Time to head home. I slept well but the bed was too warm so I wake up sweaty. Thank goodness for showers. I'm going to miss these European breakfasts of bread, cheese, orange juice and yogurt.
We're early at the train station for even the 8:03am IC to the airport. The ride is smooth and drops us off below the departure hall. We head to our respective check-in counters. Siemen is done in no time but American Airlines takes forever. I've got time though. Security, on the other hand, is clear sailing. Siemen is waiting as I come through security.
Unfortunately, my terminal is a different one than his and requires a train ride. So this is goodbye. Onto the train I go. Boarding starts soon after I walk up to the gate. It takes a good 40min from boarding before we actually lift off.
As on the way over this plan doesn't have personal screens and this time I'm seated right below a screen. The screen I can see is far ahead and to small to see any detail. Plus the headset connect has a horrible whining noise. Oh well, the movies during this flight are bad anyway.
I spent most of the transatlantic flight reading and writing, interrupted by a brief nap. The meals are meh 😒 (as always).
The 3.5hr layover in JFK is rather long. Chat with Tatyana and Casper who will pick me up in SFO. Have a hard time accepting the ridiculous airport food prices: $10 for a sandwich! Dunkin' Donuts to the rescue where I can get a sandwich for ½ the price.
Board the 5hr flight to SFO with a sandwich in hand. At least I won't have to hungry without food service on this flight. Despite gate announcements that we'll be arriving ~30min early in SFO, we immediately have 30min delay at the gate. Can just send out a quick note that the home front should keep an eye on my flight's progress for an accurate arrival time.
Once we level off at cruising altitude there turns out to be food service after all. Bonus! As before, the seats are cramped. No sleep for me. Instead, I watch a few bad movies and reflect on the week.
What went well
- We had fun despite the winter weather.
- We were safe. We stayed within range of our capabilities. Brushed up on crevasse rescue techniques before we went onto the glacier.
- Even though I had a fever the 2 days before departure, the decision to go once the fever broke was the right one. Yes, I was coughing a lot, but other than that I handled the trip fine.
What could have gone better
- Should have brought my trekking poles. That's why I made a packing list. I blame my fever-addled brain. While I did fine without them, having them would have added hiking comfort.
- Could have left my solar panel and battery pack home to save weight.
- I barely used the Paradox Merino Blend Long Sleeve Zip-T. Maybe if the weather had been wetter I might have wanted it. The combination of T-shirt and down jacket worked well though.
- Could have left all rock gear in the valley. But that is hindsight 20/20. When we left Klosters, we didn't know there was too much snow for any rock climbing.
- Should have replaced the Patagonia Gore-tex rain pants with my Outdoor Research Helium rain pants. Never wore my rain pants and the OR Helium rain pants are much lighter.
We arrive at 8:23 pm at SFO, 7min before the original arrival time. Tatyanna & Casper left late and are hitting traffic. I end up waiting ~30min for their arrival, taking 5min cat naps near arrival door #4.
Hugs all around when they drive up to the curb. I manage to stay awake for the drive home, while Casper sleeps on the back seat. It is ~ 7 am Switzerland time when my head hits the pillow, I've been in transit for ~23hrs. Soon I'm sound asleep, the alarm will go off in ~6hrs.