Take me Home
With the Doc pushing us to take a well earned vacation and the words "Enjoy life!" now being a medial prescription, Di, Princess and I made preparations for our return to Enfin.
The logistics of the trip took a little time but at least we are now used to what needs to be done and when.
The most expensive and complicated part of the trip is to ensure Princess is picked up and taken care of from the apartment all the way to the boat. Once this is arranged, booking human flights is trivial, even if we have to in effect race Princess back home: We must be there to hand her off in France, and already have arrived on the boat to take delivery once she makes it there.
This year our trip was easier as we had one less connection than in the heavy Covid times of last summer, and Princess had an extra night in Frankfurt for us to catch her up. As a result we arrived a good 24 hours before she did.
Like last year we chose an all inclusive transport company for Princess. They are significantly more expensive than other options, but we've found from experience on arrival in Lyon that having good carers for Princess is very important. On arrival in Lyon Princess was "naked" having lost her collar, cushions, food, T-Shirt with our scent on and more. To add insult to injury the French company wasn't aware they were contracted to deliver Princess to the apartment and declined to do so. They even threatened to send Princess back if we couldn't pick her up in the next couple hours. French take their weekends seriously I guess, and Princess' welfare was clearly an after thought.
Di had to rush - minutes before my first immunotherapy - to the airport in a large enough taxi, arrange all Customs procedures, find and buy a leash and collar, etc...
We were very unhappy, and intent on never using this Lyon based company ever again.
The Swiss company we contracted did an incredible job. Spot on time, with people who remembered Princess and clearly like dogs.
Her veterinary inspection went without a hitch and having now traveled this route a couple of times, Princess has a French passport as well as US documents. Truly an international dog!
Our human flights were fairly uneventful, save for the complete mayhem at the various airports. Lyon (LYS) was just a mess with too many people in too small boarding areas, many not wearing masks or not wearing them correctly. Considering we traveled during a major Covid spike of the Delta variant, seeing so many being careless was puzzling.
Frankfurt (FRA) was no better, and I even joked with a border agent that they had "ein grosse pagaille". He understood my French/German mix-up and agreed with me. Frankfurt being an international hub we clearly had passengers from all over the world, squeezed in a giant petri dish, people on top of each other for passport and Covid test checks.
Similarly, Seattle's Seatac (SEA) immigration was utter chaos. Planes after planes of passengers arriving at immigration, lined up like at Disney World in never ending rope labyrinths. About an hour and a half later, with no social distancing to be seen and very poor mask etiquette, we finally entered the US. No one asked us about our vaccination status, or asked to see our PCR Negative tests so they probably relied on the airline's checks? It all felt surreal in the current conditions.
Luckily we had our full protective gear, as ordered by my Doc, with FFP2/N95 masks and goggles, so we never felt at huge risk. If Doctors and medical professionals can stay in Covid wards like that, we can transit airports in safety.
We had decided to end our flights in Seattle and do the reminder of the trip to Portland and the boat by rental car. International flights' passengers are at least checked for Covid status whereas I understand that internal USA flight passengers are not.
Once in the car - actually a huge pickup truck! - we finally were back in our own bubble. A 2.5 hour drive later got us to the marina around 18:00. A long travel day, but it sure felt good to open Enfin up and find her in great condition.