Skip to main content

Europe Trip: Day 1

The first day of our trip to Europe was really a big travel day. My wife and I live in the Philadelphia area, but after looking at ticket prices, we could save about $200 a ticket by flying out of JFK. So obviously we picked that option. Our day began bright and early at 5:00 where we caught a ride with my Dad down to 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. From there we took the Bolt Bus ($11 a ticket) on a 2 hour journey to New York City. The bus leaves you off a block away from Penn Station.

From Penn Station be boarded a train (LIRR) to the Jamaica station and caught another train to JFK by way of the aptly named AirTrain. In total it took right around a half hour to get from Penn Station to the airport. Once at the airport we checked our bag and did the whole security thing. No “invasive” body scan for us! Then we waited for a few hours. On a side note, I am conically on-time or early with everything. Our flight didn’t leave until 2:30 (2:00 boarding) but I like being there early and this was a flight that we couldn’t afford to miss.

Some people hate airports, I love them. Watching the planes and trucks and people all move about in an organized symphony is a sight to see. It was finally boarding time and we settled into our exit row seats. Score. We flew on Iceland Air which is a nice airline, but they don’t serve a meal during the flight. On the plus side, every seat had a touch screen TV with a good selection of programming. I opted to watching There’s Something About Mary and quickly dozed off.

I woke up in enough time to get a free drink (soda) and also purchased a sandwich. According to the touch screen TV with built-in GPS, our flight was to go over Greenland. If you didn’t know, Iceland and Greenland are both horribly named. They are complete opposites of each other. Iceland is green, Greenland is ice. I was told that the original settlers, the Vikings, named Iceland they way they did in order to keep other people away. Good story but who knows if it is true. My wife snapped the image below as we made our way over Greenland (remember, its really ice!).

Soon after our flight landed at Reykjavík Airport. I still have no idea of how to pronounce the name of the airport, but that is a common theme of our trip to Europe. Since the EU has difference security measures, we had to go through another security check point. They did stamp our Passports which is always fun.

During this time of the year in Iceland it never gets dark. Our flight to Brussels took off at 12:30 AM and there was no sight of darkness. After a three hour flight (and after gaining 6 hours total during our trip) we landed in Brussels. If you have never been to the Brussels Airport, be prepared to walk. They have their terminals setup like islands in the middle of the tarmacs, but do not have the fun train services to shuttle you to the main exit. Hours after walking, or what felt like hours of walking, we waited for our bag. Surprisingly our bag was one of the first ones out of the chute so we grabbed it and headed for the train station.

After purchasing our tickets we went down two levels and found several tracks inside arrival area waiting with trains to take us into Brussels proper. Come back soon to read about Brussels and the important things, like Belgian beer and beer bars.