We made it to France – two weeks ago, actually – but not without a wee bit of drama at JFK in New York. We arrived at the airport plenty early (gotta love Lyft: cheaper, faster and way more comfortable than a shuttle), checked in, got through security (the TSA Pre-check line taking maybe twice as long as the regular line; go figure) and went to the gate. Our plane is there, everything looks good except that really dark, ugly cloud approaching the airport. Oh, did things get nasty. Rain and wind and lightning and thunder all around us; JFK actually closed for over an hour, and for a few minutes we could not see the runways about a quarter of a mile away because the rain was coming down so hard. We later learned that much of nearby Westchester County was without power for hours. We watched as the storm blew out to sea heading northeast.
Hmmm…northeast; that’s the direction we would be flying. Gulp. We boarded our plane (our favorite, the huge, double-deck Airbus A380) and after taxiing for 30 minutes, took off. Smooth, calm, no problem for about ten minutes, then ten minutes of pretty rough air. Now, when an A380 is getting tossed around, you can only imagine what those little commuter planes experienced. But we finally reached smooth air and the rest of the flight was nice. I found it interesting that because we flew so far north, there was light on the horizon the entire flight; it never got completely dark.
We arrived, picked up our car (a Renault Clio for the fourth time but this time a premium version, with leather seats and other fancy gadgets) and headed to the house of our friends Mary and Gilles. They welcomed us with open arms (and cheese). I can’t tell you how glad we were to be back in France!
After a few days at Mary & Gilles’ to recover from jet-lag we headed off on our first ramble, to the southwest of France: the Gers region, Toulouse, Albi and Clermont-Ferrand, Gilles’ home town. I’ll start a report on that trip tomorrow… stay tuned!