Goodbye, Grand Britannia!June 27, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C
Alarm rudely going off too early, but necessary to make our 8:30am train from Saint Pancras. Though we were nearly entirely packed and I thought we had lots of time, we still ended up scrambling at the end. Grabbed an Uber to navigate us through early rush hour traffic.
Wound through ticketing, security, exit control, and French customs. We had only a few minutes before boarding - glad I didn't go for my normal 'by the skin of our teeth' routine or it would have been really stressful!
Left precisely on time for an uneventful trip to Paris in only about two hours. I'd forgotten how much my ears popped going through the Chunnel.
Then it hits me...we left our iPad at our flat in London! :-( I text with our Airbnb hostess. The cleaners found it. She is willing to mail it to us. I do some Google searches and find a post office near our flat in Paris that she can send it General Delivery...fingers crossed!
Paris was a sweltering 95 degrees by the time we arrived. We were greeted by college kids giving out free mini cans of alcohol-free, yet ice cold Heineken. Yes, please! Decided not to mess with Metro to transfer from Gare du Nord to Saint Lazare with the heat and all of our gear, relying on another Uber instead. Enjoyed gelato at the other train station, with plenty of time to loiter around before our platform number is posted.
Upon boarding, we had the amusement of figuring out seats that were non-consecutive, appearing to have little rhyme or reason. Our seats, next to one another were 21, 23, 24 & 28, with 22, 25, 27, and 30 across from us. Then we sat. And sat. The conductor came on and made an announcement. In French only. The kind English women next to us translated that we would be delayed while they cleared a person off the track. Huh?!? A while later, another announcement. I look over and the ladies said another 15 minutes. We're now 30 minutes behind schedule. Not that we have to be anywhere by a particular time, but it's hot, despite the AC. After an HOUR beyond our scheduled departure time, we are finally off to Caen. Having managed only six hours sleep last night, I snooze on the trip over.
Arrived at our stop and disembark to find another French city in the grips of the European heatwave. Fortunately, the rental agency is immediately across the street from the train station. Easy to get our car, but it is cooler on the street than it is in the rental office. Armed with a confusing little map, we attempt to navigate the two blocks to find the car park (along with other lost rental company souls with inadequate maps of their own). We have a white, manual transmission, diesel Jeep something or other. At this point, I don't care, as long as there is AC...
Easy 45-minute drive to the adorable town of Bayeux - where Jessica and I stayed 22 years prior when backpacking through Europe. It has definitely grown up and seems more cosmopolitan, despite Wikipedia saying the population is essentily unchanged for 40 years.
We find our flat - very different, but equally charming from our London one. Light and airy, with great cross ventilation, overlooking tennis courts. Fortunately, it is cooling off and tolerable now.
Tom, Rowan, and I walk half a mile to the grocery store to stretch our legs after sitting all day, while Logan tried to work out a tech issue on his phone and the wifi in the flat. SO different than the British groceries. Trying to decipher signs in French and navigate aisles was challenging (how come Europeans don't refrigerate their eggs??) Eventually, we had provisions for an easy dinner, breakfast, drinks, etc. and back we went.
Dinner, shower off the sweat, and then off to sleep, which was difficult, having lost an hour on the time zone change.Read more