Just in case you were planning on coming to Bulgaria, you should be fully informed about the travels and travails of the many airplane ventures you will encounter. Here’s a perfect example:


Let us begin by discussing the packing nightmare. When you fly internationally, there are some serious rules regarding how many bags you are allowed to take and how much they can weigh. Basically, each person gets two bags that can weigh 50 pounds each, plus your “carry-on”. Now the carry-on is supposed to be like a purse or a backpack. Anyone who has traveled on planes knows that the “carry-on” rules are always broken. Everyone brings more than a purse on board the plane. After all, you need a lot of things, like books, puzzles, cards, iPods, computers, and surely a week’s worth of clothes. Nobody can fit all this in a purse!

So we were no different. We planned on breaking the “carry-on” rules with each of us carrying on a computer bag and a duffel bag, both of which would barely pass the permissible size check. This brought us each to having 4 bags. (Although Mark insisted on bringing suits and a computer, which put us up to 6 bags, for which we would pay a fine). So, all week I carefully packed each suitcase, making sure to flatten the clothes as much as possible. I strategically placed several books in each bag so that none of them would be over the weight requirements. I left all the toiletries (soap, shampoo, toothpaste, makeup) for the carry-on bags, thinking they are lighter and we may need them in case our other luggage gets lost.

And then there was the London terrorist plot

So,…no more liquids on the plane. This led to Saturday and Sunday spent rearranging all the careful packing I had already done. Most importantly, I replaced nearly all the books in the other suitcases for all the liquid items. This meant that we would carry the books on to the plane. No big deal, right? Except here are all the books we brought:


Anyways, after fixing all the bags, we were ready. Monday, we drove up to Los Angeles to stay the night in a hotel there since our flight left early in the morning. Once at the airport, we put Guiseppe in his crate, with a couple of pills to help him sleep since he would be in there a long time.


Uni*ted Air*lines was fabulous. They helped us with all our luggage and took very good care of our dog. We boarded our plane, but at 8:00, they announced that they weren’t sure when we would be leaving as one of the flight crew had not shown up for work quite yet. Hahaha we laughed. Isn’t that funny? We are going to be a little late because someone didn’t come to work. Hahaha. But then they announced that everyone had to leave the plane because it would be several hours until they could solve the problem. We weren’t laughing anymore. If we were 2 hours late, then we would miss our next flight.

So, Mark and I gathered our HEAVY carry-on bags and got off the plane. We set all 4 of them down and Mark went to re-schedule our next flight, since we were obviously going to miss it. While I was babysitting the bags (never leave them unattended!!), I heard my name on the loudspeaker. Oh no! How could I move all these bags and go find out why they want me? And why do they want me??? Like Superman, I lifted the car, I mean, bags and went to the desk.

“Somebody called me”, I panted.
“No, we didn’t call anyone”, said the not-very-kind man.
“Ummm, yes, somebody did”, I informed him.
“Hey, (to some lady near him), did you page anyone?” he called.
“Yes”, she replied.
Harumph!! I told you so, I thought.

Why did she page, you ask? Was someone in trouble? Had Mark fallen in the airport and hurt himself? Oh, no no no. She called me to let me know that Guiseppe was not being left on the plane during the delay. They would let him out for some fresh air and give him some water. Now, surely I sound ungrateful when this kind, helpful lady was just taking care of my beloved dog, but it’s just that those bags WERE.SO.HEAVY. and I thought something bad had happened.

Mark, on the other hand, had some great success with re-scheduling our next flights. So, we sat calmly in the airport until it was time to get on the plane again, at 10:00. They said the pilot had not come to work because he was in a car accident. Well, I guess that’s a good reason. But really, don’t they have any other pilots around who could do a quick flight to Washington D.C?

When we got to Washington, DC, again they called us on the loudspeaker on the plane. When we got to the front of the plane (after a bit of shoving and elbowing other people), the flight attendants informed us that Guiseppe was already being sent to the next plane which was scheduled to leave in 10 minutes, so we had to HURRY HURRY HURRY to get there. Cool, we thought. We’re going to make all our original flights. So, once again, we gathered the HEAVY bags and began to run. We thought it would be just a few gates away. Ahhh, but no. It was across the whole airport!!!!But we made it. All that triathlon training really came in handy! They quickly checked us in.

But then I asked about the dog.

“Is our dog on the plane?”
“Dog? I don’t know. But you just need to go and if he doesn’t make it, we’ll send him on the next one”, said the man, we’ll call him Mr. Helpful.
“Umm, the next plane is in like 8 hours from now, so that’s not going to work”, I explained.
“Well, I’m not delaying this plane for a dog”, Mr. Helpful informed me.
“Well, we’re not getting on until you confirm that my dog is on THIS plane”, I said.
Big sigh….”Fine then, I’ll call”, Mr. Helpful conceded.

Alas, Guiseppe was on his way over in a special trolley-like car. Now I will get on the plane. This flight took us to Frankfurt. When we got on the plane, it was daylight. While on the plane, night came and went in less than 4 hours. Now you know where you lose the day. Suddenly, it was a whole day later, and we really hadn’t slept at all. When we went to board our third plane (the last one, thank God!!), we saw Guiseppe in his crate, tail wagging, just as they put him on. I guess he was fine. After this flight, we landed in Sofia. Finally, we had arrived!!!

So, if you ever plan on traveling here, just be warned—travel light because you never know when you’ll have to run, say, a mile with all your suitcases in your hands!!