Sunday, August 31, 2014

In Transit

After a mildly bumpy flight from Newark (more of an incessant jiggle than bumps) including a lovely meal of Spanish Tapas, we landed at 5:40AM in Reykjavik in what seemed like a bit of a storm.  Puzzled looks were exchanged as we taxied away from the main terminal and pulled up beside a very second-hand looking hangar.  By now, we're thinking "Bomb sacare?".  It turned out that we were hiding in the wind-shadow of the hangar.  The telescoping ramps used at the gates could not be deployed when the winds were in excess of 50 knots and they were currently at 56 gusting to 70 knots so we’d have to wait.  Another plane was parked beside us and we sat being blown about in the furious winds and rocking as we watched sheets of water being hurled across the tarmac.

Concerned about our connection, we asked the Air Hostess and she reassured us that no one was leaving any time soon.  That was when we realized what an incredible job our pilot had done, greasing us in for a smooth landing during what amounted to the tail end of a hurricane that had traveled up the Atlantic from the Caribbean before smacking Iceland.

Eventually we deplaned, found our next gate, opened our Kindles and settled in to await further developments.  Paul marveled that we were able to land in winds that prevented the deployment of the disembarkation tunnels.  The Air Hostess pointed out that if they hadn’t been able to land, the next airport was in Ireland so Icelandair pilots were adept at landing under adverse conditions.

We bounced away two hours late, the pilot doing his best to use Full Military Power and go vertical to get through the turbulence as fast as possible, and were then fed again!  This time we opted for scrambled eggs, followed by a too short nap and a 3PM landing at Charles de Gaul.  Through miles of airport and teeming throngs of travelers to the luggage carousel, only to find eventually that one bag hadn't made it.  The screen flashed up that luggage delivery was complete, so we lined up at the lost luggage counter, filled out the forms, discovered that there was no record of that particular bag having been loaded in Reykjavik, but it would probably turn up tomorrow and be delivered to our hotel.  By now, Paul needed a Men's Room, so Reg waited with the remaining bags while he trekked off to find one.  On his return, Reg smugly held up the missing bag (tagless) that had mysteriously appeared on the belt.

By now, we'd been travelling 23 hours.  No longer interested in bus, metro or train, we lined up again for the one hour, 70E taxi ride (through myriad Sunday neighbourhood markets) to our hotel in the Montmartre region of Paris.  A too cute hotel on a main street, everything was charged (use of safe, rental of remote for TV, breakfast) except WiFi access which was free.

We wedged ourselves and all our luggage into the phone-booth of an elevator and ascended majestically to the 5th floor.  Our first room was excessively warm because the hairdrier in the bathroom was jammed on.  Unable to get it turned off, short of turning off the breaker for the whole room, we were obliged to change rooms and schlepp all our stuff around the corner to another room.  We dumped everything, opened the French doors to the balcony, and there was Sacre Coeur on the hill in front of us.  THAT's what I'm talking about!

View from Paul's bed

Montmartre from our balcony

Penitents (or tourists?) climbing the steps, 6PM Sunday

Textured domes of the church

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