January 8, 2013

Day 1: A Foggy Fiasco

An account of my journey to Florence via many vehicles.

the smallest plane I took

Airbus 380, Air France
Time: 7:20pm(EST) - 8:35am(UTC+1:00)
Location: Dulles to Paris
My first flight was from Dulles International Airport nonstop to Paris, France. It was 7ish hours long. Most of the passengers on board spoke French, though I happened to be seated next to another American student and behind a southern clique “all Americans are cowboys” type man. I was unable to sleep on the flight, so instead I watched the movies “Dark Shadows”, and “Pitch Perfect”, which I had seen part of a few days before with my sister.

Terminal Bus
Time: 9:00am
Location: Paris- Charles de Gaulle Airport
After deboarding my plane, I had to look up the terminal for my next flight and then go through security. After security, I headed down a few hallways and an elevator. Then I had to wait for a bus and board it to terminal G, a trip which took nearly 25 minutes. Once at my terminal, I took a quick bathroom break, then waited in a large room lined with chairs for the announcement of which gate I was to take.

To-the-plane Bus
Time: 9:55am
Location: CDG Airport terminal G
I headed down a few hallways to a small gate where my ticket was scanned. I then walked on to the tarmac and onto a bus. This bus, once packed full of the Florence bound 95 passengers took us to our plane.

Plane City Jet/ Air France
Time: 10:10am
Location: CDG Airport to Florence
I boarded the tiny aircraft- so tiny that anyone with carry-on luggage had their bags collected and put under the plane. I found my seat, put my laptop in the upper bin and then sat down. A large (but not fat) Asian man sat next to me. He did not speak any English and constantly bumped into me on the ride. As we headed to land in Florence, the captain announced there was bad weather and he was unsure he could land. Apparently there was too much low fog and after two landing attempts, which involved us circling the city in the sky, the plane was diverted to Pisa. Once I landed in Pisa, I walked onto the tarmac and into the very small airport. I collected my bags and then headed outside (there was no customs..what? what?).

Tour Bus
Time: 2:00pm
Location: Pisa
After wandering around a bit, a woman helped me and led me to a bus that Air France paid to send their passengers to their correct destination. I sat down next to a girl who was also headed to the Florence airport for a study abroad program. A little while into the ride, I ended up falling asleep (finally) for about 20 minutes before ending up in Florence. At this point, it was 3 hours later than my original arrival time. I gathered my luggage and then headed towards the arrival gate to meet my professor when I happened to run into her near the taxi stand. 

Time: 3:00pm
Location: Florence
I then took a taxi to my house. The taxi driver nearly hit several people and drove down the center of the road.

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