Sunday, July 3, 2011

Nothing Is Easy

Not that Joe and I are world-wide travelers by any stretch of the imagination, but one would think that this being our 5th trip to France we would know what we're doing by now. One would be wrong.

Nothing is easy. I have come to embrace that phrase.

After a 12 hour flight, we landed in Paris at 8:30am. We thought we'd quickly grab our rental car and head south to the house we'd rented in the Lot Valley. It's a 6 hour drive to Martignac, so we figured we'd be pulling into our driveway by 3:00pm. 4:00pm at the latest. Easily. Again....WRONG!

It took us well over over an hour just to find the 'Europcar' rental desk. We had to walk from Terminal 3 to Terminal 1 dragging our luggage (and our butts) behind us. Once we were in Terminal 1 it took us forever to find the desk. We were up elevators, down elevators, along hallways, consulting information posters (which were no help at all) until one man took pity on us and said "Follow me. I will lead you there." Merci Monsieur!

There were about five other families in front of us at Europcar. No problem. We can wait. I leaned against a wall to help prop me up. Once Joe got to the front of the line I thought we'd be outta there in no time. WRONG! They didn't have the type of car we pre-booked and paid for. The girl behind the counter kept trying to give us a lesser car. A smaller car. With each offer Joe said "No. Either you give us a car that is equal to what we ordered, or you give us an upgrade.". They went a few rounds, but in the end she upgraded us to a beautiful 2011 Renault Laguna.

Except we would have to wait an hour for it to be delivered to the airport. By this time I had been up for 21 hours and was having trouble seeing straight. We went and had a bite to eat while we waited for our vehicle to be ready.

At the appropriate time, we returned to the rental desk. The agent handed us the key and said, "Your car is waiting for you in the red parking garage in stall number 125." "Okay! Now we're getting somewhere!" I erroneously thought.

It took us another 30 minutes to find the red parking lot! We found blue, we found green, and finally we found red.

We were thrilled when we saw our car. It was nice and fancy.

We tried to throw our luggage into the trunk, but we could not for the life of us figure out how to open it. Was there a button inside the car? Nope! Did it open by using the key fob? Nope! Joe was getting frustrated by this point and just wanted to throw our gear on the backseat and be done with it. But I pointed out that we would still have the problem of opening the trunk.

We saw a man wearing a reflective vest and asked him for help. He walked to the rear of the car, pushed the Renault symbol on the trunk and voila! The trunk opened. Merci Monsieur!

Okay. Now can we get on our way? No. Because Joe couldn't figure out how to set up the blasted GPS. "Monsieur! Monsieur! Can you please help us again?" Monsieur came to our rescue a second time, but with a 'these-tourists-are-idiots' look on his face.

Joe happily jumped into the driver's seat and said, "Come on! Let's go!"

Not so fast Bucko. Monsieur thought we were from Germany and set the GPS to German! Do you think we could figure out how to change the language to English? OF COURSE WE COULDN'T!!

Back came Monsieur with gritted teeth and a 'I-am-going-to-kill-these-people' gleam in his eyes.

We finally drove out of the airport after being there over 4 hours. So much for arriving in Martignac by mid-afternoon.

So much for getting out of Paris! Good grief! The gridlock on the highway surrounding the city was nothing short of mind-boggling. It took us 2 hours to inch 30 kilometres!!!!!

As soon as we got going, our GPS asked us if we wanted to avoid the toll roads. Joe answered yes, because he thought the GPS asked us if we wanted to drive the toll roads. The next hour found us crawling down single track lanes. Joe groaned when he realized his mistake. We quickly plugged in the nearest toll highway on the GPS. And the A10 auto-route came into view. We both heaved a sigh of relief.

We had to stop several times to eat and sleep.

Fourteen long hours after we landed at the Charles de Gaulle airport, we arrived at our beautiful 15th century house at 10:30pm. We'd been in the air and on the road for close to 32 hours. We celebrated our arrival with a quick drink before collapsing into bed.

Like I said. Nothing is easy.

*We are experiencing technical difficulties loading photos on to my new iPad and then to my blog. Hopefully, Joe will have this problem rectified shortly. Until then, my words will
have to suffice.


  1. What an epic journey! Glad you are safely there.

  2. wow I can not wait for the photos and it is going to be amazing and memorable look how incredibly it has commenced....

  3. but oh so worth it in the end!!

  4. Mondieu... I am exhausted reading this... and I can so relate as this has happened to us on more than one occasion. Could you just learn a little German for your next trip... I might come in handy.