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This story is that of the second segment of the LJU-BLQ air route via CDG:
AF proposed this time the upgrade at 89 €, a frankly exaggerated amount to take advantage of the AF lounge, to which we also already had access, to have the same adjoining seats due to the 2 + 2 seat layout (unless I could convince my wife that I did not need her to prepare a FR in business class), and to have a cold meal, due to the lack of an oven in the Embraer. Furthermore, we would have the choice between the 2D-2F seats (with adverse lighting conditions on the landscape) or 1A-1C (which mandates putting our stuff in the overhead bins for take-off and landing. Thank you, but no thank you!
Note the presence of a possible high status PAX in 1D, since seat 1F is neutralized, many holes in rows 8 to 20, and a possible weight centering constraint in rows 5 to 7.
At the end of the previous FR, I left you at the airside path in Terminal 2F. This chapter is history, because as you probably all know, AF inaugurated a new lounge at Terminal 2F on August 19, replacing the twin lounges at piers 2F1 and 2F2. From now on, the only reason for us to go down this moving walkway will be to go to the toilets.
Has Paris Aéroport removed the words "& lounge" and 休息室 from the signage here?
The entrance of the lounge was at the end of the pier on the lower levels.
Seen from the exit: the reception desk on the left and on the right a hostess who rushes to help you scan on one of the terminals behind the right door post.
In the center, a disinfectant gel dispenser, labelled to not contain alcohol.
Our visit to the lounge begins with a brief, but pleasant meeting with Flight Reporter Okapi, that I knew to be present thanks to the Airport Meetup feature of Flight Report. He was with his family so we did not spend much time with him and went downstairs. The food counter is again self-serve and the waiting line has disappeared.
This was the offering in early afternoon, to be compared to what AF now offers in its brand new Terminal 2F lounge.
The coffee machine hasn't changed for ages
Okapi once explained me how to do it, but the spout of this coffee machine stubbornly refused to be lowered to limit splashing.
My selection (and a glimpse of that of my wife who went for a refill later): this was no great French gastronomy, but it would allow us to skip dinner on our arrival…
… helped by some snacks, but don't worry, we left some for the others!
For dessert, I took some of this decent chocolate cake, and some of this fruit salad (mostly pineapple slices).
An example of the tarmac view from the lower level of this now disused lounge.
Boarding: the counter displays QR codes providing links to websites for filling on line Covid forms for various countries, as well as to the more generic Traveldoc information website. No, there is no flight to Russia or the United Kingdom (this terminal is for Schengen Area flights only), even less to Peru, but a connecting flight to AMS is possible.
Stairs, damn it! We landed from LJU at Terminal 2G, had to transfer by bus to this terminal, and now we have to re-transfer by bus to the same Terminal 2G for our flight to BLQ. This is not a fatality, because E190s are compatible with the jetbridges of Terminal 2F.
Some comfort (thi is indeed the PAXbus for Bologna) and some worry (in case of a road accident, if the driver has fainted or worse, it will be impossible for us to break a window to escape the wreck a few seconds before it ignites – an interesting variation of the typical the disaster movie.)
With two PAX already seated in the back seat, we saw no need to reduce the social distancing among Skypriority PAXes.
Qatar Airways 777-300ER at Terminal 2E
Hop!'s famr of Embraers at the Terminal 2G parking area
Confirmation that this is indeed an E-170
Door shot (and close-up on the type of the aircraft)
A twin parked at next gate
Pitch and width between armrests identical to those of the E190: it's comfortable by Economy standards
And like in the E190, the absence of a central support allows us to fit a small piece of hand luggage between our respective feet.
On the other hand, the window alignment stinks! Unlike in the E190, the front row windows are too far back relative to the seats. This does not prevent from seeing the landscape, but it does get in the way. (picture taken in flight)
The PSU, identical to that of the E-190
No real recline of the backrest (if I remember correctly), despite the presence of this button, which is better for the passenger seated behind.
The safety card, both sides
The upgrade offer did not attract many passengers: a flight attendant stored in 2D-2F seats luggage that could not fit in the luggage compartments in the back.
Departing from the gate has been delayed by 18 minutes
Taxiing towards the southern runways
A twin lands at the same time
The heart shaped Circuit Carole (a motorcycle racing facility)
The junction between the A1 (on the right) and the A3 (on the left), south of CDG
From left to right, the Stade de France, the railway tracks from the Gare du Nord, and the loop of the Seine at Gennevilliers and the homonymous island. In the background, beyond the the ring express road, Paris, whose urban density stands out clearly compared to that the inner suburbs.
Zoom (and image processing) on Paris, with the Eiffel Tower in the center and the Arc de Triomphe a little in the foreground. The white cross-shaped structure, to the left of the Eiffel Tower, is a temporary structure intended to host events during the renovation of the Grand Palais.
