Friday, June 15, 2012

Across the Globe Travel: France

Believe it or not we are still on the road... technically.

We left India early in the morning June 2 from our apartment for our flight from Indira Ghandi International Airport. Check in was easy with only a few nosey airline employees. We found that politely saying "Don't ask questions like that you are being rude" stopped people in their tracks. Passport control was a breeze compared to our first time, and we didn't get the "are you smuggling babies" treatment.

We flew Turkish Airlines to Paris by way of Istanbul and the airline was very accommodating. We had two bassinets on the first leg which everyone enjoyed. Then on the second leg, we had an empty seat between us. At almost seven months, our kids are proficient at sitting up in a chair with only a little support, so having an extra chair was nice. We were allowed to board the plane first with the twins, and the flight attendants on both flights came to meet the babies as soon as we were settled. They offered to help in any way they could, and the flight was smooth sailing.

For those of you who are traveling to India several times in a year, you might want to consider signing up for a credit card like (The United Presidential Plus Card by Chase) the one we have (1) has no foreign transaction fee, (2) allows you extra baggage, (3) allows for free upgrades when available when flying domestically and (4) allows access to the travel lounges in all major airports. During our layover in Istanbul we found the Star Alliance lounge and enjoyed the escape from the busy terminal. Seriously, this made our trip a breeze. In four hours our membership more than paid for itself and I never plan to leave home without my access card again. The lounge had really nice (immaculately clean) changing rooms and napping rooms for the boys, and a self service bar for the adults. We couldn't have asked for a better place to stretch out and regroup.

The boys did great the entire journey and only raised their voices in protest when we get into the rental car and headed for the hotel in Paris. It was Doug's first time to drive in Paris, so screaming babies didn't exactly make it very much fun. Driving in Paris was probably the most stressful time of our trip.

The next morning, we drove from Paris to Vichy, where we spent four great days. The town is beautiful and has wonderful parks for walking. It was nice to meet Doug's French family and everyone was wonderfully welcoming and went out of their way to make us feel at home.  I don't speak a word of French so I remained quiet during dinner while Doug and everyone chatted away. The food was great and no one made me eat snails.

Every place we stopped in France had a wonderful changing room. America could take a lesson in accommodating parents. Each of the changing rooms had a little toilet, changing table, and an adult toilet. The roads in France were also very nice. Living in India has made me appreciate a smooth ride. I didn't care too much for paying the $50 toll, but the roads were as smooth as, well, a baby's bum.

We were originally scheduled to fly United from Paris to Chicago, but do to a 21 hour delay (no, that wasn't a typo) we rebooked and re-routed through Newark. This was the first international flight I've been on where the flight attendants didn't care about the babies, offered no help ("sorry, we aren't allowed to rinse your bottles out") and ("do you think the babies will sleep most of the flight?") really just wanted to get through the flight.  It's not that they were rude (ok, maybe they were a little rude), they were just completely inattentive. So, other than the cranky flight attendants (you can always tell when it is a Newark based crew) the flight was fine. It was the smallest plane we have flown internationally, but it did the job.

Again, the United lounge at Newark was a nice place to relax and refresh during our layover. Once more our club membership paid for itself. We went to the gate right before our flight and we were thankful we didn't have to spend much time there.

We were in Indiana over the weekend. Now we are in Ohio visiting Doug's family. It has been great to see everyone. The boys are loving the attention and the grandparents are over the moon to hold the twins. We have received compliments from complete strangers on how well the twins travel so cheers to a good trip thus far.

Chad

8 comments:

  1. Such good reading. It is truly impressive how well your little treasures seem to travel. Enjoy your stay in the States and the attention of your families. Greetings from Sweden!

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  2. Glad to hear your trip is going so well! We have the same card and while expensive its so worth it!

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  3. Safe Happy travels to you all.

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  4. So awesome your fellas get to see their extended family. Have an amazing vacation!

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  5. Have fun, guys. It was great meeting you in Delhi!

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  6. Congrats on smooth travels! Good luck on the way back and hope you don't get any cranky flight attendants!

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  7. World travelers at 7 months. I love it.

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  8. So fun reading about your travels. Glad you trip has gone relatively smoothly this far. Loved the travel photos!

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