Saturday, July 2, 2016
3:30 in the morning and the alarm went off but I didn’t even need it. There is something remarkably annoying about having to wake up before dawn and get ready for your departure home from a wonderful trip.
You are so tired and running on adrenaline to get to the airport that you can’t focus on the great time you are leaving behind.
All my clothing is crammed into the Longchamp bag. All the other stuff like towels and whatever isn’t clothing is in that big, fugly peachy/pink suitcase. I’m delighted at how filthy that suitcase got while being handled by American Airlines. Nobody will ever steal anything from it. EVER!
This is so disgusting-but after a bath and not washing my makeup from last night off, I’m ready to get dressed for the flights home. My hair is piled atop my head like a bird’s nest and I’m going to wear shorts, a tee shirt and my old Rondini sandals.
Bonaparte and I are quiet because we are saddened and in no particular hurry to leave, but we need to be on time for the flight.
I take one last look around the apartment that has become our second home. It is silent. The cicadas aren’t chanting. The frogs in their baritone voices aren’t harmonizing. Even the sea is silent. Could they be just as sad that we are leaving them?
Bonaparte closes the doors to the terrace ending our 2016 visit.
We walk to the car in the darkness of the early morning. A rush of emptiness fills my body because I am reminded of the last time we left France early and in darkness—the weekend of Danièle’s funeral.
This is how dark it was when we last left Paris in October. It was just as dark when we left Theoule.
The stress of departure is prevalent as we arrive to return the car to Hertz. A locked gate is stopping us from returning the automobile. I get out of the car to see a sign that reads nobody will be at the rental return before 6:00 in the morning.
It is 4:45 AM. But all is not lost as I also see instructions to drive the car closer to the gate to activate the sensor that will open the mass of iron in order to allow us to return this vehicle.
Others who arrived before us and who didn’t see this sign are pulled over to the side. I’m sure they are now thrilled.
We unload the car, still in silence, drop the keys in a box and head off to the terminal.
This is why you get to the airport in plenty of time. We met with a mad crowd of students who were on their way to Spain. Hundreds of them.
By the time we checked in and passed through security it was about 6:30 AM. We were able to enjoy a bit of breakfast at the terminal and rest up for about 40 minutes before boarding our flight to Paris.
Daylight! And we are awaiting our departure.
Off we go to head to Paris for a small layover before heading home.
Arriving in Paris was another story. CDG airport was a shit show. I’m not kidding, I cannot understand how an airport as heavily trafficked as this one was such a train wreck. The place is so friggin’ disorganized that my blood pressure is rising as I’m typing this.
The good news is that our flight from Nice departed on time and landed in Paris a bit early.
The frustrating news is that we had to wait on a line to check in for over an hour. Then it took another hour to get through customs and another 30 minutes to get through security.
Crazy time at the airport. The crowds were completely stopped by security here. Ten minutes later we were on our way..
Hollande better start making sure that this airport not only hires more staff, but better make sure it happens soon. Now that the UK is no longer part of the EU, the Brits are going to take up unwanted space at customs. And the lines will be longer! I don’t like that!
…and more lines. Ugh. It took forever. You wanna know what made the time fly by? Take a look at the woman on the far left. What a head of hair. I was fascinated by her braid and the color of her hair. She had the GOOD gray!
A bit later and a bit calmer, we were at the terminal in time for some duty-free shopping. All I wanted to get was a refill of my winter scent: Guerlain’s La Petite Robe Noire. I did. And I also picked up a couple of food magazines. It’s fun to translate the recipes and incorporate them into our meals.
Sorry. I snapped this pic at home. I was too stressed to take any more photos at the airport. But I picked up La Petit Robe Noire for a great price. It’s funny but the first time I ever smelled that scent was at the airport–Orly on the way to Nice!
Simple pleasures for a simple woman. I LOVE buying these French food magazines and then translating them. Believe me, this is a great way to learn how to cook authentic French meals–right down to the measurements!
At the gate, which was more like a cattle ranch, we were advised of a gate change. Once again, the disorganization was epic as the staff of American Airlines attempted to have us board the flight.
Although I took this photo years ago in Burgundy, American Airlines treated us just like cows on a ranch. Actually, these pretty girls were treated better…
Don’t even get me started on American Airlines. Once again, we had to take a bus to the plane because the plane was NOT at the gate. I swear I need to write a letter to American Airlines because I want a refund of at least ten percent of our airfare for charging ridiculously expensive prices for air travel and then making us take a bus to the plane.
On our way back to Philly…
Can we turn around please???
