It said Gate N63 on my Icelandic Air ticket from Berlin to Boston. Boarding time was 1:23 p.m. As required for an international flight, I had arrived at the airport three hours ahead of time.

I was checked in and had been given the gate number and a seat assignment. Since I had hours to wait, I had bought a bottle of lemonade. I had selected one with passion fruit juice added, even though I was alone. (No telling how interesting my seat companion might be and the Icelandic Airlines plane on which I had flown to Berlin had been small and cozy.) I also had bought a fat German pretzel with big salt crystals on it. (I like West Tisbury baker Joe Keenan’s pretzels too, but they come from a different kettle of baking, so to speak.)

With passion fruit-flavored drink and pretzel in hand, I settled down by the flight gate. From my carry-on bag I had pulled out informative books and brochures on places I had just seen — Berlin and Babelsberg, Nuerenberg and Munich — the cities I had visited on my German stay. I will admit I snoozed a little, for I had trudged more than 10 miles the day before in search of a famous castle and 19th-century wool weavers’ cottages and the cafe that I was told had been the birthplace of the German Communist party. (It wasn’t. It was the birthplace of a local Communist party in East German days, and neither Marx nor Engels had ever sat at its tables.)

I awoke from my catnap when people around me began lining up to board the plane. Passport and ticket in hand, I joined them. I was at Gate N63 and it was 1:23 p.m., with takeoff scheduled at 2 p.m. As required, the passport was open to my picture. The ticket taker looked at the ticket and looked at me. “Nein, nein,” she said. ”Cairo.”

I would like to have gone to Cairo. It would have been a shorter flight than the one to Boston via Reykjavik. If they had let me off the plane in Egypt (though I fear they wouldn’t have), I could have seen the pyramids again and perhaps ridden a camel named Christopher Columbus, as I did the last time I was there.

But clearly my ticket wasn’t going to get me to Cairo and unless I could find the right departure gate for Reykjavik fast, I wasn’t going to get there either. Happily, an airport employee was passing by pushing a cart, and with his cell phone he was able to find out the gate change for the Icelandair flight — and calculate how many seconds I had to get to it. With him running interference with his cart, I managed to reach the gate before the plane took off.

My seat companion turned out to be a Chinese-American woman from Chelsea who was busily eating Chinese dumplings from a cardboard box. Clearly, she wasn’t the sort of seat companion I’d been thinking of when I bought my passion fruit-flavored lemonade.

There was a brief stop in Iceland, but only long enough to get an Iceland stamp in my passport. Not time enough for a swim in the Blue Lagoon, whose hot thermal waters I had once enjoyed outdoors in a snowstorm. But even if there had been time for that, it wouldn’t have been the equal of riding that camel named Christopher Columbus in the Egyptian desert again, if somehow I had gotten onto that Cairo flight.