England 14....France 9
Wilmington Travel Blog› entry 2 of 7 › view all entries
From the time we got up too early in the morning in Delaware until the time we laid our heads on the pillow in Lannion, 36 hours had passed without the hint of a nap. But I digress to the highlights of our first full day en L'Hexagonne.
We arrived in Paris at 0747 on Sunday morning. I unfolded myself out of row 31 and wiggled the body parts which had gone numb from lack of movement for six and a half hours. All went well as we made our way along the trottoir roulant (the cute way that the French have of saying "moving walkway"). I've run across these (not literally) at the airport in Toronto, Canada and they are a soft, springy, rubber sort of pavement that should be a requirement in all airports. As we rode along these walkways, we transversed through a system of glass tubes that connected different levels of the arrivals area.
We sniffed out the back way to the passport control that allowed us to avoid the long queues where everyone else waited. The fact that we didn't check any bags allowed us to quickly pass from Terminal 1 and into numerous elevators and escalators on our way to Terminal 2, where the gare or Mainline train station was located. We'd done our homework and already had our tickets as well as seat reservations for the TGV (high speed train), thus avoiding more queues. It's easy to go on the SNCF (French Rail) website to order tickets and obtain seat reservations, which are required.
We had about 2 and a half hours to wait and that is when we discovered the good news..........England beat France 14 to 9 in the World Cup Rugby games, eliminating France from the competition and sending England to the Finals. We do send our condolences to those fans who have an interest in Team France but I will have to say that Mark was beaming (as all good Englishmen would), when I translated the news from the front page of the French newspaper that was displayed in the giftshop. I think that is what got him through the rest of a long day.
The TGV was a sleek testament to French ingenuity, smooth, fast and silent.
It was really becoming difficult to keep our eyes open on this leg of the journey. I was nodding and jerking around like you do when you wake up and try to act like you weren't sleeping. I might even have slobbered a time or two but that's my own little secret.
M. Andre Stervinou, the proprietor of our B&B, was there to meet us. He is a very pleasant gentleman and counts among his talents, a fluency in English, Italian, German, Spanish and Breton and need I say, French. We were taken on the short drive through the narrow streets of Lannion town centre and up to Le Grand Chene (The Big Oak), which we would call "chez nous" for the next 4 days. Check out the websit for this wonderful B&B on the following link: http://www.
So, now we had to make our way back "home". We really didn't want to impose on M. Stervinou, even though he had kindly offered to pick us up after dinner so we decided to walk off our meal and get a little fresh air. The short trip into town was certainly not the same on the return. It was dark now and after a few wrong turns which I will admit to influencing, we were walking in circles and unable to see the tall crane that was to serve as our landmark for the way home. The second time we passed the police station, we decided to swallow our pride and mosey on in for directions. We were looked upon with a suspicious eye as we tapped on the door and were "buzzed into" the building. I explained, in my best French.....nous sommes perdus, which I don't think needs a translation. The policeman looked us over sternly, trying to determine if we were a threat or just a couple of stupid tourists off the beaten track. Let's go with the second conclusion. He pulled out a map, showed us where we were, where we needed to go and dismissed us just as quickly. We were on our way and headed back to where we had just been when we had taken the wrong turn that I recommended earlier. Quick, hide the map before we go in, Mark says. We didn't want to appear as stupid as we felt. We arrived "home", made some noises about taking a long walk around town, and headed up to bed. That second cup of tea had never tasted so good.