Tuesday, February 17, 2009

It took many of us to Luxembourg

This obit in Tuesday's NY Times raised memories. 1975 was the year I flew Icelandair to Europe, trying to save money. Today we may only know Iceland as the first country to be bankrupted by the meltdown of 2008. I remember later trips to Iceland when the brilliance of the national seafood cuisine was on display every meal.

Now, on that 1975 trip, did I save any money? One problem was that Luxembourg, where those planes landed, was not any kind of a destination, so the traveler had to pony up more money to get anywhere. Where I was going was the Greek islands, and the train would take me all the way to Athens to board the ferries.

Coming back, time was short -- not enough to ride the train to Luxembourg, so I had to buy a one-way ticket on the Luxembourgish airline to get there. The travel budget was quite thoroughly broken. Even worse was that American Express multiplied instead of dividing when it converted the currency mishmash of Lux francs and dollars and Greek what? drachmas, and the Amex bill the next month was over $27,000. That took a while to straighten out.

Memorable line from the obit of the Icelandair boss Sigurdir Helgason: " ... usually landed late."

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