Horse Husband: “What should we do? We’ve spent all our Euros? All we have are American dollars and our credit cards?”
Female Sci-Fi Voice with a French accent: “Well, I guess you’ll just have to stay with us.”
I couldn’t tell if she was serious or joking, but I did not find the voice very funny at 4 a.m. We were at a toll booth somewhere outside of Paris. Mark and I had been driving our rental car through Switzerland and France since about 5 p.m. We were set to depart Charles De Gaulle at 12:30 p.m the next day (which was actually the same day because the driving took so long).
The voice emanating from a speaker (no actual person anywhere in sight) commanded Mark to put the car in reverse, back out from the toll lane, go to a special booth, and pick up an IOU. This was after she asked to see the rental car agreement which we couldn’t find. (How do you find one piece of paper with all your crap strewn about the car you’ve been driving for ten days?).
I think she enjoyed watching us squirm from the comfort of her space age laboratory while we feverishly tried to come up with the paper .
The app Waze (and Google Maps) led us to believe it would be 7.5ish hours to drive from Zermatt to Paris. We’re not sure what happened to chew up our time. Except for that stop in Lausanne driving around looking for Frigor chocolate for about an hour.And the times when Mark pulled over to take a picture or two of the beautiful scenery en route.
The voice without a body attached to it was yet another hurdle to sleep. We thought for sure we’d be tucked in by midnight or 1 a.m. Safe at “home” in our airport adjacent Novotel hotel room.
Mark blames T-Mobile for our slow drive because we had intermittent service the whole trip. I chalk up the unaccounted for extra hours to the fact that EVERYTHING in life takes longer than you think it will. Horse training, making a recipe (that says 20 minutes–yeah, right), writing a blog post, grocery shopping. Driving from one country to another.
Nothing good is really that snappy. Except for buying a Kindle book.
The dumb GPS routed us all around, and after some overrides of roundabouts, we made it to our correct hotel for a 3.5 hour nap before our flight.The next morning we didn’t realize the United terminal was far from our rental return, so we were cutting it close on time. We also erred following “embarkment” signs that got us to the wrong floor without having checked our luggage.
We showed the nice lady in uniform our passports and boarding pass, but for some weird reason, Mark was the only one with a gigantic suitcase. So before we walked all the way to the gate, we retraced our steps and asked the nice lady where we were supposed to take our bag to check.
By the time we got out of lines, found an elevator, and made it to United’s bag check, we had just missed the luggage cutoff, and therefore our flight. I was defeated and hot tears formed in the corners of my eyes. My nose started to run. It’s not that being stuck in France would be such a bad thing, but I was sleep-deprived and had been missing our dogs. I just wanted to be home and it seemed that the closer we got, the further away home drifted.
Luckily, our replacement flight routed through Newark got us the exit row (Mark said God was blessing us in spite of our mistakes), with an abundance of leg room to sprawl and for Mark to sleep. I’m not good at sleeping on planes. The slightest jostle of the plane is unsettling to me. I hate turbulence.
We had plenty of time for our connecting flight to LAX. Which was a good thing since United changed gates three times in the span of an hour. It wasn’t as though they moved us from Gate 22 to Gate 23. Each gate change was at the opposite end of the terminal. It became ridiculous.
Next time in Europe I think we should take a cruise or the train. Or go with a tour group.
P.S. When we got home and Mark tried to pay the toll, the page would not allow itself to be translated into English. Of course. (So solicited help from a Facebook friend who knows French).
Your Turn to Disclose: What’s been your most trying travel ordeal on a big trip?
Thanks for reading!
Remember, if you haven’t subscribed to Saddle Seeks Horse blog posts yet, go for it.