• Day30

    Oct 19 - Time to return home

    October 19, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    No lolly gagging this morning. Up at 6:00 a.m. Finished the last of our box of cereal. Perfect portioning. Doug bought milk last night and put it on the windowsill outside to keep it cool. Wish this room had a refrigerator.

    It was another rainy day - figured we would check out the weather on another continent to see if we could find some sunshine. For the first time, we took an Uber. I had booked it for 7:00 a.m. and promptly on the dot of 7:00 a.m., it pulled up to the door. I'm impressed. Will use this service again. Omar, our driver whisked us up the Champs-Élysées which is much calmer before daybreak. The traffic around the Arc de Triomphe was almost as crazy as it is in the middle of the day. The airport is quite far outside the city but traffic was fine in the early morning hours. We found our terminal and departure area after putting on a couple of thousand steps. Good legs and comfortable shoes make traveling a lot easier. Doug discovered that even to buy a package of gum you need to present a boarding pass which was on my phone. Fixed that after the fact by putting the Air Canada app on his phone too.

    We are looking forward to getting home after being on the road for 30 days. There are some things that Canada does really well and that we missed while away. We do a much, much better job of accommodating people with mobility challenges. We can dish out coffee way faster than anywhere in Europe. We have much better plumbing. We are way better at recycling. We don’t, for the most part, have to constantly fight for parking space. We have easy access to green space. We have much safer sidewalks, not (yet) infested with crazy electric scooters that look like flying skate boards. Canada is the very, very best country in the world.

    Our flight was very good - just a few minutes of turbulence - so Doug felt great. We both got a lot of movie watching done. I highly recommend "The Book Thief". We sailed through customs/immigration because we have NEXUS cards - one of the best travel investments we've ever made. We are classified as "trusted travellers" and get to use a special access desk that rarely has anyone in line when entering Canada or the U.S. We were the first ones at the luggage carrousel. We retrieved the car after being picked up by the car park representative. We were home by 3:00 p.m. Elapsed time from leaving the hotel - 14 hours. I was able to get to 5:00 p.m. mass.

    No pictures for this footprint - everybody looks wretched at airports. I think you know what we look like after so many variations on the "selfie of the day".

    And so, all good things must come to an end. We have traveled by plane, train, boat, car, Uber, tram, cable car, funicular, bicycle and the ever-reliable shoelace express. We didn't get sick; we didn't get hurt; we didn't lose anything (except some euros to an unscrupulous unlicensed taxi driver); and we didn't miss seeing anything that we wanted to see, despite the constant battle with rain. All in all, it's been a very successful, very enjoyable trip.

    We have seen and done so much. Highlights for us have been visiting Coster's Diamonds in Amsterdam, cycling from Arnhem to Nijmegen, watching the sun set over Lake Geneva, enjoying fondue high up in the Alps, visiting Peter and Angela at their home in Eppelheim, seeing the Paris skyline from Montmartre and touring the Palais Garnier. I calculate that we biked 50 miles and walked over 160 miles. That's how you combat chocolate croissants!

    We have visited 6 different countries on the 5 distinct legs of this trip. We hope that you have enjoyed learning about the culture, food, history, geography, architecture, economy and sights of these countries. Perhaps, based on our experiences, you will add a country or a city or a sight or an activity to your bucket list.

    Our next trip is in just 3 short months - to New Zealand for a 3-week coach tour, followed by a one-week cruise around Tahiti. We look forward to having you share the adventure.

    Signing off for this trip,

    Read more