standing as an original building. Our tour guide was a jolly old fellow who liked to smoke and made all this history interesting with his humorous narrating. A few facts I recall were, that before World War II there were 30,000 Jews in the city, after the war there were only 300.Also, that the Main River runs through Frankfurt, (pronounced “nicht dein, aber mein”). We saw that many beautiful bridges crossed that river.
The next day we got up and had a leisurely breakfast at Air Canada’s expense, a breakfast that was a buffet, where they had everything from numerous varieties of fish, to 6 different yogurts, to cheeses, and you name it. We knew this was our last meal in a country other than Nigeria.
The Frankfurt Airport is huge, complicated, and very nice looking in all.Is filled with all kinds of little and big shops too, it also has areas that are set apart for malls.We walked around a bit while waiting for our flight.
Our plane left at 11ish, the flight to Lagos took 6 hours. Luckily, I got a seat next to a sweet old black granny. The plan was filled mostly with black people. She told me that she was on her way back to Nigeria, she had been in London and that next week the corpse of her sister was to be shipped to Nigeria, where they eventually will have a funeral. I couldn’t imagine what the body would look like in that heat, being in the air for so long! Granny and I got along just fine, I even traded seats with her so I could sit next to the window. It was great! It was a clear day, so I could see the ground and the first thing that struck me was the Alps, we flew right over them!! They were absolutely gorgeous! Then we flew over the Mediterranean Sea, also over Constantine. A screen on the plane told us that we were flying at a ground speed of 606mph, with the height of 37,000 ft, which is 11,277 meters. Also, the outside air temperature was minus 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Next came what I had been looking forward to seeing: the Sahara Desert! At first, the sand looked red and hilly.Then it turned white and flat as a pancake and that was how 3/4s of the desert was. I was amazed that I could still take so clear a picture from that height. I could tell where there was some water, because you could see snake-like lines that were obviously river beds, but I’m sure they were dry. The desert was so huge we flew over it for at least 3 hours. Now I can say I have seen the Sahara in my lifetime!
I will close this blog now, the next will be a new one on our beginnings in Nigeria!
“I will make Your name to be remembered in all generations;
Therefore the people shall praise You forever and ever.”