Friday, June 14, 2013

The Road Is Long

Luberon, Provence sunrise

You know how I was in England this past week (Devon and Essex to be precise), and Paris before that, and Dublin before that? Well before I tell you about our latest trip, and the weekend in Paris, and finish up my Dublin Days tale, I'm going to tell you about my journey home because we finally arrived back in The LPV about 54 hours late last night(that's totally a guesstimate). It was a calamity and I need to vent. Thank you for listening. 
.....

"What day do you want to come back?"

That was Mr. London asking about our trip to Devon (To answer the question that I'm sure you are all thinking... we were going to Devon because Mr. London was taking part in a charity rugby event and he wanted The Husband to participate. Plus that's where Mr. London's family lives and I'm pretty sure that he wanted to take his new boyfriend home to meet them.)

"How about Tuesday morning so we can spend a day in London before flying home." 

And that was me making a mistake. 

If only I had said Monday. We would have been fine if I had said Monday. Easy peasy pudding pie if I had said Monday. We would have flown home to France before the strike got out of hand. But no, I thought we should have an extra day in London after our long weekend in Devon. And we did, and then at the end of that day, we got a message saying that our 7:30 Tuesday morning flight was cancelled, and since the next available flight wasn't until Wednesday evening, we got an extra, extra day. 

We arrived at Gatwick late Wednesday afternoon and at 7PM when we walked up to our gate in time for boarding, we were told that our flight had been cancelled. But get this... this flight wasn't cancelled due to the strike in France, no no no, that would be too normal for me and my crowd... our flight was cancelled because they didn't have enough cabin crew for the plane. AND THEY ONLY REALIZED THAT TWENTY MINUTES BEFORE TAKE OFF??!! 

After waiting in a line for over two hours, we found out that 1. there wasn't another available flight to Nice until the following Tuesday, 2. we could however fly to Lyon in the morning, 3. but the flight to Lyon was leaving from Heathrow not Gatwick, 4. all of the hotels at Heathrow they could put us up in were already fully booked, 5. we could stay at a hotel at Gatwick but the only one with rooms left was a fifteen minute taxi ride away and the coach to Heathrow that we would have to take was leaving from Gatwick at 3:50AM, 6. a coach would drive us from Lyon airport to Nice airport.

Taking all of those fun facts on board we decided to 1. take the flight to Lyon, 2. forgo the roach motel and butt crack of dawn departure and instead take a taxi to my friend Sarah's house (you may remember Sarah from this post, or this one, or maybe this one), 3. skip the Lyon to Nice coach which you know would take F O R E V E R and be 100% pure T O R T U RE  and rent a car instead.

Essex --> LGW --> Camden --> LHR --> Lyon --> Nice --> Toulon --> The LPV

Our taxi to Heathrow picked us up at 6AM and miraculously, our 8:30AM flight to Lyon actually took off. By a little after noon we were back in France, in a rental car driving four hours southeast to Nice airport. And after picking up Mr. London's car in the parking lot, driving to Toulon to pick up our car, and rescuing Fifty from camp, we drove into Le Petit Village at 9PM. Bedtime.

So here's the funny thing about all of this... tomorrow morning, The Husband and I are driving back up to Lyon to spend the weekend with our London emergency crash pad hosts, Sarah and her husband, for a mini-break that was planned weeks ago. How's that for a nutty coincidence.

Please bear with me as I go radio silent for awhile. This is not a test.

A bientôt mes amies,
vous me manquez.

Bisou!

22 comments:

  1. Unreal. And headed back to Lyon. It's lauhable and a completely non-funny sense.

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  2. Oh Sara, there is nothing easy peasy about your life and that's what makes your life in the LPV so interesting. Have fun in Lyon! Don't frighten the natives.

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  3. Goodness, you must be knackered! I hope you have a nice weekend in Lyon though.

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  4. Oh God, what a chaos! I guess you will never forget this trip! Have a great time in Lyon. Again!

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  5. So sorry. You haven't been in France long enough to expect travel strikes every summer.

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  6. Good gracious - that sounds like a nightmare! These strikes are crazy, we had a friend here from Australia whose flight got messed up going back home - not fun. Le sigh, c'est la vie en France!

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  7. Fits perfectly with my motto: A journey that goes exactly according to plan makes for a dull story. :)

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  8. Oh my gosh, it's times like those when I swear I'll never fly again.... and then get on another flight! Good that you're driving to Lyon, who knows what would have happened!

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  9. Reading that made me tired. Geez!!

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  10. I thought it was only in the U.S. where flying is no longer fun. Sorry that I was wrong.

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  11. I always love your blog because I always feel as if we're on a journey with you :)

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  12. I Sure hope you guys got some form of compensation for all the crap you had to put up with!!!

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  13. I'm not sure who wins, you or the LSH....
    Suffice to say, these French transport workers sure know how to mess people up

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  14. Grrrrr arghh! (on your behalf!) We no longer fly unless there's really no alternative - airports are the modern seventh circle of hell, and you never know whether there'll be a horrendous delay.

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  15. I was a flight attendant for some years, and I just wanted to answer your question about how they could not know they didn't have enough flight crew until 20 minutes before the flight took off. Not that it's going to make you feel any better, but it will make more sense, I hope.

    Flight crews are regulated by law as to how many hours they can work in a day. Due to delays, cancellations, and etc. of previous flights during an allotted work day, a crew may get word from the company that they have "maxed out" their allowed flying time. Often this information comes via radio as the flight crew is landing an aircraft.

    In other words, here we are working a flight and we think we're going to get another load of people and head off again, but the pilot gets a radio message that we're grounded. If they can't scramble another flight crew immediately, that next flight is cancelled.

    Also, the same flight crew does not always work the same aircraft all day. The crew that came in on the plane you were going to take may have been scheduled to switch aircraft, and the crew that was supposed to work your flight may have had a delay in their previous city, making them unable to be there in time to make your flight.

    Because flying is so dependent on the weather, mechanical issues, and things like regulated work time (and strikes), it's actually amazing that anyone gets anywhere when they expect to.

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  16. Ugh! What a nightmare! You need a vacation from your vacation and then another vacation!

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  17. You have been one busy lady! I don't blame you for going radio silent for a few!!! xo

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  18. Good heavens, that's quite a trip! At least you were stuck in a beautiful city!

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  19. oh my goodness, sara, after reading all these previous posts - it does sound like all that hassle was well worth it - your dubiln and england trips sound fantastic!! hearty congrats to mr. london on his big win and imagining the celebrations will continue for weeks to come......:))

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  20. Thanks for stopping by my blog, and it's quite funny, we've been to the same destinations recently! Just before Ireland I was also in Devon... :) Would love to make it to Paris too but that must wait. And I can't believe your bad luck with your return, it's quite crazy that they don't have enough staff.. Hope you had a nice weekend in Lyon though!

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  21. Holy merde. What a nightmare. Long gone are my thoughts of thinking we have it so easy bopping around from one European city to another...long gone. We may have short and cheap flights but we also have strikes! Good Lord.

    I'm SO SORRY you had to deal with this. I hope you are rested up by now.

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