Ryanair are unforgiving and they are faithful to themselves: departure before sunset from Orio al Serio (Bergamo), subtly sold as it was Milan's airport – but indeed it could have been worse since they sell Bratislava as Wien and vice versa - ...this alone tells much about the competence in Geography of the said airline (when will we have Crotone Malpensa?), and low-cost check-in where there's a worrying shortage of staff.
But we don't care much, we are right right on schedule, we parked for free below the control tower, and we are even a bunch of kilos below the 15 allowed (something that won't be repeated on the return flight) and, beautiful and trustful, we go to have breakfast in an awful Autogrill booth (that we later learned to accept as a constant for the vacation).
Obviously only 5 minutes after both the airport's bar and the confectioner's would open.
We notice that the wild bivouac is something usual in all the airports where the said airline operates and, in a freezing cold weather, we queue for the boarding.
On the plane our stewards are two gay, one with black hair the other one blond, whose movements don't leave anything to be imagined.
The flight, during which we unleashed our instinct to sleep, justified by a night spent chatting on my sofa between a check list to finish and a trip to plan, lands on schedule.
When we get to the Gallic capital we have our first bad news: for once, this one, the weather forecast is right... it's cold like we were at the North Pole and it rains... cats and dogs.
During the transfer by bus from the Picardy airport to Paris we sit in front of two silly girls who are clearly affected by the annoying “I repeat loudly whatever I read” syndrome.
They probably think they are the only ones gifted with the light of sight.
In Paris, the tube station of Porte Maillot, that should be our salvation anchor in this deluge, is not findable even by the natives, who even hardly can show us a working ticket seller.
An employee in his beige trench helps us out, by giving us two tickets from his commuter's block of tickets: we will be his official excuse for two days off work... smart guy.
The truth is, everybody will always be very kind to us... maybe because they don't realize we are Italians... at least this is what we are led to think by the fact they continuously speak to us in modern Gallic or, sometime, in Spanish.
We have to face the hard truth: nobody speaks English, and if he does, he has a vocabulary similar to that of a second elementary school child.
It seems like we were in Japan, with the only difference that Roberto speaks a little Japanese, while none of us is familiar with the language of Asterix.
The quest for the hotel under an annoying rain is something Roberto would happily forget to mention.
I will only tell you of the kind and friendly cashier of the supermarket who phones the hotel to ask where the uncharted street is and then he show us the wrong way, confusing left with right.
We start to have some personal ideas about the results of the recent elections.
After all, even the postwoman of the area is able to tell me where the is rue de petit hotels 8 is.
Needless to say, a real estate operator helps us out.
The power of money is the same everywhere.
The hotel du Brabant has puny and rotten rooms, but among the staff of the hotel famous names of the photo retouch world can be found.
We can't explain otherwise the photos of the rooms we saw on Internet that convinced us to book here, abandoning the cheap but trustful formule1.
We make like a tree and get out, after a quick and essential check-in in the lobby (probably the concierge was a Spaceballs fan) during which the staff ask only if we paid.
We could be replaced by our terrorist cousins and no one would ever suspect anything.
We decide to take it easy and to go walking the town, starting from Forum Les Halles' mall, since the weather suggests an underground walk.
Useless to say, our first goal is a Starbucks and its Paris signed mug to complete my collection of mugs from the world (of Starbucks).
A little excursus on this subject: they might be just damned frog eaters, but their frappuccino is simply the best, probably thanks to the raw ingredients from which the cream is whipped.
We soon realize that food prices are unacceptable everywhere: even those who want to keep the image of low cost restaurant, like McDonald, shrink the dimensions of the serving.
During the following days we will have time and chance to have our wallets hit hard by unsuspected uptown bar that sell half a liter of San Pellegrino water for 6.10 euro or a mediocre cappuccino (served at the desk) for the “cheap” price of 4 euro.
For a similar price in Italy you can sit in Piazza di Spagna in Rome, during the fashion show “Donna sotto le Stelle”, with violinists playing Mozart's 42 and Ms.Bellucci sitting at the table next to yours.
We continue our sightseeing, eventually stopping to take some silly pictures at the Ecoute in Place St.Eustache: I really dig that head (whose affliction rivals the statue of the chair that the city of Pioltello, city of three parks, wanted as the town landmark at the entrance of the urban center Note of Roberto).
Our walk takes us along a quai up to Tuileries, walking by Paris town hall and the Pompidou center.
To end the day we have dinner in a brasserie, eating some sort of omelette stuffed with meat and mixed vegetables (galette) and, tired for the walk, we have our well deserved rest, waiting for the tour de force of the two following days: Eurodisney.
Personal thought: French are lost without me... or at least they don't have a pen to write.
I got to this conclusion after a rock solid statistic average, since two out of two asked and received a pen at their first attempt... like I had a sign on my head.
Roberto's corner: Paris' back is dirty.
This sentence has nothing to do with the absolute lack of bidet in French toilets, but rather with the consideration that Paris needs an all round redecoration.
One just needs to walk one meter away from the shining face shown to tourists to stumble into crumbling walls, rusting pipes and broken tiles everywhere.