Tuesday, July 18, 2017

An Easy Day

Pages From Jan's Travel Journal: Monday, June 5 2017

I slept well and woke at 7 AM. Janey was still slumbering. I knew she had been unable to sleep on the plane, so I left her snuggled beneath the blankets and went into the other room to make coffee. I opened the windows to a beautiful, sunny morning and sipped my coffee as I gazed out at the courtyard. There were a surprising number of birds around, thanks to the many secluded courtyards, parks, and other green spaces. They were singing cheerfully and I enjoyed their sweet twitters and chirps as I relaxed. Azur was soon sitting on the window ledge, alert to all the activity outside.

Azur greets the morning.
Desmond soon awoke, and before long we were headed over to the bakery on the square. Within minutes, we were munching on tasty lemon tarts. We lounged around, discussing Craig's ordeal and his urgent quest for an expedited passport renewal. It was a helpless feeling, knowing there was nothing we could do to speed up the process. We missed him terribly.

I finally woke Janey at 10:00. We had decided on an easy day and at 11:30 we took the tram to Parc Floral. Janey had seen many photos of the beautiful botanical garden and she was happy to view it first-hand. We wandered aimlessly, serenaded by birdsong while admiring the lovely floral displays. We also stopped in to see the butterfly house and then continued our stroll through the gardens. After a while, Janey began to have an allergic reaction to something there. Her eyes were beginning to itch and swell, so we cut our visit short.

A pretty resident of the butterfly house.
We stopped at Auchan to purchase food for the evening meal.My granddaughter enjoyed wandering around the huge grocery store and she picked out some snack cakes and cereal for herself. That evening, Desmond made an incredible meal of orange duck, pureed sweet potatoes, and sauteed cherry tomatoes. The tasty orange sauce was a perfect topping for the creamy sweet potatoes. Our day ended with a nostalgic movie. 

A wonderful meal!

TRAVEL TIP: Always be aware of the expiration date on your passport. Go check it. Now. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Some Rules Never Bend

Pages From Jan's Travel Journal: Saturday/Sunday, June 3 & 4 2017

Imagine the excitement of the three of us - me, Craig, and our granddaughter Janey as we arrived at our local airport for our big adventure. We were all looking forward to 3 1/2 weeks in France with Desmond! And now imagine the shock of being told that you will not be allowed to board the plane because your passport is due to expire THREE MONTHS FROM NOW! Craig was turned away as Janey and I stood there in horror, all of our plans crashing down around us. We were so stunned that we were unable to react. We said goodbye to Craig, who promised to follow us as soon as he was able, and as we were going through security the reality hit me like a ton of bricks. I was practically sobbing as I made my way through the line. Janey tried to comfort me as best she could. I squared my shoulders and decided that this unfortunate plot twist would not ruin our vacation.

Janey turned out to be an excellent traveler. She was adept at reading airport signs and following directions and she helped tremendously. Our flights were back to back with no layover: Wichita to Houston, Houston to Chicago, Chicago to Paris. We were delayed at the gate in Chicago and had just five minutes to make it across the terminal for our connecting flight. That plane was completely full, and we were seated in the middle at the back. There was a lot of turbulence, but Janey took it all in stride and remained completely unruffled.

We were very happy to meet up in Paris with Desmond after we made it through the long line at border control and retrieved our luggage. Des had thoughtfully brought along coffee, pastries, and sandwiches for our bus ride, as there were no trains running between Paris and Orleans that day, due to maintenance. 

At last, we reached Desmond's apartment and were able to put our luggage away and have a bite of lunch. We greeted Azur, gave him some treats from America, and then walked to the old part of town to show Janey around a little. She was in awe of the beautiful architecture and happy to see for herself the lovely town where Des lives. It felt good to get out and walk for a while after the long travel day we had endured.

Welcome to Orleans!

Janey on the bridge. 
We decided to have a barbecue since it was such a lovely evening.  Janey helped with setting the table and even tried to clear a path in the overgrown courtyard. Just as the sausages, turkey, and potato puffs were almost done, Chris and his parents arrived to say hello. We insisted that they join us for dinner. Des quickly prepared more food. We had a fun meal together outside in the cool evening air. I was happy to meet Chris' parents, Marilyn and Rodney. They had to leave just before dark because they were biking. Des, Janey, and I cleared the table and carried stuff upstairs. Later, we ate incredible desserts. They were decadent little cheesecakes with a chocolate crust and topped with ganache. By then, we were exhausted, so we unpacked and went to bed.