Monday 21 July 2008

If it CAN go wrong it WILL

When it rains it pours. Yep that was how our Saturday went. I should have had an inkling of the way our day would be when I looked at my watch through sleepy eyes and it said 08h00. Malcolm had set his phone alarm to go off at 07h00...forgetting that it was still on DUBLIN time. It was a genuine mistake and so I brushed past the faux pas and I moved our ETD to 09h00 and set about getting ready to go, breakfast then dishes, final packing of the toiletry bag...last minute housekeeping and at 09h00 we were all in the car. Brilliant.
Malcolm dropped us and all the luggage off at the train station and set off for the airport 1.7 km's away to drop off the hire car. I went ahead and used the ticket machine, handy because it has a lovely little British flag which when pressed magically turns French into a more understandable language. I soon realised that our late departure had some bad consequences, we had missed the 09h48 rain and would have to catch the 12h14, nothing a cappuccino sitting in the sun wouldn't cure right? I also discovered that the tickets would be €250.00 OUCH. I decided to venture into the ticket line, perhaps I would get lucky and "Parlez-vous Englais" would be greeted with a smiling "Oui" and I would discover that there was a family discount. Mmmm €250.00 and a confused looking lady later I walked out tickets in hand.
Sitting in the sun drinking very average cappuccinos added to the bitter taste in our mouths so we wondered back into the station and settled down for a long wait. At 12h00 we headed for platform 2 and came up with a cunning plan to send Jess in first to try and nab 4 seats...until I looked at our tickets and found something rather disturbing...carriage number 19 and seat numbers.... 21, 22, 64 and 86 mmmmm. We gave the kids the seats together and Malcolm and I took the other 2. Sinister music followed and an announcement which we did not understand, went and had a look at the board..our train was delayed by 40 minutes. Now even lunch in Paris was looking unlikely, never mind a walk down Champs Elysees (spelling?) A little later...delay was at 50 minutes, I went back into the station and bought lunch from a place called "Paul".
Finally our train arrived, full to capacity so seat options were as stated on the ticket and no more. I sat in a section for 4, a bunch of tanned teenagers travelling to Paris together took up both sets of 4 bar my seat... realised when I saw them all that I had not got a tan at all...and there I was thinking I had done rather well on my lounger.
Finally arrived in Paris and we were very relieved when we discovered a French woman who could speak English at the customer service desk. Travelling Ryanair has its downside, far flung airports being the major one and so we got directions to BVA airport, about an hour outside Paris. So it was that we got to experience the Paris Metro and got to admire the Eiffel tower as we headed for a station near the bus depot where we could climb aboard a luxury coach to the airport. Paris is beautiful, and I will definitely be keeping my eyes open for any specials because I HAVE to go back and spend some time there....once I have had a few French lessons that is!
After an hour on the bus we finally arrived at the airport with about 3 hours to spare and once all the luggage had been weighed and re-arranged according to Ryanairs exacting standards we collapsed at Chez Tony and gulped down G&T's and shared a pizza.
Our plane was delayed. Surprise surprise, but the warm fuzzy feeling from the G&T prevented me from getting too upset and I sat reading my book and people watching which is always fun.
Finally boarded and all was going so well, we were heading down the runway and EVERYTHING...when the pilot announced that we had a piece of luggage on board that did not belong to a passenger from our flight and so we had to turn around and go back so that they could remove the sneaky bag. Oh well...G&T still coursing through my veins...settled down to read A Thousand Splendid Suns and kept going as we winged our way back to Dublin and finally touched down at around 22h00.

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