Monday, March 20, 2023

Watching the News in France

We're off to Europe, a few days short of getting ourselves back into our home time zone after our trip to Bali, Indonesia. We fly to San Francisco today, and overnight there before boarding an early-morning flight to New York (JFK) tomorrow and onward to Paris (CDG).

We took advantage of the American Airlines Systemwide Upgrades that are among the new benefits of earning Alaska Airlines MVP Gold 100K status to book this flight some months ago. Those SWUs, as they're called, allow us to buy economy tickets and upgrade them to business class.

After some searching, we booked eligible flights into Paris (CDG) and returning from Frankfurt (FRA).  We then designed a comfortable train itinerary, traveling by first to Strasbourg, Colmar, and Metz for a few days, then visiting Antwerp, Belgium before spending a final night at FRA and flying home. Simple, no?

France, however, is currently in the midst of a major political crisis. President Emmanuel Macron is utilizing what some would describe as a parliamentary trick to force through new legislation raising France's retirement age from 62 to 64. We have watched Europeans in various countries get riled up over the past couple of decades as governments contemplate such moves. As people of a "certain age" who collect pensions ourselves, we can certainly relate to the concerns of citizens who feel the government is changing the rules just as they're getting toward retirement age.

Now we're reading headlines like France's Macron faces no-confidence vote as protestors arrested, refinery strikes continue, and, more ominously, Is France 'on the edge of civil unrest'? What to do?

It's almost impossible to guess how bad things might get. A general strike? On the other hand, life might be reverting to normal by our arrival Wednesday morning. The U.S. State Department has not issued any current warnings to travelers, and we've registered our trip in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.  For now we'll monitor the situation as best as we can. 

Bon Voyage! Bonne Chance à Nous!

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