Bill and I arrived at Dulles airport on Tuesday night at about 5:00pm. We were pretty tired. Our day got started very early Tuesday morning in Germany. Traffic getting to the airport in Stuttgart was pretty heavy and we moved at a snail's pace on A81. To make matters worse, my bladder decided to kick in about halfway through the trip, making me need to pee something fierce by the time we parked and hiked to the terminal.
I decided to pee after we checked in, which was probably a mistake. The automated check in process for us via Air France's kiosks didn't go so smoothly. I answered a security question "wrong", so we had to have an agent issue us tickets. The guy standing in line ahead of us had overweight baggage that he thought he'd already paid for, so that slowed us down a bit... Meanwhile, my bladder was becoming more and more demanding and urgent for relief.
Once we were checked in and I paid a visit to the ladies room, we went through security. An unsmiling guard was barking orders at me in German. After removing all the non essential clothes and electronics, I paused to wait for an adorable little toddler whose mother was beckoning her to walk through the metal detector. It was a pretty cute moment as the girl was more interested in watching everybody else.
My shoes had metal staples in them. My bra also had metal hooks, which meant I had to be very thoroughly wanded by a rather ripe smelling lady who seemed very practiced in the art of frisking. Once we got through security, we waited for our flight to Paris, which would deposit us in an even less user friendly airport. I was kind of impressed by the weird modern art looking furniture in the terminal that looked very well used. I remember spending a hellish 12 hours in CDG back in 1995 before I moved to Armenia for two years. It does look like they've done some work to make the airport a little less unpleasant. Still, I wish I'd been able to get WiFi. They apparently offer it at CDG, but I never could get it to work or even charge my electronics.
The flight to Paris was quick and relatively painless. The Paris hop planes have 2x2 seating. Bill and I each had an aisle seat on the same row. Fortunately, we had nice people sitting next to us and a gentle landing. I know a lot of people take the train to Paris, but I have to admit the quick flight there is amazing. I like Air France, too. Of course, the woman sitting in front of me was the only one on the entire plane who felt the need to recline. I thought it was funny that I had a recliner in front of me on a one hour flight, but the guy who sat in front of me to Washington, DC didn't recline at all!
I was hoping to grab a quick lunch at the airport in Paris, but unfortunately, there weren't really any restaurants in the terminal where we got our flight. Bill bought me a Coke and a chocolate croissant. Ordinarily, that would have been okay, but I was needing protein in a big way. Bought myself a Snickers bar and silently vowed to bring a bag of nuts with me on my next long haul flight.
The flight to Washington was long, but basically quite pleasant. I was very impressed by Air France; in fact, I think I liked them better than Lufthansa, which we flew to Germany in August. The seats were, I thought, pretty generous even for a stout girl like me. The flight attendants were very professional and pleasant. In fact, one guy seemed especially solicitous. After a champagne apertif, he brought out our meals. We had a choice of parmesan risotto or chicken with sherry sauce. I chose the risotto because I thought it might not have evil mushrooms in it. Bill asked for chicken. At first, the flight attendant said they were out of the chicken, but then he found one and brought it to Bill. Good thing, too, because the risotto did have mushrooms. Bill kindly gave me his chicken, which was actually edible and even tasted pretty good! The flight attendant asked me what I wanted to drink I showed him that I had syrah. He asked, with a big smile with a delightful French accent, "Is it enough? Would you like more?" I giggled and he brought me another, different type of wine!
I don't enjoy transatlantic flights at all, but that one goes down as one of the better ones. Hopefully, the flights back to Germany will be decent, too. I am definitely sold on European carriers over American ones.
Anyway, we are now in Goshen, Virginia... and yes, we did get caught in the storm yesterday, which made driving down here challenging. But we were rewarded with this...
Goshen is sooo beautiful!
I will be writing reviews of our lodging and more trip details as they evolve.