As those of you who have been reading Sarah’s Living Thankful blog know, John and I are in France right now. We have had the best luck so far, beginning with our flight, and extending to the weather, our plans for the time we are here, and, as always, the marvelous markets and restaurants.
We were scheduled to fly out of Newark on the 19th of April at 8:30 pm. If you remember, there was this little volcano over in Iceland that was causing some trouble with air travel about that time. We got on the train for New Jersey that morning anyway, having decided the night before that if the winds shifted again and they couldn’t get us out we would cancel the trip and re-book for another time. Before we left the house, our flight was listed as “on time”, but was now flying us into Toulouse instead of Paris. Ok, we’ll take the train up. At least we’d be in the country.
Four hours or so later, we got off the train at the airport and were told that our flight was most likely going into Bordeaux. Sigh. We were planning to go to Bordeaux on this trip, but not until Sunday. Once again, at least we’d be in the country. Oh, and we’d be taking off a leeetle later than 8:30. Like midnight. SIGH!!!!
Thank goodness for airport lounges – there is nothing else to occupy idle time at that airport. Plonk down the laptop, get out a book, and wait to be called. Over the course of the next 7 hours, we got acquainted with our fellow passengers and heard some of their stories. There were 2 young men from Denver, whose company had tried to send them to Paris five days earlier, only to have the flight turned back halfway through because of the ash plume. They’d made it as far as New York, and were ready to get it over with.
There was a British expat couple who live in the southwest part of France who had spent six weeks travelling up the east coast of the US and were now several days past their planned stay. They had switched airlines when they were told that our plane would get them home to Toulouse. Then Bordeaux – well, that was ok, not too far away. Oh, did I tell you we were now going to Paris? She was attempting to find a way home, bus or train, but not having much luck. Nor was she having any luck getting her original reservation cancelled on the other airline – which wasn’t going to fly that night, but without a cancellation would have still charged her for the seat. All things considered, she had a great attitude – the cat was still being fed, and she’d be home soon.
There were others who, like us, were scheduled on this flight, and thanking their lucky stars that there were enough seats for the stranded folks and everyone else. John spent a good deal of time talking to a family from the Bordeaux area who were more than happy to give us a list of things to see and places to eat. The later it got, the more we talked and nibbled the sandwiches and drank the wine, the more mellow the gathering became. No-one was angry, or frustrated, and the airline – Open Skies – took very good care of us. They called everyone down for boarding at about 11pm, whisked us through security – those guys were ready to go home, too – and got us all seated on the plane. We pushed back right at midnight. as soon As we were allowed to recline the seats, I put on my new headphones (birthday present!) and went to sleep.
When I woke some hours later, the sun was shining on the peaks of the Spanish Pyrenees, and it was nearly time for breakfast. We landed at Orly Airport in Paris about noon, the second plane from the US to land there since the lifting of flight restrictions. Big thanks to all the patron saints of travel, we made it!
A cab ride to the aprtment and a shower later, we were sitting in one of our favorite lunch spots on one of my favorite streets in the neighborhood.
The daily market, with tons of fresh produce, cheese, meats and fish was in full swing, the sun was shining, and we had arrived in Paris in the Spring! A lovely quick lunch, and for dessert…
Fresh Strawberry Tart. Who could ask for more?
Tomorrow: Driving Adventures in France
NOTE! Having some issues with photos – will edit them in later.