Best of Italy Sept 30-October 16 2022
As usual my trip reports are long and filled with detail. If that bothers you, it might be best if you skipped this post, lol!!
Overview: I just returned from the Best of Italy, my 12th RS tour. I’d done 3 previous RS tours that included locations in Italy (Heart of Italy, 21 Day Best of Europe and Village Italy) so some cities were repeats, however my main goals were to see the Otzi the Iceman museum in Bolzano and see the Alpe di Siusi. For the repeat cities, some I did my own pre-planned activities, some I went with the group. I told the guide ahead of time what my plan was and that I would let her and my tour buddy know when I was going to go off on my own so they weren’t wondering. That worked well and mission accomplished!
Covid: There has been a lot of discussion on Covid numbers on tours, masking, tour member behavior. My guide made it crystal clear on the first night that masks were to be worn at all times on the bus and indoors. Most all tour members were compliant. I moved around to different areas on the bus each day so observed that most people were masking as requested. We were 28 at the start and 28 at the farewell dinner with no one testing positive for Covid. The guide and bus driver wore masks all the time. I wore N95s on the plane going over and back as well as any time I was out of my hotel room. I did take it off when eating. On the plane ride home I have never heard so much coughing and blowing of noses as on that flight. I tested Tuesday, the day after return to see if I’d gotten anything from the tour and was negative. I’ll test again on Saturday, 5 days after my flight. I’m masking at home right now to prevent any possible asymptomatic transmission to my family. In general in Italy no one is masking, there is no distancing in restaurants and except for large pump containers of hand sanitizer at the entrances to places it looked like pre-pandemic.
Flights + transit thru CDG: Going over I flew Delta, Spokane->Seattle->Paris->Milan. The flights were excellent, arrived early in to CDG and had an excellent very easy transit thru there as I’d allowed 3+ hours. I timed it from stepping out of the door to the plane at one of the tarmac M gates thru the shuttle to the main Terminal 2E, walking to Terminal 2F, security and then Border Control. I did not run but walked at a moderate pace. I made one comfort stop once I got to 2F and was NOT lured in by the Longchamp store, lol. I went to my gate and then went back! It took 1h5m for this transit time and it was about 15 extra minutes for the exterior stairs to be pushed up to the plane so a total of 1h20minutes from the time the seatbelt sign went off. I was on the first shuttle to 2E main terminal building where the transit corridors are located. The worst jam was where people were trying to get into the 2E Border Control area. I knew I needed to go past that door then take a left to get to 2F but there was a huge crowd that slowed me down. Once thru there it was a normal level traffic. I waited about 15 minutes at Security where the officer was handing out ziplock bags to everyone for their liquids. I pulled my 3-1-1 quart ziplock out and showed it to him and he waved me thru to a bin where I also had to pull out my iPad mini. Then border control. Literally no line as there I was directed to the egates. I was behind 2 Brits but he was still getting himself recombobulated after security so they laughingly waved me ahead as he belted his jeans on. Border control employee inserted my passport saying “It’s touchy, let me do it for you”. A quick Bonjour to the Border Control stamp guy and I was off. I got to my gate at 2F at 8:55. Quite an efficient process although I kind of knew where I was going. I think it would be harder for a first timer to CDG BUT any transit time under 2 hours would not work. My flight to Milan started boarding early, before the posted boarding time.