Our travel day started off well. Really well. Both of us decided to take the morning off so that we could sleep in, exercise, and finish up some last minute preparation. So we did just that. We slept in. We took a walk around the neighborhood to see the azaleas. Blake worked and I cleaned the whole house.
The day peaked at 11:15 a.m. and went downhill from there. We left our house at 11:30 to walk to the metro, to get to the bus, to get to the airport (did you get all that?). At 11:31 the skies opened up and it poured. We had umbrellas, but our luggage was still soaked by the time our 6 minute walk to the metro was over.
We got to the airport - wet luggage and all - on time and had just about the easiest check in experience I've ever had.
But, as it turns out, it was too easy.
After getting lunch at potbelly (I especially love eating Potbelly at the airport because their prices are the same as the outside world...hooray!) and sitting around waiting for our delayed flight for a couple hours, I noticed that there was a group congregating around the gate. It didn't look like they were about to board, so we went to check it out.
With no prior announcement our flight had been cancelled. The terrific storm moving through New York at the time cancelled all incoming and outgoing flights from JFK. Perfect. Because we had planned to connect through JFK to Charles de Gaulle, both of our flights were cancelled.
We ran back to the ticketing gate to beat the rush and spent the next 45 minutes finagling the last two seats on another airline that would leave late that night, and connect us through Heathrow rather than JFK.
There was no way we wanted to get back on the bus to the metro to walk to our house with all our luggage, so we tried to entertain ourselves at the airport for another nine hours. We read, we ate, we walked, we coveted the girl scout cookies that the deploying soldiers were receiving in their care packages. Blake spent some time calling the vending machine company to argue back the dollar the machine had stolen from him. (Incidentally, the did end up sending him a dollar in the mail this week. Not a check. But a lone dollar bill. Go figure.)
When we finally got on our flight (that had been delayed yet again) that night, we were exhausted. I made it through the in-flight meal and about half of the Voyage of the Dawn Treader before I dropped into an uncomfortable, though satisfying, sleep...punctuated only by the hacking cough of the woman in front of me.
Not only was our flight delayed on our end, it was also delayed coming into Heathrow because they'd shut down a large portion of the airport. We finally landed and were immediately given "fast passes" to get us through security and boarder patrol quickly to make our connecting flight. These fast passes only helped so much. You see, we had landed just as the Royal Wedding was starting. And as that started, Heathrow stopped. Everyone was glued to to the TV screens and we had run, pushing our way through the masses of on-lookers, while they said their I-Dos. Those darn royals almost cost us our flight to Paris.
Now I can tell all my friends that I was in London for the Royal Wedding.
But after all of that (plus the train to the metro to the hotel) we made it to Paris for day 1.5 of our European adventure. It had been 5 years since I'd been back, but it almost felt like I'd never left. Our first stop after dropping off our bags was the FranPrix to snag some tabbouleh, baguettes, and brie. Be still my heart. I dream of that lunch constantly.
We walked a couple of blocks and ate our lunch at the Places des Vosges with Blake's parents.
Don't look too closely. I don't want you to see how tired and bedraggled we look.
We walked around my old stomping grounds....
..... and stopped by my school on the Rue St. Merri.
We also stopped by a couple of my other favorite haunts in the quatrième:
Amorino (where they shape the scoop into a rose)...
..and Le Gay Choc (where the pastries are shaped like pastries, except for their specialities on the weekend when some are shaped well....to give you a Gay Shock let's just say).