Wonderful But Not Without Challenges
23.04.2017 - 24.04.2017
To start off, our flight was delayed in Los Angeles, but to no surprise! The good thing was that we had plenty of time on our layover in Paris, so we were not worried.
As we went through TSA screening, I (Jenny) got pulled out. I was scanned and patted down in every imaginable area of my body and they even ran some kind of special paper over my hands to make sure I did not have bomb residue on my hands. I do look like a shady character I guess, and NO I did not say anything stupid to draw attention to myself. LOL
Then when we lined up to board the plane, an announcement was made to please use the toilet before boarding. People began to get rather concerned since this was not a short flight. We were told there were 4 malfunctioning bathrooms on board. Not being familiar with the plane, we were quite curious how many bathrooms actually would be functioning. There were a total of 16 bathrooms, 12 functioning properly, and a total of over 500 passengers. As it turned out, all of the bathrooms on the top floor of the plane where we had our seats were functioning just fine. We were happy to hear that!
On arrival in Paris, all was well. We had plenty of time to get to our gate, or so we thought. First we went through the French version of TSA. The guy we got must have been having a rather bad day. John did not hear what the man said and the guy started yelling at him, "You must listen to me!" Then he mumbled a bunch of stuff I didn't understand. Once through the scanner, we were held up because they wanted to thoroughly check the camera bag. The lady in front of us, also American, was extremely late for her flight and expressed concern. Ultimately, the contents of her bag were thoroughly removed and left in a pile for her to try to squeeze back into her bag. Not an easy task. We waited, then it was our turn. The woman who began taking our camera gear out of our bag did not understand the complexity of all of the pockets and sections of our bag. I will admit it is not simple. I tried to point to the zipper she should use to open the largest compartment with gear in it, and she began getting angry and telling me not to touch. There is a compartment inside the inner portion of the bag that is attached but also can be removed. She was ripping at it and becoming frustrated. Again I tried to explain, but she shut me down immediately. It seemed to take forever before we were let go to repack our equipment. We celebrated having made it through relatively unscathed. Oh, I forgot, I also was hand scanned here too and the same procedure looking for bomb residue. I must have had a specific look today that just attracted that kind of attention.
On to Customs. Ah, yes. The least efficient aspect of France. Unfortunate for us, everyone but one poor sole had gone to lunch. People were yammering and complaining they were going to miss their flights. We had 30 minutes, so we figured no sweat. Needless to say, I guess we were being way too positive. It took forever, and we ended up at our gate just in time to board. But the good part is, we made our flight and arrived early in Rome. Hooray!
In general, both flights were uneventful overall. The food was great for airline food. The people sitting near us were quiet and also wanted to try to sleep just as we did. I was successful but John was not as much. Hence, I am writing this while he has already crashed.
Our hotel had a driver at the airport to meet us, and off we went into the center of Rome for our stay. Our hotel is lovely, and they even upgraded us from a standard room. Woohoo for us! If we stick our heads out the window, we have a view down the street to Piazza Navona. Quite beautiful at night.
Our hotel made a reservation for us for dinner at a small restaurant which was great. We enjoyed a delicious meal and a walk along the river. We saw St Peter's Basilica lit up and reflected in the river. I took some handheld shots, but it remains to be seen if they are any good. We will go back to the bridge tomorrow night with a tripod. We also visited the piazza for shots of the fountains at night. There were police everywhere with machine guns. I'm guessing they are taking extra precautions due to the incident in Paris, but also because tomorrow is Liberation Day, a national holiday.
Considering we sat on planes the whole day, we still walked over 9,000 steps today. I'm sure tomorrow we will walk three times that at least since our plan is to just get out and walk everywhere in the city center and surrounding areas. No special plan. Hopefully, I will also be able to post some photos tomorrow, but now I must try to sleep. Good day all!