Thursday, May 31, 2012

A la prochaine . . . Au revoir, Paris, Hello Home

Something over 30 hours ago, we checked the closet one last time, made sure we had our passports and ticketing info handy, then left the keys in the little bamboo basket on the tiny, triangular table of our temporary Paris home. As well as our cases, we scooped up the garbage and recylcing, then stepped into the hallway and resolutely shut the big wooden door behind us. One last downward spiral on the very worn wooden stairway, we stopped at the bottom for Paul to scoot into the courtyard and deposit the d├ęchets (trying to do it more quietly than those whose clattering had woken us many mornings). Then we buzzed our way through the front foyer's big doors and out into the tiny Rue that led us to a very quiet Blvd. St. Germain. Paris is so pretty, so clean and fresh, in these early hours that we wonder why we don't do this more often. . . Oh right, that sleep thing . . .

Down to Cluny Metro, where we play with the barriers for a while. Paul insists on pulling his luggage behind him despite the sign's equal insistence that he push it through first. The barrier exercises its substantial jaws; Paul exercises his (im)patience. Meanwhile, I read instructions and insert my ticket, push my luggage first, get partway through the next stile -- only to be halted by an attendant alerted to my husband's antics. He quickly sees the problem, gets us sorted, and on our way, and from then on, the rest of the day is easy.

Well, aside from stops and line-ups at Security. We got to see how airport security works at BOTH Paris AND Amsterdam (much removal of gear and much putting it back on in awkward public spaces). We were also able to haul our small cases over enough airport kilometres (transferring planes, getting to terminals, etc.) to ensure a serious day's workout as balance to the hours and hours of sitting. But we were both impressed at how much friendlier and more helpful many of those working in Security have become over the last few years, after the first five or six years after 9/11. And as for the airline itself, we found KLM service friendly and efficient.-- we would definitely travel with them again.

The efficiency of the Paris RER service that trained us to Charles De Gaulle was matched by Vancouver's (much more attractive) Skytrain Canada Line when we got through Customs here (and oh! I do love our International Terminal with its towering First Nations sculpture and its WestCoast rainforest waterfall). Again, the walking we had to do from there to home was a welcome antidote to the day's sitting. And after we dropped our bags off, we went out for a longer walk down to the all-you-can-eat sushi place that's become our welcome-home tradition.

But best welcome home was visiting our granddaughter after dinner. She'd been primed to expect us, I suspect, and came running happily to answer the door. Then she was hesitant for a few seconds, laughing and solemn in turns. I waited for her to organize her question: "Nana," she wanted to know. "First are you going to give me a big kiss and then are you going to take me to your house?"

If it weren't for some travel fatigue and certain knowledge of a mound of catch-up (laundry, groceries, mail, work, you know!), we would have spirited her off then and there. But first things first. We're up early this morning and will soon head off to catch the ferry that will take us to our big island, whence we'll take our boat to our little island, and finally plop ourselves down to take in a favourite vista and breathe in home. Chez nous. There's no place like it . . . .

Thanks so much for following along on our travels. As promised, more about them as I sort photos and experiences over the next while. And you, what have you been up to? I'll put the kettle on . . . let's chat.

10 comments:

  1. I enjoyed you Paris trip very much...

    looking forward to your pics. Glad you are home safe and sound.

    xxx Karen (sil)

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    1. Thanks, Karen, for following along -- glad you enjoyed it.

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  2. Welcome back...I wish for you a leisurely sleep in your own bed and a relaxed pace while getting over jet lag.

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  3. Welcome home, long flight plus several more short journeys, so coming home is a prize!

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  4. Welcome back! Take your time getting settled.

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  5. Your description of Paris in the wee hours reminds me of our trip a few years ago. Plagued by jet lag the first night, I awoke at an unearthly hour, went over to the window and opened it wide to breath in Paris. I watched the street cleaners hosing down the pavement in front of our hotel, washing away the dust and dirt of the previous day. It smelled so fresh.

    Enjoy the settling in - it takes awhile to get sorted out, and for me, there's always a bit of melancholy that the much anticipated trip is over, and I need to focus on what comes next.

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    1. A lovely memory -- those street cleaners do such important work!
      and yes, I think the period immediately after a trip is a rather odd transitional time. I need to slow down and let the gears change. . .

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  6. Welcome home! I'm looking forward to hearing more about your trip. Tonight we are going to a school performance of 'Les Miserables' - which is an apt description of our weather today after quite a few days of sweltering heat! P.

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    1. Ah! No sweltering heat here, but I'll try to muster some sympathy . . . ;-)
      Les Mis seems very ambitious for a school performance -- hope you enjoyed it.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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