We made it to O’hare on time – but then left late due to the weather. Arriving on time (how do they do that?) to Heathrow but unable to land we missed our flight to Paris.
When we deplaned there was a nice gentleman standing at a table with tickets booked on the 3:50 flight to Paris. We got our tickets feeling happily cared for by British Airways. Ah, but then …. we were bused by two different buses to Terminal 4 which feels like the back of beyond. Once there we had a coffee, put sim cards into our phones and waited for the gate to be announced for our flight. It was a closely held secret until 5 minutes before the boarding call. We found our gate – where there is already a long line of pissed off people waiting to board. We are told that while they booked us on the flight there was no guarantee of a seat if we did not go to the Air France desk. Huh? No one said we needed to do that. We were only told to wait for the gate number. We missed our flight. Our luggage was not loaded. We take the bus back to Terminal 3 while I try talking to BA by phone to figure out what is going on. I’m on hold. For 15 minutes and then disconnected.
We arrive at the desk and I am snarkily met by a young woman who tells me over and over again that if I didn’t check in it was my fault. But they never said we had to check in, they simply said that we should wait for the gate and then go to the desk. Alright, we are rebooked, I am pissed and we have now missed our train to Montbard where we are to be picked up.
We finally arrive in Paris – wait for 45 minutes in the passport line – go to get our bags, no bags. Not even a hint of a bag. So I put in a report. More snark. Official bits of paper with no guarantee of anything good ever happening again.
We look for a hotel at the airport. $673.00. $830.00. $523.00. Okay, that’s not happening.
We’ve missed the last train. We find a car rental desk. We rent a car. Sweet Katie Hopwood makes a reservation for us at a hotel 65 kms from Charles de Gaulle. We are in a Fiat 500. About the size of an American phone booth. If we still had phone booths. I’m driving because I cannot bear to navigate. Takes us three tries to get out of the airport. Oh, and two tries to get out of the car rental parking lot.
It’s dark. It’s raining. It’s a challenge for me to see at night. We begin. Traffic is horrendous. Motorcycles speed past us on the dividing line between one lane and the other. One grazes my mirror. Or at least I think he does. The bikes have their hazard lights blinking and that makes it okay. They are traveling at twice the speed limit. Or perhaps the speed of light. It is terrifying.
We drive. And drive. But finally, the traffic thins out. The road is wet but we are not being chased by demon motorbikes.
There are tolls on this road out of Paris. We stop to get a ticket. And slap our hands all over the doors, the window, even the roof. Neither one of us can find the button or handle to open our phone booth windows. Robert steps out, walks around the car – it takes two steps, grabs the ticket and manages not to get skinned by any passing vehicles.
We arrive at the hotel, have a glass of wine and a beer and climb into bed. Exhaustion does not lead to a peaceful sleep.
A great breakfast. Off to Semur. Katie meets us. The apartment is lovely. Really comfortable and pretty and sweet. We go to the equivalent Walgreens – the Intermarche and buy some basics. Underwear. Pajamas. A clean shirt for me, t shirts for R. We get them home. They smell like fish. Yes, nasty fish. I hang the flannels bottoms out the window and wash the other stuff and hope it dries overnight. It does.
R’s bag is found. Mine is not.
I got a text a while ago that says my bag is on its way from Bremen, Germany to Charles de Gaulle. And after its lovely vacation should arrive around 7:50 this evening. It then, once customs has pawed through them both and taken what they’d like to own, the bags will be sent down to Semur. Sometime. Someday. We do not know when.
We drive to Germany tomorrow to visit friends. We will be home on Friday night. We may or may not have luggage.
Our first 48 hours.
We are fine.