Thursday, September 27, 2007

Day Ten: Our Own "Terminal"


  • Catch the plane to Paris
  • Drive to Reims in time for our 3:30pm winery tour

The morning was spent packing what remained of our laundered and folded clothing and cleaning the apartment for inspection. Our bags must be packed and ready to be stacked into the taxis when they arrived which would closely correspond with the inspection. As it would happen both the taxi's and the inspector would arrive at the same time, early, just before we had every suitcase zipped and the counters wiped down. And just as we're about to walk out the door what would happen but one of us would not be able to find a passport. What is it with the passports wandering away without us on this vacation anyway? What could have been an easy and relaxing departure when true to tradition, the whole family running around like chickens with their heads cut off chasing after the children, the trail of run away belongings, and riffling through the recently packed bags.

Eventually we made it to the airport and this time, without the worry of parking spaces, we got to the checkout counter and terminal on time only to find out . . . the flight departure was delayed. Or was it delayed? How did we all misread the depart time on our schedule? We not only got their early, but now we found ourselves stuck in an airport for several hours and running late for our appointment in France. Hungry, we all found a cafe and seated ourselves in front of a tv showing cartoons. Once we'd eaten each set off in one direction or another to stretch their legs while a few took shifts with the children who were glued to the tube. We found the souvenir items we'd wanted to buy along the way, or actually we got the cheap, but pricey, airport items instead. I found a new pair of cloths for Screech Monkey as she had completely soiled what she was wearing already and was quite proud of myself for finding a dress for only 2 euros.

Upon discovering our fate at the airport we had to call ahead to the Pommery House to reschedule our tour. The only available opening left was for the next day at 2pm. This was about the time we'd wanted to get to Heidelberg, Germany, but we settled for the change in plans like we've done with all the past rearrangements. Now we were forced to do nothing but wait for a plane to escort us back to Paris where our Tour Bus waited for us at the end of the mile-long parking ramp. The flight was uneventful and once we got on the road out of Paris towards Reims everybody was feeling relaxed and settled in for a non-adventurous day.Feel Asleep Reading Comics

There really is nothing to say for the day. I am not sure why I am even writing about this day except to say we made it to Reims where terrible service awaited us at the hotel. When I'd reserved two of their largest rooms, each with one cot for the girls, we were given keys to very small and dirty carpeted rooms with fold-up baby cribs in each. After arguing with the front desk for better accommodations and different room keys we determined for ourselves that they had actually set us up with the best they had to offer. The girls pretended to be baby's for the night and we were grateful they could still fit in the overlong European baby cribs. We were also thankful we could fit all three of the cribs side by side in the larger of the rooms with enough space for our bags and a couple places to step in between to reach the bed ourselves.

True to French courtesy, their service in the hotel restaurant was atrocious. We had to ask for plates for our bread, utensils to eat with, and it seemed the waitresses avoided our table at all costs and if they couldn't fake missing our waves would come to the table barely managing to mask their sneer. The food was great, but the service ruined the entire experience for me. As soon as the children were done I left with them like a nanny to tuck them in bed while the rest of the adults enjoyed the quiet room we left behind. I completely enjoyed those free moments alone with my children while they got ready for bed. We told stories and sang songs and I found myself drifting off to sleep on the bed while their own eyelids fluttered shut in the baby cribs in the corner. The rest of our party aroused me from my dreams to plan another night with wine and cheese and talk in the other hotel room, but I had to be the party-pooper and decline. I could tell it was a disappointment to the adults who had just had a good adult time together down in the emptying restaurant, but I just couldn't do it. Sleep was calling to me.

Three French Cots in a Line

W.C. Report:

The bathroom in the hotel was so small you could barely sit on the toilet and close or open the door at the same time. At least there was a bathtub, but I dared not use it for the kids. I had heard that the French hotels are notoriously bad, but when I had reserved this one the English had said it was much better than others they had stayed in so I thought we'd find comfort and cleanliness at least. I will be better prepared the next time we hunt for a French hotel.

Tragedy Report:

We made sure we got all of the littlest members of our troop off the plane this time, so there is no tragedy to report today.

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