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France

Our karmic bank account just ran out

An Evening at the Orly Airport

semi-overcast 17 °C

We had been traveling for nearly three months with not really any major glitches. Minor ones, of course, but no real major calamities. Then...it all hit us at once...

Why do I say that? Well, it all started with a routine trip to the airport to catch our flight back from Paris Orly to Pisa. We had just sent a nice morning at the Louvre art museum, seeing a few more sights in Paris before we had to head back to Lucca for my husband's Italian class. We get in the first metro and then have a fairly long walk to the connecting metro at Notre Dame that takes you to the airport. It is raining lightly, and fairly cool. We have all of our baggage rolling along with us. We are walking this route, and I am feeling incredibly uneasy. We NEED to get there! I am not usually anxious like this about arriving to the airport in ample time, or getting seats...usually I am just fine with waltzing in without too many minutes to spare. But for some reason, this time is different. I rush through lunch, spilling half on the floor in my haste. I want to go. Now we are walking on our way, and I still feel this urgency.

We arrive at the metro to take us directly to the Orly airport, and the trains are running behind. First it says 5 minutes, then it switches to 10 and then to 12. We have to do something, I tell my husband Chris. Find another way. So we trek all of our bags and the stroller back up the escalator and out of the metro. We try hailing a cab, but we need to walk a few blocks to the taxi station. We arrive and hop into a taxi and head to Orly. When we arrive, we have about 25 minutes until our Easy Jet will take off, and Chris runs ahead to the checkin desk, while I follow briskly behind, pushing Bodhi. As I get there, Chris is at the desk, and I rush up there hoping to plead our case. But when I arrive I realize that Chris is already being told that in fact, we do not have 25 minutes until our flight leaves...it left 25 minutes AGO.

OOPS. So turns out, we were not kinda late, we were extremely late. In fact, we never had a chance of making the flight. We had written the time wrong; the flight was at 2:30pm, not 3:20pm. Discouraged, we asked about our options. There were, essentially, none. No more flights out today. One at 6am tomorrow, but we would have to pay the full fare again. Any other flight to any other city would be a ridiculous price based on highest fares. Hmm, no stand-by, no 'change fees', no just switching us to a new flight from our old one without any cost? nope. We were stuck. We had to pay and stay overnight, so we did, after a little whining and kicking and screaming.

So now, on to find a hotel. We resigned ourselves to stay at the airport due to our earlier issues with trying to leave the city of Paris, so we would spend the evening in Orly at a random airport hotel, instead of in our lovely apartment (that we were already paying for!) in Lucca. It was an expensive mistake. One that wasn't funny to us then, and now, it can actually get a smile and a shake of the head, but still isn't very funny. Paris had kicked our butts, and we were paying much more for our weekend excursion than we had bargained for, and I was resentful. Why hadn't we been more careful? Why had things gone this way? After questioning and questioning, the only satisfactory answer I came up with was that our karmic bank account had finally ran out. It was time to refill and rebuild it, and that was really the only explanation there was.

Posted by globalmomma 15:58 Archived in France Tagged paris travel transportation weekend trip bad airplane luck jet easy orly karma Comments (0)

Paris and the Tour

rain 21 °C

Ahh, Pari'! Here we are in the bustling beauty of Paris, one day before the final stage of the Tour de France. We are making a short weekend excursion from Lucca up here to France to experience the excitement of the bike race finale, and to take one final trip on our journey. We metro into the city from Orly airport, and walk up into the cloudy mist and the stunning picturesque view of the Church of Notre Dame. It is a nice entrance to the city. We are able to walk around and see a few of the sights, but our mission here is clear: to scope out our spot and ultimately see the race tomorrow. We go settle into our apartment after a ottos difficulty procuring the keys, and then head back to the Champs Elysees. We walk from the Concorde toward the Arc de Triumph getting our bearings and trying to comprehend what the day will be like tomorrow when the bikes come through and the crowds are swarming. Paris is so much larger in scale than anywhere in Italy; and at first it is a little overwhelming, after being in such small, manageable, safe towns for most of our trip. We are now in a metropolis and there are people, cars, buses everywhere. Unfortunately this means Bodhi spends a lot of the day in his stroller so we can keep a steady eye on him, now that he is quickly running from place to place with his own agendas.

It is raining, but this time, we are prepared with a raincoat for Bodhi and sweatshirts for my husband and I. We duck into a cute French bistro for lunch and the food is absolutely delicious and rich. I have baked vegetables stuffed with rice and lamb. Chris has a Nicoise salad, and both are truly spectacular. Bodhi is snoring by the fireplace in his stroller, and with the rain coming down outside, it is the perfect cozy escape and a nice mini-date.

We walk until our feet are aching and then head in for the night...tomorrow will be a big day, we want to be prepped and ready for the spectacle.

Posted by globalmomma 08:56 Archived in France Tagged food paris france french tour de triumph arc notre dame champs bistro elysees Comments (0)

Going to Paris

semi-overcast

Yes, yes, yes, my Bodhi has successfully put himself down for a nap! I am brewing coffee in the Moka (Italian coffeemaker), and trying to absorb some Italian words through the television. I tried for ten minutes yesterday to turn on the TV, and this morning, Bodhi went over, pressed a few buttons, and presto, the TV went on. Aha, the little guy has already surpassed my technical savvy. It is a beautiful day in Lucca. Tomorrow we head off for our final excursion of our trip: a weekend in Paris to watch the finale of the Tour de France. We have talked about seeing the ultimate bike race for years now. In fact, we were in Italy years ago, in 2003, while the Tour was taking place in France, a year Lance Armstrong won the tour, and we didn't go see it. We both regret not going, so this time, even though there is no Lance, we are going. Hopefully one of the riders I cheer on will win, but it is mostly the whole production, the crowds, the environment that we desire to see. Maybe there will also be time to go to the Louvre, go up the Eiffel Tower and so on. My husband has never been to Paris, so mostly it is a belated Father's Day gift for him.

Since Germany, every day we have endured the rain. It rained in Brussels, in Ghent, and even on our few days here in Lucca. Our son has his old car seat and stroller, with no rain guard, and no raincoat or rain boots. We have no raincoats or umbrellas. Like true Seattleites, we are holding out. We walk around in the wet weather like it doesn't phase us. Italians all seem to think they will melt like the wicked witch of the West in the rain, avoiding it, ducking under awnings or into the nearest coffee shop. Carrying umbrellas, wearing parkas and looking generally perturbed, they walk and bike through the streets. We are not too concerned with a little rain. But since it is supposed to rain the whole weekend while we will be outside watching the bike race and waiting in the rain, perhaps it is time I broke down and bought some rain gear and went to Paris prepared. As fate would have it, I actually have a raincoat for the baby, but we mailed it home. We have begun counting our days here - it is hard to fathom that we will be back home in ten days, no longer traveling, no more, 'ciao bello! ciao piccolo!' greetings for Bodhi, no more amazing pasta dishes, perfect macchiatos, no more stretching the mind to expand comprehension of this place and this language.

I hope while in Paris to see: the bikes flying at amazing speeds along the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. To again visit some of my favorite works of art at the Louvre museum, including Venus de Milo and Winged Victory sculptures, although the Musée d'Orsay is more my preference, there is no time for both!! To walk along the Seine and see all of the old book stands (or take a boat!). To view the Eiffel tower at night. To have one decadent Parisian meal. Paris here we come!

Posted by globalmomma 01:22 Archived in France Comments (2)

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