left Tucson on Nov 23, 2001, for our Eastern European
adventure. These web pages will describe our trip, give
you the opportunity to see what we saw and give some
information about each country.
The most stringent airline security was done
before we even left Tucson. We both put anything that
might set off the walk-through security alarm in our carry-on
bags. Well, John set off the walk-through alarm. A small
metal part in his belt buckle was the culprit. Then he
needed a pat-down. Security was still not
satisfied. The hand wand made noise by his
feet. John then removed his shoes and finally passed the
hand wand test. The shoes then had to be put on the
conveyor-belt machine because of the metal eyelets.
(This was before the bomb-in-the-shoe incident.) Thank
goodness there were only 3 or 4 people in the security
line. I think John was enjoying all the attention and
scanning he got.
Our plane was only about half full from
Tucson to Dallas and the same from Dallas to
Philadelphia. We elected to stay over-night in
Philadelphia before our transatlantic flight the next
day. We used our frequent flier miles to the east
coast. We stayed at the Marriott Hotel at the airport -
a short walk from the terminal.
The next morning we walked about 50 yards
from the Marriott Hotel to the airport train for a trip to
downtown Philadelphia. We arrived only a few blocks from
the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall area. We spent
most of the day in the historic area and even managed to catch
part of a Regional Irish Dance competition. It was very
exhausting watching all the jumping and twirling.
We left Philadelphia Airport early in the
evening on British Airways. This time John changed his
shoes to his backup sneakers. No problems with airport
security the rest of the trip. One secret we learned is
not to be the first to jump up and try to get on the
plane. Since all the airports do random carry-on bag
searches, they pulled every 6th or 7th person out of the
boarding line. When the search line got too long the
rest of us boarded the plane without problems.
The Boeing 747 plane to Heathrow-London Airport was
only about half full - so plenty of room to move around.
We had a choice of about 5 or 6 movies that ran continuously
on different channels so we had the chance to see some new
After arriving at Heathrow-London Airport we needed to change
terminals via a bus. Once again long lines for security
at the new terminal. One annoying thing about
Heathrow is that gates for flights are not posted until about
30-45 minutes before a flight. This makes for a very hot,
stuffy and crowded central waiting area.
We had a 2 hour layover in Heathrow, but only had a
short wait at the departure gate after changing terminals and
the long wait in security lines at our departure
terminal. We then headed to Berlin-Tegel Airport - about
a 2 hour flight from London. Our
tour director met us at the airport. As we were the only
ones arriving from Heathrow, she put us in a cab to take
us to our hotel. She waited at the airport for the rest
of the group arriving from Frankfurt.
Our adventure starts