Round Four of this season's travels begins. Our home will temporarily be inhabited by a couple enjoying a trip to the states, American ex-pats who have made France their home for decades. Hub and I travel east, spending two weeks in a Middle Eastern country (despite what our esteemed - note the sarcasm here - Prez might think. Look at a map. Or globe.) - Israel.
Travels began with a two hour ride to the airport - not the closest to home, but offering non-stop service to our destination. Mid-week, no holiday, check-in and security proceeded smoothly. Plenty of time for dinner in the airport. The toughest part of the embarkation process was staying awake until settling on the plane.
Our 11:30 pm flight was airborne close to the scheduled time.
What do you do at midnight on a plane? Sleep, or attempt to sleep.
Lots of empty seats surrounded us. I relocated from my assigned aisle spot with two people next to me to an extra row. Hub sat on an aisle with an empty next to him.
Reclining seats, some leg room, a pillow and blanket provided, traveling economy. Air travel heaven!
Ten hours in a seat, no matter how comfortable - or not - is a long time. I slept fitfully. Everybody slept, or tried. About two hours before landing people began to stir. Lights went on, shades rose, and breakfast carts appeared. Mid-afternoon at our destination, it was morning back home. Stomachs urged nourishment.
Old bones rebelled, demanding movement. I walked off the plane scrunched over, unable to straighten, a couple of days of exercises needed before standing upright again. Exhausted, irritated waiting on airport lines, we finally exited the airport and officially entered Israel, a country I visited once. Fifty years ago. The thought is almost more than I can imagine. Fifty years is a long span in one's lifetime.
On the other hand memories of my six weeks in this foreign country when 17 years old bombard me as hub and I enter the country - experiences and people not thought about in years.
I tried reconnecting with cousins not seen or heard from since the 1970s, with no luck. I would like to see the house where I stayed in Jerusalem, but do not know the address. I am guessing the place still exists, a part of the history of a city reaching back thousands of years.
But my trip is not a nostalgic one. We come for a family celebration, the Bar Mitzvah of our oldest grandchild.
Almost two weeks touring with two generations younger, stronger and more energetic than my aging body will be challenging, but worth it for a trip of a lifetime. Assuming, of course, I survive to tell the story...