And so as I become ensconced in my little area of the plane, I start to think about our trip and what I will miss. It’s the small and mundane I’ll miss the most.
I’ll miss that feeling of euphoria as we leave Nice airport and head to the apartment!
I will miss our breakfasts on the terrace and I miss drinking coffee from a bowl.
I had to reach into my shutterfly account for this pic. But I do miss these breakfasts at the start of the day.
I’ll miss watching daylight turn into twilight as we begin our meal and I’ll miss twilight that has turned into darkness with a bit of moon glow as we end those lazy and long meals.
I miss our gluttonous meals that start with Kir Royals and Breton chips and pate’s……
That’s right. Our dinners go from daylight to this.
I will miss that comforting feeling of sleeping with the doors to the terrace wide open and being put to sleep by the symphony of frogs, cicadas, and the sounds of the rhythm of the sea’s little waves against the rocks.
I’ll miss these sounds combined with..
…the sound of the Mediterranean sea at night. Puts me right to sleep!
I’ll miss going to the pool in the morning and being greeted by Nathalie and Laurent, the couple who run the little shop L’epicerie, at pool’s entrance. Bonaparte stops there early each day for his croissant. We also get the local gossip which makes me feel as though I’m a part of the community!
Laurent and Nathalie are ALWAYS this happy and pleasant. I will miss them. A lot!
And here’s their little shop by…
I’ll miss our daily trips to Geant hypermarche. Oh yes I will. The simple act of picking out groceries in this wonderland of delightful packaging and epicurean surprises never ceases to amaze me. The cheeses alone bring me into a state of euphoria.
Oh, those cheeses. And look at this homage to the cicadas. I’m SO angry at myself for NOT buying one of those ceramic cicadas. Those cicadas are better than any designer bag! You push a button and the cicada makes sounds! I can’t even…
Friday at Geant. Hey. I’ll even miss those weird carts that are nearly impossible to steer!
I’ll miss the thrill that I get when we drive into Cannes, park the car in the lot at Marche Forville and finish our errands within the hour of gratuity. I love that!
Look! 0,00 Euros!! I LOVE THIS! A free hour of parking. Makes me want to leave then come directly back and do it again! And again! And again!!!!!!
I’ll miss the view of the bay that we see every time we drive from Theoule down along the coast.
Boats in the bay..
..and closer views as we drive downhill toward the coastline.
I’ll miss the feeling of the cool water of the Mediterranean against my toes as I enter the water and I’ll miss being able to swim out what seems like forever and still not get my hair wet.
There is nothing like salt water and sand touching your feet and toes…
..another great view of the clear water.
One of my favorite boats that has been docked in Antibes for a couple of years. Who doesn’t love a boat christened with the name “Rehab”? I didn’t see it this year. I’m guessing it checked into….
I’ll miss our trips into St. Tropez to have fun with Dany.
See how much fun I have with Dany!!
I’ll miss the way the salty, briny water hits my cheeks and nose while taking the Bateaux Verts from Ste. Maxime to St. Trop and back again.
On the Bateaux Verts
I’ll miss my daily dose of Nostalgie Radio—93.5 on the dial, and listening to my favorite French pop stars serenading to me as we drive throughout the Riviera.
93.5 on the dial and..
The familiar jingle. It never changes!
I’ll miss waking up to the greatest view.
Yup. Every day this is what greets us!
I’ll miss the smell of Rondini Atelier—the scent of leather is so strong and reminds me of an old-school shoe maker.
I can still smell the leather!
Perhaps next summer, I’ll purchase a tote instead of sandals!
I’ll miss the sights and sounds of the Marche Forville and all the activity and the organic beauty of the offerings.
My favorite marche..
…and the friendly Frenchmen selling olives and tapenade!
I’ll miss the way that our daily routine is ever-changing while remaining the same. Mornings at the pool and then lazily heading off to see whatever sights we feel like going to.
..one day and abbaye…
..the next day, a village. It’s all whatever you feel like doing!
I’ll miss the friendly locals. I’ll miss the wonderful service we receive when we are at restaurants or boutiques.
Damn. I’ll just about miss everything!
I even miss beaches that are not L’estagnol! I also love the beaches in Cannes!
That is, I’ll miss just about everything until next year!
PS. Right now, as I write this, I miss the fact Bonaparte is at work because I don’t know if the French title of my is correct!
What do YOU miss when we leave your vacations? I want to know!
Here’s a song that I hear on Nostalgie that always puts me in a great mood! Phillippe LaFontaine’s “Coeur de Loup”. I have this song on a CD. I start car dancing in my seat when I hear it!