Chuck and I have always had adventures before we even arrive at our holiday destination, and this trip was no exception. Naturally, I drove the security scanner crazy and had to be both wand searched and hand frisked before they would let me through to board the plane. I feel like wearing a sign that says, “Old lady with titanium hip. Will show scar.” Everyone else sailed right through. We got on the plane in Toronto on schedule, but due to the fact the plane had to be de-iced, we were an hour late getting off the runway. Consequently, we missed our connecting flight from Paris to Spain. Stress! Stress! Stress! For all involved.
I have never been on such a horrible flight. The plane was owned by Delta but operated by Air France. There was no room at all on the seats – I mean None! We were packed in like sardines. The man sitting next to me was a big guy, and he had his hand on my knee all night, and it wasn’t because he was being fresh, he simply had no other place to put his hand. (I’m not making this up). I even paid extra to upgrade our seats, so we would have more legroom – that was a joke. However, when I looked at other passengers, we were better off than most as many had their knees touching their chins. (There were 10 seats across each row, and the plane had over 300 passengers.)
But I can’t complain too much. While Delta had a crappy plane, Air France had fantastic service. Food was good on the plane and drinks were free. Because we missed our connection, as did many others on the flight, Air France paid for our lunch and supper for the day we arrived, plus breakfast for the next morning, arranged for our new flight to Spain plus gave us free accommodations for the night at a nearby hotel. So that was top-notch service. Air Canada could learn a few things from the French airlines.
Charles de Gaulle airport is massive. As Chuck put it, “He walked so many miles there that he needs new tread on his running shoes.” He was done for the day, as was I. Because we had unexpected time in Paris, Steven took the kids to see the Eiffel Tower. So there was a bright side to this shaky beginning to our holiday.
We have travelled by plane, bullet train (295 – 300 km per hour), and bus to see this interesting country. We have visited Malaga, Gibraltar, Seville, Barcelona, Madrid and many towns in between. I think we will need a week’s rest when we get home.
I like to give the grandkids new experiences every chance I get, so in Barcelona, Claire and I went to Tiffany’s just to see how the wealthy spend their money. Like all high-end stores, there is a doorman plus a security guy at the entrance, and only a few people are allowed in the store at a time. Claire was a little nervous about going in, but I was not, so in we went. We met this nice young man in his late twenties who I thought would follow us like a shadow, but that was not the case. We informed him right upfront that we were not buying, only looking, and then he turned into this amazing tour-type guy.
He told us about the interior design of the physical store, the significance of all aspects of everything such as how the columns reflected those in the Basilica of La Sagrada Família, what the wall colours represented, etc. He showed us the work of the different artists who design jewellery for Tiffany and gave us details on their lives and work. We saw the beautiful designs done by Picasso’s daughter, Paloma Picasso.
He encouraged us to try some jewellery on in the price range of 25,000.00 euros ($37,500.00 Canadian) but we declined. No point trying something we didn’t want and certainly couldn’t afford. He then showed us a ring with a price tag of 360,000.00 euros ($540,000.00 Canadian) and a lovely necklace for 105,000.00 euros ($157,500.00 Canadian). Later, Chuck told us he was glad we didn’t buy anything because he just didn’t have that much money on him at the time. Lol. What a wonderful, informative and interesting time Claire and I had. For half an hour, we had the best personal and free tour anyone could ask for.
We have had good weather, been on many interesting tours and have enjoyed meeting the wonderful people of Spain. What else can you ask for a great holiday? Well, we still have the flight home! This time it is with Ireland Airways. We fly from Madrid to Dublin and then from there to Toronto. Maybe we will have an unexpected stay in Ireland. Let the adventure continue.