Wednesday, April 4, 2012

On Our Way to the Next Adventure, France

04/04, Wednesday
Up at 5:15, on the road by 5:45. Arrive Ciampiana airport 8:30. Dick was driving and the GPS was navigating. As before, Sergio is our GPS; our car we haven't known long enough to give it a name. Both did well. We did see a pretty sunrise. We had a little difficulty finding the rental car return. We could not find any signs saying Hertz or car rental, but Sergio had warned us that it was away from the terminal.

Then, we got in the wrong line for RyanAir check in. When we got to the front of the line we were told that at "every airport in the world you must first look at the panel to find which check-in gate to use." At least that was my interpretation. This is new to me.

I'm trying to just use this as good people watching time. They seem to accept this old lady lying on the floor with a backpack for a pillow. I will need a crane to get up.

Now it has turned into a waiting game. Our plane was to leave at 10:35, then 12:00, and it is now 12:30. Most of us have taken to sitting/laying on the floor. Dick made a food run, and I have been reading Rachel Maddow's new book "Drift". Everyone has settled in and claimed floor space. No explanation on what is happening.'

Dick and I are in two different lines, since we couldn't seem to get two priority seating assignments when making the reservations. Hopefully he will save a seat for me. Ryan Air seems to have a few glitches. At this point we may have missed our connections, so we might be touring Bordeaux tonight.

Well, we are making progress. Now it is 12:45, and we are sitting on a bus to take us to the plane, but it isn't moving. Hey, it is now 1pm and we are on the plane and actually sitting together, but it isn't moving yet. Everyone seems very calm about all the waiting, so I now know why RyanAir is so cheap. Think this is the norm. Well, we are now moving, but backwards. Strange sensation. Finally going forward and it is a pretty quick trip and no more problems.

Having crossed the Tyrrhenian and Mediterranean Seas and the Languedoc and Aquitaine regions of France, we're on the ground in Bordeaux at 15:00. JetBus from the airport to the train station leaves at 15:15 and we're on it. Really zipped in and got our luggage. Passed several beautiful monuments and interesting places on the way to the train station, so we might want to spend some time there. We are now on the train to Agen, but I forgot to stamp our tickets, so hopefully they will be collected by an understanding conductor. Don't quite understand the logic of buying a ticket and then having to stamp it at a different spot.

And, now we are on the train from Agen to Fumel. It takes about a half hour. John will meet us at the station for a 5 minute ride to our next "home".

Arrived at the Chambers and saw our apartment, again. J&M have made some nice changes in the kitchen and decorations since last year. It's very comfortable, lots of room with dining room and sitting room. Lots of books to choose from and DVDs. Plus, they have outfitted us with plenty of food (cheese, ham, coffee, fruit) for breakfasts, some nice red wine, and a bouquet of of white roses and a red one in the bedroom. A very nice welcoming.

Madeleine spoiled us with one of her wonderful dinners. Starting with a fresh salad with warm goat cheese with chutney and greens; main course of turkey with fresh prunes (Agen, France is famous for it's prunes), flat green peas, and rice; finishing with warm Gran Marnier crepes and French pastries. Of course, a nice red French wine accompanied all.

And, we had a chance to share some recent travel experiences (J&M just returned from Paris two days ago), a few selected photos, as well as discuss our political concerns for the coming year. Madeleine feels that Israel may try to attack Iran this year, disrupting USA Democrats run for re-election, in particular President.

Really good to be settled in here and fun to be with Madeleine and John. We have a big balcony overlooking the Lot river and there seems to be a walking path next to it.

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