Originally published 19 December 2015
Sheep grazing right in the middle of the Paris airport!
We are sitting in the Paris airport waiting on our flight to Geneva. I thought I would write a bit during the down time, and add the finishing touches when we get to Geneva. The way the flights fell, we arrived at 1:15 p.m. local time, and we fly out at 8:45 pm local time.
Our landing in Paris was a tad bit bumpy, leaving me to ponder if we actually landed or if we were shot down. We disembarked and fell into a world of many different languages. Laurie and I speak a smattering of French (her MUCH more than me) so we get by. If you approach in French, they nearly always speak English. Our encounters on both trips defied the stereotypes of the French. Just as on our last trip, they were cordial and nice to us. You have to watch it......stereotypes will get you in trouble.
It took us about an hour to clear customs. They gave our passports a cursory look at best and sent us on through customs and then we were in France. We were on the public side of airport security and would need to check in for "domestic" flights in a different terminal. We took a short walk to the domestic terminal, stopped at a cash machine and got some euros so we could eat, and wandered around a bit.
While wandering on the unsecure side, we encountered multiple squads (3-6) of French commandos in full battle dress, with locked and loaded FAMAS bullpup assault weapons as well as side arms. They are still a bit nervous here, and to be honest, I don't mind a bit. We checked our bags and headed through security.
Security patrols at the Paris airport
We wandered the terminal, checking out all matter of fancy stuff they have for sale. Laduree, which has a shop on the Champs Elysees, has a shop in the airport. They sell these brightly colored cookie sandwiched called macarons. They are not cheap. I haven't eaten them on either of our trips to Paris....not because I had issues with them, but because there are SO many other baked good choices!
It was by far the most intense security screening I have ever had. Everything out of your pockets, shoes off. I forgot my car keys in one of my pockets, for which I was rewarded with a frisking and they went through everything in my backpack. Once again.......I didn't mind. There are obvious and recent reasons they are so vigilant. While I don't mind, it sucks that it has come to that......but you deal. It's not that big a deal.
The fancy cookie store!
Cut to the end of the day.....we wandered a bit before our flight left Paris. We spent the money and bought a couple of those fancy oddly colored cookies (macarons) and found out where that money went. Laurie had a coffee flavored one and I had a vanilla one. We probably shouldn't have eaten them as we now have something else we just love! They were soooooo good. Now I see what all the fuss is about.
We have a snack and then a coffee and set off to find a place to sit for several hours. We wind up sitting near the gate towards the end of the concourse. Laurie is leaned up against the wall napping a bit. I nod every now and then. I am looking forward to Geneva, and downtime in our own room....with beds. I am nodding as I proof this. I am looking forward to a nap on the plane.
A piano for anyone to play in the airport
Our flight left an hour late due to fog at Geneva. When we landed you could hardly see 50 feet. Kudos to the pilot. We picked up our bags and due to the late hour, the hotel shuttle was no longer running. We struck out walking as it was not far. It was a bit difficult for a few minutes as the fog obscured all the landmarks I saw on google street view.
We crossed a pedestrian bridge and wound up in a very dark and foggy parking lot. We asked a guy and he pointed us down a very dark path through a city park. I am of course skeptical but we need to get to the hotel. I keep a carabiner on my belt so I pop it off and put it on my fist like a pair of brass knuckles. The trip was so short the cabbies wouldn't take us.....so we're wandering in the foggy and dark forest in a land we've never been before. For about two blocks. We pop out and there is our hotel.
Our Geneva Hotel
We check in, everyone is quite friendly and we have a drink at the bar. We are basically walking wounded as we have not slept horizontally since Friday morning very early. It is time for bed.
Tomorrow, we get our train tickets and our exploring begins!
I'm Bill. My wife Laurie and I love to travel and share our stories. We especially love it when we have been able to motivate our readers to start traveling on their own, and making their own stories.
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