Peek-a-boo 2

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In the wee hours of Wednesday, May 22nd (2:00 AM to be exact) AGMA crawled into her own bed.  The day started out 26 hours earlier in Paris.

Yikes.

But hey, I slept 3 hours on the plane to Chicago so I hadn’t entered the realm of total zombie yet.

When I booked our tickets ($392 R/T each courtesy of Scotts Cheap Flights) in February, a 9 hour layover in Chicago sounded like a good idea.  We would go visit the grands for a few hours!

We did have a lovely visit, but when we touched down in Atlanta at 12:30 AM on the 22nd, AGMA was questioning her decision making competency.

But what the heck, it’s only sleep right?  Plenty of time to catch up after the Grim Reaper comes to call…

France was awesome!

So AGMA’s peek-a-booing above from the Chateau Fontainebleau which is about 55 km south east of central Paris.  Often called the forgotten palace because it’s sort of off of the regular tourist track, it’s the only royal residence that has housed French rulers for 8 centuries.

Impressive.

And it was.

Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Napoleon I (short dude with the big hat and an ego to match) called it home for 6 years (1808 – 1814) until he had to abdicate.

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No shortage of self-esteem here.  When I look at this picture of the “Emperor” Napoleon, I keep thinking Don the Con must be sooooo jealous….

Lessons learned or that should have been learned (not necessarily by AGMA or Hubs) on our 15 day trip to France:

  1. If you travel with other people, make sure they are relatively easy going.  K & D, our friends from Missouri, joined us on our grand tour of France.  Unfortunately, they checked their luggage at their home airport on May 5th and then didn’t see it again until it was time to leave France on May 21st.  Despite having no luggage for the ENTIRE TRIP, they had a lovely time.
  2. Never – I repeat – NEVER put your CPAP machine (or any necessary medical device or medicine) in your checked luggage.  Always put it in a carry on and carry it onto the plane.  Your checked luggage may decide to go on it’s own tour of the country you’re visiting and you may not see it again until you’re ready to leave.
  3. Because your luggage may have its own travel plans, always, always, always pack a change of clothes/underwear, basic toiletries and another pair of shoes in your backpack if you check your bag.  Hubs and I already do this due to a missing suitcase in Barcelona several years back, but this trip really drove that point home.
  4. When trying to track down your missing luggage, be proactive.  Very proactive.  Trusting that the airline and the delivery company are going to do what they say they will do is a sweet notion, but not really an effective way to get your luggage back.  Call the airlines several times a day to follow-up on the delivery plan.
  5. Always rent the smallest possible car that will fit all of your “stuff”.  Because there were 4 of us plus our luggage, two overstuffed backpacks, a duffle bag, 2 regular backpacks and an electric scooter, we rented a large car which made for some interesting, let’s just call them, “situations” on the narrow streets/roads in France.  Like trying to put Dolly Parton in a 32A bra.
  6. Unless you pay a fee to them, if you travel with other people who have done all the trip planning, arrangements, research before hand out of the goodness of their hearts, this does not mean they are your tour guide or that they are responsible for your good time. Take responsibility for doing your own research about the areas you are going to visit before hand.  Please. Please. Please.
  7. If you are unwilling to use technology (ie, your cell phone, tablet or laptop) or travel books to research restaurants in the area that you might want to go to, don’t complain about the restaurants that others choose.  And for the love of God, please understand that you will not get the same food you get at home. And when you order a coffee in France, you won’t get the same thing as when you order a coffee in the US.  Thankfully.
  8. AirB&B’s are NOT hotels.  Nobody makes your bed during the day.  If you want it made, you need to do it yourself.  And sometimes the pillows are a bit flat.  And you have to wash the dishes you use and put them away.  Kinda like you do at home.
  9. Not everybody in France understands or speaks English.  Duh…
  10. You never really know anybody, I mean really know them, until you travel with them.  Seriously.

You might guess that there are some stories associated with some of the points above.  Well, of course there are…

But AGMA is not a tell-all kinda girl.  Although I sort of did tell all, didn’t I?

For me, the sights were magnificent, the food incredible, the wine superb and the coffee just plain yummy.  Our AirB&B’s were great as were our two chambers d’hôte (traditional B&B’s) and our three hotels.

We dined in a cave in the Loire Valley, saw Van Gogh projected on the walls of a quarry in Provence, visited a village destroyed by the Nazi’s in WWII that has been left untouched for over 70 years near Limoges, toured a B&B host’s vineyard in the Languedoc, ate foil gras in the Dordogne, scampered around a glacier in the Alps, sampled champagne in the winemakers home.

Pictures soon.

 

 

 

 

11 thoughts on “Peek-a-boo 2

  1. What? France has a Fontainebleau hotel too? Geez, leave it to them ‘ferigners to steal our ideas. Seriously, the chateau sounds amazing; I could probably have stayed there a week and soaked up all that history in the place.

    Those are definitely good travel rules for everyone. It’s a pity you don’t kiss and tell. I for one would love to know more about the dirty dishes in the sink. But that’s just me.

    Looking forward to the pics you’ll post! – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had to keep reminding myself that these folks have only traveled out of the country on tours which of course take care of all that nasty stuff like bed making and tour directing, and restaurants take care of dish washing. But I had to sweep up a lot of crumbs off of the floor at our AirB&B’s which sort of surprised me. Honestly, who leaves big crumbs on the floor?? 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve done the long layover thing and it is the best way to guarantee brain death. Anyone who is planning to write a zombie novel or screenplay should be allowed in the airport to study the long-layover folks for true zombie behavior.

    As for the tips, I would add, “If someone in your group speaks a little of the local language, DO NOT force them or expect to translate every single thing for you, and don’t get angry if they forget how to ask for postage stamps…especially if said person is still jet lagged!! However, if the language addict does save your butt from missing a train when the platform-change announcement is only made in Dutch two minutes before the train is about to depart, you should reward them with thanks, not with ‘meh, we’d have figured it out eventually.’ ” No, no, I’m not bearing any grudges or anything.

    Liked by 3 people

    • OMG…we stopped at a McDonalds to use the facilities early on in the trip and they both ordered a Ristretto. I truly wish you could have seen their faces when these tiny cups came out with just a tiny bit of very strong coffee in them! It was classic (and we all eventually laughed about it.) But honestly, they had a really hard time getting away from wanting American drip coffee. They drank the Americanos, but the husband still grumbled a bit about it. So funny… But I will have to say that by the end of the trip, they were doing okay with expressos so I guess hope springs eternal!

      Liked by 1 person

      • It always amazes me that in the USA, a land seemingly in love with coffee, you just can never get a decent cup of the stuff!
        My Chicagoan cousins don’t understand that anywhere else in the world coffee tastes like coffee, not brown water. When visiting them I resort to importing my own teabags and making my own tea, if we go out I stick to bottled mineral water, sad but true.
        When touring Europe however, I’m never stuck for a good cup of coffee; double espresso by choice, cortado at breakfast and café-Corretto in the evening – all bases covered that way!

        Liked by 1 person

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