Friday, June 5, 2015

Read Donna's blog!

Donna posts every day, with great pictures and commentary.  I post once a month or so.

As this trip comes to an end I am having a very interesting trip to Malta.  The skinny: little to DO; LOTS to see.

Malta is a beautiful island nation located in the Mediterranean Sea between Italy in Europe and Libya in Africa.  The Maltese language is a melange of Italian, French, English and Arabic, but nearly everyone speaks English.

I've posted my best photos on Facebook so I won't repeat them here except one - a vista from on top.  Today I am writing about Gozo, a small island - part of  the nation of Malta - just a couple of kilometers off the end of the island of Malta.  It has many cathedrals so I headed for the one in the castle at the top.  €3 to "enter" but entrance only at the extreme back: the entire church was roped off (closed) at 2p (maybe earlier - I arrived at 2p) because there was going to be an "adoration" at 5p.  I suppose they wanted an exorcism to rid the place of heathen (non-catholic) prayers because there was no place to pray.  No praying alllowed.  Bizarre.  I asked the woman who asked for my ticket to ask Jesus what He thought about no praying in the cathedral.  Silly question.  All catholics know that we can't have a relationship with God - Jesus' repeated statements to the contrary notwithstanding - that's what the professionals are for.

Inside the door, the cathedral still requested contributions. I contributed my €3 ticket and left.  I thought of shaking the dust from my feet but instead decided to walk and pray under God's clear blue sky for the people blocked from living in the Kingdom of Heaven by false catholic doctrine.

Seems every road in Malta is (a) choked with traffic and (b) under construction. I miss Donna.  I spent 3 hours today on busses and ferries, and 4 hours waiting for them.  I'm ready to move on and cool off.  I wish I could have gone diving here, but teaching PADI is such a money-making business, for the first time in over 31 years and over 200 dives my PADI card was greatly limited: to 36' IF I paid for an instructor to accompany me. No thanks.  Little to DO.  LOTS to see.

Wizzin' on Wizzair

This is not going to be a glowing report.  Today (May 23, 2015) we are taking a flight from Paris to Vilnius. Tomorrow we return.

We have purchased 41 flight segments for this trip, 9 for Shannon or Megan, and 32 for us.  Once in Europe (Istanbul on March 24) we have flown the four main budget airlines: Pegasus, Ryan, EasyJet and (only today) WizzAir. 

Flying into or out of Istanbul is very difficult.  Like Paris CDG and our home airport Atlanta ATL, Istanbul IST is connected by rapid rail and takes about an hour. But whether out of IST or the outlying airport Sabita Goçhen (which requires a train and a long bus ride but only costs TL 10.5 - $4), getting THROUGH the airport's seemingly endless lines makes me wince thinking of going to what is otherwise my 2nd favorite (to #1 Paris) city in the world. 

Paris' 3rd airport (Orly is #2) is Beauvais (BVA).  BVA is HARD to get to and very expensive to get to.  An example is this trip. We are flying 2 1/2 hours on a fairly new A330 Airbus carry 180 passengers.  The flight - like all of these cheap carriers - is very cheap: €38 each, each way ($42). Total airfare: €156.  But, the last bus to catch our 8:40a flight leaves the bus station at 5:40a and the Metro only starts at 5:30a so instead of using our transportation pass which covers all Paris transportation for a month (€110), we have to take a €16 taxi.  The bus is €16 each, each way.  And - here's the wizz on Wizz - they are the only airline that does not accept etickets AND they don't tell you until you arrive at the airport and they demand an additional €30 each for us using an eticket!  We have time so we hike over to Terminal 2, track down an internet kiosk (which won't accept credit cards) and pay €5 to print a boarding pass!

So €16x4 + €16 + €5 = €85 in add ons to €76 in flight cost!  We won't be flying Wizz or from BVA again.  By the way, EasyJet flies out of CDG, and seems much more efficient than the others.