In the foreground, the Port of Gennevilliers, bordered by the A86
The north part of the ring road, in the bottom of the picture. From left to right further away, the Sacré Coeur (not very visible), the green spot of the Montmartre cemetery and the tracks coming from Gare St Lazare. Going upstream on the Seine River, it appears as diagonal from the lower right quarter to the top left (but it is the Marne River, shortly before its confluence, that we see at the left edge of the photo), then goes back to the right in the upper quarter of the photo. The light spot at the top right is the perimeter of ORY.
Turning left to fly around Paris, and zoom in on the port of Gennevilliers
Then zoom in on the Stade de France
LBG, this time seen from the south
View of the northern suburbs from the south
The Stade de France, surrounded by a maze of expressways and railways
The western half of CDG, with Terminal 1 at the edge of the photo on the left
Terminals 1 and 2
General view of CDG
For rail geeks: at Claye-Souilly (on the left), the the connections between the East Interconnection high speed line (from left to right) and the East high speed line (from bottom to top).
Marathon shot: it takes very clear weather and scrutiny to spot the four grass runways at Meaux-Esbly aerodrome (LFPE)…
… especially when Meaux, whose meander of the Marne is particularly identifiable, appears after, and not before.
Further upstream, La Ferté-sous-Jouarre, with Jouarre in the foreground, known for its Benedictine abbey
Château-Thierry, even further upstream
Vitry le François
St Dizier, with only part of its air base (BA 113, ak.a. LFSI), in the lower left corner of the picture
The weather does not always allow you to identify the landscapes: how can you manage in this jigsaw puzzle of white clouds and their dark shadows on the ground!
Nancy-Essey Airport (ENC), in natural colors
… and after increasing the contrast
The snack arrives: it is a (small) berry ice cream, accompanied for me by a coffee and a glass of water
The packaging of the ice specifies that it must be stored at -18 ° C, but it sticks so much to the lips and tongue that I suspect the E170 to have been equipped to convey doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, at the time when they had to be stored at -70 ° C ^^. In short, it is much too cold.
(An insider explained to me that airlines use dry ice for refrigeration on board: there must have been too much of it.)
But never mind, all it takes is to dip it very briefly in the glass of water (which is cool, nothing more) for this ice cream to be pleasantly consumable.
In the meantime, we pass Saint Dié des Vosges in the distance
I admit that I did not immediately spot the 870-meter runway at Saint-Dié airfield (LFGY), and that it takes some goodwill to identify it in this magnificaiton. At that time, I was busy defrosting an ice cream just enough…
Gerardmer and its lake
We then arrive in the Alsace plain, with Colmar-Meyenheim Air Base 132 of (LFSC), just above the reactor in the picture above.
Zoom on LFSC
The Rhine and its side canal, and the right bank, therefore on the German side, the Bremgarten airfield (EDTG).
The Black Forest, at the right end of the photo
Arrival in Switzerland, with Zurich, and of course, on the left edge of the photo below…
Lake Zürich, in the center of the photo
ake Zug and one end of Lake Lucerne, lower right
Lucerne, right in front of the reactor, and Lake Lucerne
Upstream of Lake Lucerne
The upper Rhine valley, east of the Oberalp pass above which is its source
Locarno, at the northern end of Lake Maggiore
At the upstream end of the lake…
… Locarno airport (ZJI)
The Ticino valley, upstream from Lake Maggiore.
The northern end of Lake Como
The northern half of Lake Como
Lake Lugano in the foreground, and Lake Como
Lake Como, almost entirely
Lecco, at the south-eastern end of Lake Como, and from top to bottom the lakes of Garlate, Annone and Pusiano
Close-up on Lake Pusiano
The agglomeration of Bergamo
Close-up on Bergamo airport (BGY), used as Milan bis airport by LCC, in natural colors…
… and after image processing
The Po, near Casalmaggiore on the left to Guastalla on the right
Overview of Reggio Emilia, in the plain
The historic center
And the airfield (LIDE), for a grand total of eleven airfields seen on the course (LBG, LFPE, LFSI, ENC, LFGY, LFSC, EDTG, ZRH, ZJI, BGY, LIDE): it had been a long time since I had had last had spotted that many during a single flight!
There were a lot of lakes, too, but they are much easier to spot and identify.
To the north-west of Rubiera, a wetland classified as a nature reserve also serving as a retention basin for the Secchia river.
Modena: general view
The historic heart of the city
Zoom on the Ducal Palace of Modena
… and on the cathedral, listed as a World Heritage Site by Unesco
BLQ is to the north-west of Bologna, which we will not see, landing on runway 12. We therefore go directly to the time after the aircraft has come to a complete stop away from the terminal.
