The London Heathrow Hostel

At the airport in Venice, we discovered that the Star Alliance system apparently lags behind United, and so their system wasn’t showing DH’s gold status.  This was unfortunate as we were there for three hours, and we wanted to use the lounge.  DH tried for nearly an hour (we had nothing else to do, after all, and he’s got his stubborn moments like I do) to get Lufthansa and the lounge to recognize his status with no luck.  Lufthansa said the lounge in Frankfurt might acknowledge us (but it didn’t).

Our flight from Venice to Frankfurt was rather awesome, as we flew over the Alps.  That is definitely an impressive mountain range.  It was great to see it from above in addition to the train ride.  Also, Lufthansa’s flight attendants for that flight were hot German guys. 🙂  And they handed out this stuff called Tender Milch Leche that ended up being like a small Little Debbie Swiss Roll with better chocolate and stuff.  Hey!  I wonder if that’s why it’s called a Swiss Roll!  I bet it came from there. 🙂  Anyways, it was yummy, so DH asked a flight attendant if we could have more of it, and he brought us a pile of four of them.  Score!

In Frankfurt, we ended up having dinner at a cafe, and we decided to have German food, namely sausages!  We each got a different sausage and then split them between us.  I liked the beef sausage the best, as it was firm and mildly spicy. (I like my sausage like I like my men, bada bing!)  Then, we headed to the gate.  There was a brief delay for our flight because, “there were many children on the previous flight, and we need to do extra cleaning.”  They cleaned well, though…no signs of child-mess. 🙂  We weren’t worried about the delay, because we were arriving in London at around 10pm local time, and our next flight out was at 7:30am the following morning.  When we booked, we had no idea how this would work.  We didn’t know if we’d even be allowed to leave the terminal if we wanted to (turns out we could have…we even could have had our luggage), but given the short time we had, we didn’t want to have to go in and out of customs.  We were going to be adventurous and camp out in the airport, TAR-style. 

It really wasn’t all that bad.  To re-adjust to US time, we needed to be mostly awake then anyways.   What was odd is that, about an hour after we got there, a man came by and started barking at all of the (fifty or so) people camped out like we were to wake up and move.  We figured maybe they needed to clean the area we were in.  Then, the guy started walking us all away.  I was like, whoa…shouldn’t someone tell us where we’re going?  It felt a bit like a death march or something.  Also, I hadn’t put my shoes on (because I thought we were just moving temporarily), and I wanted to know if I should stop to put them on or not.  We later passed another worker (the barking person was too scary to ask) who kindly explained that they just re-locate all the overnight international people to one gate and essentially do a lock-in to prevent theft and also allow them to monitor all of us (in case someone has a medical issue or something) with minimum staff (vs. us all being spread out all over the airport).  Thus reassured, we re-joined the march and shortly thereafter, we were at a brightly lit gate for a few hours.  We camped out, and both of us managed to get a little sleep during the late US evening there as well as catching up on e-mail and whatnot.  (I hate the new Facebook news feed, btw, and I really wish I could convince all the people there to shift to Google+ or Twitter so I wouldn’t have to go to FB anymore.  Facebook took the one damn thing that I thought they did very well and broke it with this whole “recent top posts” thing.  In fairness, Google+ doesn’t do that well either, yet.  I may go back to using Brizzly or some other client to read FB.  TweetDeck’s FB support has dropped considerably since Twitter bought it, unfortunately. I can post from there, but I can’t read posts from it very well.  It hasn’t been reliable, but that may well be FB’s fault and not TweetDeck’s.)

Unfortunately, a few hours later, they shifted us back out into the airport at large.  So, that was a bit annoying, but the process makes sense logistically.  We napped in the main terminal some more (both of us either sleeping on our bags or, in my case, crafting an elaborate way that would wake me up if anyone tried to move my bag).  About ten minutes before the United lounge (which we *would* have access to) was scheduled to open, I woke up and roused DH to guard my stuff while I went to the bathroom.  (frank girl talk follows, skip to the next paragraph if you want to skip it)  Now, my period had started two days ago, and fortunately, I had remembered to bring my divacup with me (it was the last thing I packed, literally).  Unfortunately, somehow all of the shifting around or something had dislodged it, and it turned out that while I was sleeping, I was leaking.  I had giant stains on my pants.  And, I had no spare pants with me.  I had a spare shirt, but no spare pants.  D’oh!  I initially tried washing it out in the sink, figuring I’d use the XCelerator hand dryers to dry them, but my pants were heavy denim.  The stains came out, mostly, but the pants were soaked and not wearable for the long term.  My undies, though, washed and dried super-fast.  (I love those fancy travel undies I bought for this trip.  You really can just wash them in a sink, wring them out, pat them with a towel and have dry and clean undies.)  So, I started brainstorming about what I could do.  The shirt I was wearing was a wide necked tunic style, so I hit upon an idea.  I went back out into the terminal in my wet pants just long enough to retrieve my other shirt.  Then, back in the bathroom, I shimmied my current shirt down to my waist and tucked the sleeves into the neck, and bam…I had a skirt that was clean and dry.  I am brilliant. 🙂  I put on my other shirt, and I was good to go.

We headed into the United lounge after that, where we were able to get English-style breakfast (lots of meat and toast, and sauteed mushrooms), juice, and soda.  DH also took a shower.  I didn’t think about taking a shower until too late, or I would have taken one, too.  Then, we just hung out until our flight was called…and right now, we’re flying home.  I slept for about half of the flight, and I may still nap some more.  I’m looking forward to being home, though I’m not looking forward to the pile of work waiting on me!  I miss Pancake!  I hope he still remembers us!

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