Thursday, March 25, 2010

Midnight, Time To Wake Up

It started at 12am. Actually, 11:59pm. Don't ask me why, but setting the alarm for 00:00 freaked me out, so 23:59 it was.

The Boyfriend was nervous about the drive to Nice Airport. Marseille Airport is much closer to us, but our flight was out of Nice, two and a half hours away. Normally, not a problem, but I'm guessing he was a little worried about his first big trip. Since we needed to be at the airport at 3:45 (three hours ahead of flight time, playing by the bajiggty rules of international travel) and had to stop to get petrol first, The Boyfriend wanted to make sure we were on the road by 12:45.


We pulled into the long term car park a little after 3am. Everything was quiet and empty. It felt like we were miles away from the terminals and since shuttle buses don't run at 3am, we set off for a long walk dragging our 30kg of luggage. Don't you just love the sound of luggage wheels rolling on asphalt cutting threw the night air? It's very soothing.

This is when The Boyfriend asked which terminal. Huh, don't know. I checked the itinerary print out and it said nothing about the terminal. Since it was in French I decided to have The Boyfriend double check. Nope, nothing about the terminal. Guess time. Let's see, Air France, it's the main airline here, so it must be Terminal 1. Yes, yes, Terminal 1. Logical right?

Off we went, walking F-O-R-E-V-E-R. I'm not exaggerating when I say that it was a little over a mile to get to Terminal 1. At least all that fresh night air and the grating sound of the luggage wheels had us feeling much more lively.

When we got to the terminal, the doors were locked. What?

"It's normal", according to The Boyfriend.

Hmmm, interesting. Never come across that before.

By the time we walked around to the other set of doors they were being unlocked. I guess 3:20am is opening hour at Nice Airport.

Took a quick look at the departure board. Why isn't our flight here? Why aren't any Air France flights here? Because you guessed the wrong terminal you idiot. Cue Gallic huffing and puffing from you know who.

Back into the night air, dragging that damn luggage, up that freaking hill again (oh, did I not mention there is some strange hill at Nice airport. Why is there a big hill at an airport? I don't know but I'm thinking about writing a letter. Not sure to who but I'm writing one).

But check this out, after close to a two mile, 30kg dragging, 3am walk, we arrived at Terminal 2 at 3:45am, right on time. Am I good or what? You know who's not good? The ticket agents who don't think they need to start work at 3:45am even though the passenger's itinerary clearly states to be at the airport for check in three hours ahead of schedule for their 6:45am flight.

I guess I could have set my alarm for 1am instead. Thanks Air France.

After sitting around for an hour, and listening to lots of huffing and puffing, we finally got checked in and headed to security. We were the first ones there. And the doors were locked. The security checkpoint was being setup for the day. Isn't that weird? At least I got to dazzle them with my security checkpoint skills. It seemed like such a waste. There isn't much motivation to hurry when you're the only people there. But I'm sure I set the gold standard for the day.

Such a tough act to follow.


P.S. Next up... Amsterdam and beyond...


  1. "bajiggity?" HAH! And I am totally enjoying imagining the sound of Gallic huffing and puffing.

  2. As I read your post I'm afraid most of my sympathy was for your man. This is the sort of thing that tries men's souls.You want to kick something, but good manners prevents! Don't worry I saved a little empathy for you.

  3. Bonjour Sarah,
    Welcome home! If the rest of your big trip follows the same pattern this should be one great story. Traveling today can be, uh trying to say the least.
    Anxious for chapter two of Galic huffing and puffing! I love that phrase!
    Bonne soirée,

  4. Another ex-pat in Provence! Huzzah! What's even stranger is that looking at your blog, I think we're from the same part of the States.

    My husband totally huffs and puffs when things don't go perfectly. I can definitely relate.

  5. We had to overnight it at Fiumicino (hubs, me, 10 and 11 yr old children) because the flight was at 6 am. rome is a 3 hour drive away, so we had to be there at 3 am too. I did not sleep. Nothing but uncomfortable chairs to (try)to sleep on. Cold as a witch's tit. By the time we arrived at our destination in the US, I had been awake for 26 hours straight. I can totally relate!

  6. A hill?? The airport had a hill?? There are so many things wrong with that! Considering all you guys had to overcome at such an ungodly time I salut you! Way to take it with a sense of humour!

  7. I've ended up seeing most of the major airports in the American Southwest over the last six months... and my least favorite is Denver. I had to run, I kid you not, almost a mile to get to my connecting flight. I had only ten minutes because my first flight was delayed.

    Needless to say, I am quite happy Boyfriend and I live together now. No more of the long distance BS.

    Can't wait to see the Amsterdam shenanigans!

  8. Bummer - I can related to your experience... I used to book the earliest morning flights and also arrived waaay too early at the airport, only to sit there for an hour as they slowly opened shop at say 4:00 or 5:00 am. Thanks a lot guys! Now, not so much. I try to take a 10 or 11 am flight to avoid this middle of the night nonsense!!

  9. Remind me to not use the Nice airport...or at least do a middle of the night arrival! I can see this trip will have some good stories for us to read and enjoy....
    I too remember arriving by train in the middle of the night in Nice. Nothing was open and we slept (haha! tried to) in the train station till were told to leave. Where? So we walked...till dawn came and found a place to stay...

  10. Sara Louise, what a fabulous post, I love your description of luggage wheels on asphalt, I could hear the distinctive sound as I read your post, as for galic huffing and puffing, MG is a master of it, but sometimes he errupts like a volcano, he did this once at Miami airport, (he was furious, that nothing was open, in one of the worlds major airports). I was so embarrassed, I ended up hiding behind a vending machine, pretending I wasn't with him.

  11. I do love that sound :) I know we should be feeling sympathy but the way you write about it is hysterical. And yes please write a letter about the distance and the hill...even for airports in the US!
    Thanks for voting on my site :) Have a great weekend.

  12. Ha! The story we've been waiting for. Along with everyone else I'm waiting for the next installment. i am such a dreadful traveler, it could have been worse, I could have been with you two. Then we all would have to take xanax.


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