France Part 1

As you know, we departed from Montreal on May 17th at 7:30 pm. Linda and Kuyler, who were driving us to the airport, proved to be even more cautious than I am, as they arrived at Jeremy and Cynthia’s at 11 am for a 2 hour drive! We took back roads, enjoyed the sights and even stopped to pick up some last minute items.

Even so, we arrived at the airport with hours to spare. Or rather, to drink wine at the bar.

The flight was uneventful and we arrived in Paris early, due to a tailwind. That made me feel better as we had a three hour gap between our arrival and the departure of our train, with non-refundable tickets.

Our luggage was the last off of the plane, probably as it was the first on. Just after we had collected everything, we were ushered to a waiting area and crammed in with many of the people from our flight. No explanation was given for quite a while. Then we heard that there was an unidentified package. ? A bomb?? They did finally explode the package, so we hope it wasn’t someone’s undies. After two hours, they let us depart.

Now we are under the gun as it will take us an hour, via train to Paris, then subway, to get to Gare de Lyon and catch our train to Dijon. Yikes! Grab the luggage and follow me. My broken French verifies the direction to “la gare” or station but cannot identify the shuttle stops. So, we run/hurry the length of two terminals and arrive, huffing and puffing, at “la gare”. There is a line at the ticket counter but there are also nearby handy ticket dispensers. Yeah! We insert my Visa card and it spits it right back. Try once more and same result. Okay, into the line. Buy the tickets and inquire re the possibility of making our train connection. The shoulder shrug told us all. But, we would try.

Bump, bump down the stairs with our wheeled luggage ( gifts from Jeremy and Cynthia ). Finally to the right level and into a train. Now, we must get off at Chalet des Halles and change to a subway to go to Gare de Lyon. Try to stay awake and figure out where we are on the map above our heads. Next is our stop! Get off quick as the doors don’t wait long. Bump, bump up a level or two, through the turnstiles, which directon???, this way, follow me! Whew, into the subway. Only one stop and we are off again. Oh man, this station is huge! Ask a friendly gendarme how to find the correct gate. We make the train, with 2 minutes to spare.

The trip takes 1 3/4 hours with speeds around 160 km/hour. It is so smooth and comfortable that we can doze off. John and Kristin meet us in Dijon and guide us to the hotel. By now, we have been up for 30 hours and are fading fast. But, we are also hungry. Time to walk the town and try to convince a cafe that eating at 4 pm isn’t gauche.

In the morning, we take another train to St Jean de Losne where we will board our floating home for the next 10 days.

to be continued….

Heather & Murray