We have arrived in Paris. (Also, this is post 200!)
Clearing customs was refreshingly easy, it’s not like coming into the US, or even Canada. Although we had to do it twice.
In Frankfurt, our first EU stop, we had to go through customs, and then back through security. The security guards scrutinized our luggage much more closely than the customs guard did – but I think that’s because we were carrying two contraband items. A bottle of Maple Syrup, and a recently released DVD of Wall-E. They took the syrup and left the DVD only after two of the guards performed for us, doing their best impressions of the two main characters.
This continued as we cleared security in search of the next gate. Not such an easy task. The Frankfurt airport isn’t very user friendly to begin with. The corridors are long and windy, and often you have to pass several unmarked hallways before coming to the one marked as yours. The temptation to turn too soon was very strong. To make matters worse, we actually watched a staff member come up to one of the signs and flip it around to point in the opposite direction. I think the only thing we were missing to complete the experience was David Bowie and a pack of goblins.
The Paris side was better still. We had to actively search for a customs guard at CDG, and when we did find him, he just waived us through. As long as we didn’t have liquor or cigarettes to declare he wasn’t interested. I think that this might have been because we were ‘Schengen’ at the time. Over here there is this great idea of a borderless Europe. Once you’ve entered into the Schengen region – an area comprised of 26 countries in Western Continental Europe – you can travel as freely as if you were passing provincial or state borders in Canada or the US. In our case, we didn’t have any goods to declare, and our handbag wasn’t meowing, so we were fine.