Dec. 24, 2012: NYC to AMS
I should have started this trip more responsibly. One of my best friends, Joseph, and I had booked tickets to see two of our mutual best friends, Paolo and Allie (Alessandra) for the holidays. Scheduled to take off at around 4pm on Christmas Eve, I should have been packed from the night before, and we should have had a good night’s sleep so that we could better take on the sleepless nights we knew we were about to encounter with our Italians.
Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20.
The night before the trip, on December 23rd, a bunch of my other friends wanted to get together one last time for 2012. Some of them were leaving also to visit family and such, and this would be the last that we all would be together that year. How could we refuse?
We went out, and like many nights out with my friends in New York City, we didn’t get home until 6am. And not only had I yet to pack, but I still had to do laundry. We slept for several hours, then I woke up at 10:30 to get things rolling. We wanted to leave for the airport from the apartment by 1pm, but my laundry was still in the dryer at that time. It finished soon after, and I quickly threw things into my suitcase, we called a cab, and we were on our way to JFK to begin our Great Northern Italy Adventure™ with our best friends.
The first leg of our trip was to have us in Amsterdam early on Christmas morning, followed by a short flight to Berlin, where Joseph and I would spend the day. The airport had very light traffic, I guess because it was Christmas Eve afternoon (note: great time to travel!). We boarded the flight without incident and slept almost the entire way there. Maybe we were fortunate to be so tired.
Dec. 25, 2012: AMS to TXL to MXP
Waking up at what would still be before midnight back in New York, we soon touched down in Amsterdam, where we had to kill 4 hours before the following flight into Berlin’s Tegel Airport. Being that it was Christmas day, we didn’t cab it into the city for breakfast, as most things were probably closed. Instead, we ate in the airport, I smoked, we walked around, and I smoked some more; I love European airports, as most of them have an indoor smoking area, and within security many times. Soon it was our flight to Berlin.
Arriving in Berlin, we caught a bus to Alexanderplatz, which actually left us nowhere near the plaza. There was a Christmas market going on, and what better way to spend Christmas day? We had about 8 hours to stay, since our flight wasn’t until that evening, so we schlepped our bags around while sampling all the German treats. Glühwein (the German version of mulled wine) was in our hands the entire time as we strolled around. However, it soon started to rain, and we decided to head back early to Tegel Airport and sleep at the gate.
We slept more comfortably than others trying to sleep there, since we grabbed the electric massage chairs as our temporary beds. Though we were both traveling very light, with only one carry on bag each, Air Berlin made us check the baggage anyway, since it was over their paltry (can I use this word in this context?) 6 kg baggage allowance. But at least we didn’t have to watch the bags for the hour or two that we slept. We awoke just before boarding time, and we were soon on our way to Milan’s Malpensa Airport.
Touching down at Malpensa, we were both inspired to see that the one hotel that we had booked for the entire trip was located directly opposite the terminal. The Sheraton Malpensa Hotel is literally inside the airport’s grounds, and there is even an underground tunnel from the airport to the hotel, which means we never had to step outside that night. It was late, and still Christmas day, so we decided to just eat inside the hotel’s restaurant. We got in touch with Allie, who would meet us in Milan in the morning, then we tried to get some sleep.