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Sunday, 30 January 2011

The Curse of Travel (Part 2 of 3)

Travel stress.  It gets worse
We'd really enjoyed our 5 days in gay Paree, but we had to catch the Ryanair return flight from Beauvais, which meant catching the bus near the Place de Congress (about 8 km to the North of where we were staying ,Le Grand Hotel Leveque, Rue Cler, recommended for a basic hotel)
Being of a rational and controlling nature (No, really), I had planned our journey tomorrow.
Get up, shower and leave hotel (06:30)
Buy breakfast (Fresh croissants) on way to Metro Station (Ecole Militaire) (06:45)
Board Metro, taking Route 8 to Concorde (06:55)
Change at Concorde, take Route 1 to Porte Maillot (07:25)
Walk to Bus Station (07:45)

I had even bought tickets for us all on the previous day.
What could possibly go wrong.


When we had arrived in France, the time difference was +1 hour.  All of my family changed their watches to the new reference, but I kept mine unchanged, to keep a reference to the UK.  My beloved also left the time settings on her phone to UK time for the same reason (Actually it was because she really couldn't figure out how to use the correct menu on her new phone).  But it wouldn't matter, because all I had to do was remember to add an hour, anyway our children's watches had been set to the correct French time, as had my beloved's watch.  It really wouldn't matter.


I awoke on our day of departure at 5:00, checked my watch, too early and went back to sleep.
Woke again at 6:00, better get up.  I awoke my beloved, and we started to shower and change.  Thumped on the adjoining wall to let our kids know we were up, and to remind them that they should also get up and get ready.  Silly kids, they weren't very good at getting up and ready on time.  That's what parents are for, to make sure they were ready on time.


At 06:30, I opened our door, and knocked on the kids room and was pleased to see that they were dressed and ready.
Actually they were both sitting on their beds fully dressed.  "All ready?" I asked.  "We've been waiting for an hour Daddy", said my daughter.
"It's 7:30 Dad", said my son.


I'd completely forgotten about my watch being on UK time.  It WAS 7:30
Never mind, my travel plan had some spare time built in.
We'd still make the bus.

Checked out of the hotel, and walked quickly to the Metro, buying the croissants en route.
Straight to the train on Route 8. It was 7:40. We'd still make the bus.  No worries (as we Kiwis say)


We got off at Concorde and followed the signs to Route 1 (La Defense), and as we came around the corner of the corridor to the stairs leading to the platform, 2 officials of the Metro were putting up a barrier across the stairway.
They were also putting up a little sign.

Route 1 FERMEE


For some reason (I never found out why) Route 1 would be closed until 10:00
They were very helpful, and gave me the alternative routes in quite good English (My little French had evaporated as my adrenaline levels spiked).
The alternative route would take another hour.  We were stuffed.  Miss the bus meant missing the plane, which meant buying 4 more tickets at 250 each.


Quick (but heated) family discussion/name calling/blame allocation ensued.

Ran up the stairs.  Where the Hell were we?  Place de Concorde (There wasn't a lot of Concorde amongst us at this stage)
Fast walk/waddle to the nearest road, flagged down a little taxi, piled in ("Mais Monsuir, supplement €3 pour quatre" dite le chauffeur de taxi.   "Oui, Oui, allez vite" Je l'ai dit)

Made the bus station at 08:00, and actually got an earlier bus.
Cost of taxi?
Cost of Metro tickets?

Why hadn't I thought of a taxi before?


Travel does broaden the mind.
Travel also empties the wallet.
Travel also leads to an increased incidence of myocardial infarctions, family breakdowns and random violence.

Vive la VISA


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