I was there at the level of row 7 because this was there that I found room in the overhead bins for one of our two pieces of hand luggage; I was lucky that the passengers who had already stood up let me sneak back to retrieve it before the plane's door was opened.
Deplaning of a PRM, or bringing catering in?
Departure of the PAXbus: note the very agricultural looking tarmac vehicule on the right.
End of pushback of a KLM 737-700
Going quickly through the luggage delivery hall
And in the middle of a long corridor, a checkpoint delimited by straps, with a single employee. I had my passport in my hand, the paper prints of our health passes and our dPLF (Digital Passenger Locator Form): she didn't even stop me, much less my wife. who only had her passport in her hand, obviously considering that sanitary documents with the correct headers were legitimate.
(The printouts on paper were to avoid the admittedly low risk of a broken or discharged smartphone. In fact, I would probably have spent more time showing our QR codes, which subsequently and unexpectedly justified printing them.)
Arrival at the car rental counter: our vacation would have been possible (and considerably cheaper) by public transport, but local transportation would have taken much longer.
Thanks for reading me; your comments are welcome!
Bologna was only the closest airport: our final destination was Ravenna, a must-see city for this very mosaic-oriented week, and that is the subject of the bonus that I am offering you.
Why go to Ravenna? To see mosaics, of course! This was also the purpose of our stay in Ljubljana. This is one of them above the traffic signs, approaching our hotel in the outskirts of the historic center.
We would have seen this one first, barely out of the station, if we had come by train.
It is a tribute by contemporary artist Invader to the Byzantine mosaics that made this city world famous, such as this portrait of Empress Theodora,…
… In the choir of the Basilica of Saint Vital.
We cannot reduce this basilica to this detail: here is a complete scene, representing the sacrifice of Abraham.
If we widen the view further, it is a whirlwind of mosaics, each as magnificent as the next, in all directions.
And towards the ground, it is yet another style of mosaic representing the traditional church labyrinth: this one, dating like the basilica from the 6th century, is the oldest in Europe.
At one of the accesses to Kennedy Square, …
… this other mosaic by Invader is inspired by another mythical piece of mosaic art:
This cup on the edge of which two doves have landed to drink water is a detail of this mosaic located in the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia.
The mausoleum is very small, and visiting is drastically time-limited: five minutes, not one more! It is heartbreaking not to be able to stay longer, even if we still have visual and photographic memories.
Invader's tribute to the artists who preceded him by some fifteen centuries was appreciated by the inhabitants and authorities of Ravenna: almost all of his mosaics installed in 2014-2015 are still there.
You understood the game: this mosaic on the edge of a wall …
… Is in the foreground of the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, also a Unesco World Heritage site.
At the end of the nave, at the end of a long row of saints, the adoration of Jesus by the Magi appears on the left.
Invader has represented here the bell tower of the cathedra, placing the mosaic close to the ground – an unusual location which complicated the treasure hunt.
In the entrance to the Ravenna Art Museum, the open gate …
… hides a mosaic; how many of the very few visitors pay attention to it?
This is not the must-see museum in the city, but I nevertheless highlight these two almost identical paintings representing Saint Catherine of Alexandria. The one on the right was painted by Luca Longhi (1507-1580), and the one on the left by his daughter Barbara Longhi (1552 - 1638); art historians agree that the model was the latter.
Ravenna, an important port at the time of its heyday, is today several kilometers from the coast, where the Marina of Ravenna is located, a small and somewhat sleepy seaside town away from the tourist track.
Consequently, few visitors see this cute mermaid mosaic. It has lost a few tesserae, like this harbor which is now a far cry for the bustling strategic harbor over a millennium ago.
Thanks again for reading me !
The cabin of the E170 is admittedly in 2 + 2 layout, but is less comfortable than that of the longer E-190, because the windows are misaligned to the seats, at least at the front of the aircraft. The crew did their job. The entertainment (i.e. the newspapers and magazines downloadable before flight) suit my needs and beyond. My opinion is mixed as to the ice cream: too cold to be eaten with pleasure immediately (unless you are aware of a little known use of a glass of water!), it requires eating it at a precise time, unlike more classic offerings. But on a hot day, it was quite welcome and I liked it.
Good fluidity at CDG, but terminal 2G being closed generated two transfers by PAXbus, while the Embraers can be in contact at 2F (a saturation due to the summer traffic?).
The 2F2 showed its age, and will soon be forgotten in light of the new lounge at Terminal 2F which I visited later. It Nevertheless provided a pleasant transit when not overcrowded, with the added bonus of a brief meeting with another seasoned Flight Reporter.