My apologies to anyone who is confused by this post. It was hung up on my laptop for the past 6 weeks and when I logged on again, it finally posted. I have reposted it with the correct date now so it should show up as April 10th now, when it was originally supposed to have been posted. 🙂
We arrived in Avignon at 4pm after being awake (mostly) for 24 hours.
Our flight left Kelowna at 10am on Saturday, with a 1:30 hour layover in Toronto, followed by a 7 1/2 hour flight to Paris. We chose the bulkhead seats for the long flight which were quite nice with tons of leg room and they gave us the ability to stand up in front of our seats. Erik had the middle seat so he could stretch his legs straight out and I was against the wall (no window) so I could put my backpack in front of me and use it as a foot rest. I really do prefer to have my feet up. The downside was that it was quite a narrow seat (mine was almost an inch narrower than Erik’s) because the TV and tray are inside the arm rest of the seat so it would have been an awful place for a heavier set person. However, Erik and I both preferred them to regular seats. Despite the fact that our long flight was from 3:30-11:00pm PST, I did manage to doze off and on during the flight, but I didn’t really get any quality sleep.
We arrived in Paris at about 7:45 am Sunday morning, and Charles de Gaulle airport was a little slow going through the border customs assumably due to the recent acts of terrorism. I’m fine with them being cautious, no matter how tired I am. We didn’t have any trouble catching the RER-B train into Paris (Chatelet-Les Halles stop) and then a short jaunt on the RER-A train to Gare de Lyon where we had reservations on the 11:40am TGV fast train to Avignon Centre. By this time we were very tired and I was feeling a little nauseous due to fatigue. Luckily we were in first class and had bigger comfy seats that reclined a little so again I dozed off and on along the 3 1/2 hour train ride.
Our AirBNB hosts kindly met us at the Avignon train station at 3:30 pm and drove us with our bags to the lovely little one bedroom apartment in the old town centre. Our bags are heavy this trip because we are staying three months. I had my laptop and iPad and some snacks and other items I wanted for the trip in a day pack, and my mid-sized suitcase weighs 40 lbs. Normally I travel with a carry on size suitcase only so this was quite a change. I don’t love hauling it up and down the stairs at the train stations.
Our apartment was on the third floor but our host offered to carry my bag up the stairs for me. I was so exhausted I could hardly think straight and it was only after they had left us, that I realized my phone and purse were missing. I had only noticed because I wanted to email my mom to let her know we had arrived safely. I quickly got online with my iPad and messaged our hosts to see if I’d left it in their car and sure enough I had. (I had dreaded the thought of having to walk back to the train station to see if it was there). Within 15 minutes, they were back with my purse and phone intact and I could relax and get some much needed sleep.
I took a melatonin and 1/2 an ativan and we went to bed although it was only 4:30pm. We both woke up around midnight and I took a unisom and went back to sleep until about 6:30 the next morning.
We went out in search of a cafe creme and a croissant before 7am and the town was just waking up. The sun was out and I got some nice pictures in the early light. After breakfast we wandered a bit and then, suddenly exhausted at 10am, we went back to the apartment and slept again. Erik had some tummy issues and so he wanted to stick close to home so I dozed off and on and read my book. It was so nice just to relax. Neither of us were very hungry so I went to a grocery store around 5 and bought some snacks and we ate a light supper at home. Then we went for another walk as the sun was setting and took pictures of the Palais des Papes and the famous bridge. We tried to stay awake but ended up going to bed before 10pm. I think the jet lag hits us harder every time we go to Europe and this was definitely the worst. I suspect it’s because we arrived in France so early in the morning. I much prefer a flight that leaves Canada in the evening so we fly overnight and arrive in France in the afternoon.
The next morning we were off again with heavy bags in tow, to pick up our rental car. I left Erik with the bags and popped into the Orange store (one of France’s phone/internet companies) to buy a SIM card for my phone. And yes, I paid to have my phone unlocked before I left. I told the guy what I needed in French but when he started rattling off a response I had to say “trop vite!”. He slowed down and I could understand him MUCH easier, then I suddenly realized he was speaking English. Oh. No wonder. 🙂
Anway, for 20 euros, I was set with a new SIM card with 1 gb of data and call time to use for the next 2 weeks. Later, I can buy a data package to use in Spain. I keep my phone on airplane mode most of the time and only turn it on when necessary as most of our accommodations have free wifi. I mostly wanted it for the ability use mapping while we were driving but I was susprised to find that once I had set up mapping with the directions and got it started, it continued to work, even after I turned it back to airplane mode. Yay!
We walked to the train station, caught the next train for a 5 minute ride to the TGV station where we picked up our little blue Ford Fiesta. It’s a standard diesel, seats four and has a hatchback trunk so we have lots of room. And yes, Erik will be doing all the driving. Next stop – Carcassonne!