Friday, June 15, 2012
As soon as the plane touched down on the runway at Prague airport, I was ready to make my move to get off as quickly as possible. Thankfully, I had no carry-on luggage in any of the overhead bins. As soon as we got to the gate and were given the signal that we could unhook our seatbelts and get up, I did. I grabbed my backpack and purse from under the seat and stood up in the aisle. I usually don’t do this, but I was really nervous about making it in time to catch my next flight to Košice. We arrived 10 minutes later than our scheduled time. It was going to be very close. When I got off the plane I heard other people say they were on the flight to Košice too. We were all running and agreed that whoever got to the gate first would let them know others were coming (about a dozen of us in all). Of course we landed just about as far away as the connecting gate you could get. We had to stop at Passport control, then go through security (everything out of the bags, etc. again). There was a bit of a delay, but thankfully I got through security without a hitch. Then I had to dash up the escalator, and a bit further to the gate (I knew I should of done that marathon training). I got to the gate and people were still there. I saw my cousins! I ran up to them and hugged them! “I made it!” I exclaimed. My cousin then told me the flight was delayed (about 30 minutes). I was so relieved! My cousin bought me a bottle of water and I got to sit a bit and catch my breath. Soon, it was time to board the small plane for Košice. My cousins were seated three rows in front of me. The flight was not full and I got the row to myself. The flight was quick (a little over an hour).
As we made our descent into Košice, I could see the blue exterior of US Steel Plant. Seeing the mill complex, I was reminded of my hometown of Duquesne, Pennsylvania. The landing was smooth and we walked the short distance to the airport and waited for our luggage. Would my suitcase be there? Finally, I saw it!! I made it. My suitcase made it.
We walked out through the arrival door and found our taxi driver, Erik, standing outside waiting for us with a sign “Lisa Alzo.” He spoke English and was very helpful, taking us to the train station so we could exchange our U.S. dollars for Euros. As we were leaving the train station it started to rain and the showers continued as Erik drove us to our destination—Vranov. He told us a lot about the area, and as it turns out he has the same surname as my father’s best friend (he said he had relatives who settled in Pittsburgh, and there is a possibility there is a connection). Also, his grandmother was from Hanigovce (the same area as my maternal grandmother).
When we reached the Hotel Patriot Vranov Nad Toplou, the rain had stopped and our cousins were waiting for us. After we settled the taxi fare and made arrangements for Erik to assist us with return trips to Košice airport, it was time for hugs. It was so great to see my cousins Renata and Robert again after two years After a brief visit, we checked into our rooms.
My room was a single room (big enough for me) with its own bathroom. However, there was no air conditioning. They provided a desktop fan and I had to open the windows (it was very warm). After we unpacked and freshened up, we went down to the restaurant to have a bite to eat. I had a grilled chicken salad and a diet coke.
In order to beat the jet lag (Slovakia is 6 hours ahead of New York time), I tried to stay up until my normal bedtime. Since I had free Wi-Fi, I checked my e-mail and social media sites and then it was time to turn out the lights and get some rest in preparation for the next day.
Copyright 2012, Lisa A. Alzo
All Rights Reserved
[Note: I am not being compensated by any of the companies that produce the commercial products mentioned in this post].