Paris, je t’aime. KLM, not so much

15 10 2010

Holiday memories last a lifetime. It’s a good thing our recollection of actually getting to those holiday destinations is short.

Katie and I are now on our third visit to Europe in three years. We like it here, the history, the food, the culture, the tartelettes.

Getting here, though, is a whole other story.

What better way to prepare for a long day stuck in planes than a 37 km ride on a beautiful fall day.

Each of our trips has been fraught with delays, missed flight connections, lost luggage. En route to Paris in ’07, our flight out of Vancouver was delayed by more than three hours, causing us to miss our connection at Heathrow. On the way to Italy last year, our plane to Florence broke, as did our train to Montpelier, turning routine journeys into epic, arduous tests of our patience and resolve.

Katie checks the hit counts on her blog as we await our flight at YVR.

And today, another delay. Rolling back from the gate in Vancouver, we heard a big thump and then the plane rocked. That’s as far as we got for the next 2.5 hours. Seems there was some sort of problem with the brakes.

Of course, that delay ate pretty much the entire cushion we’d left to make our connection in Amsterdam to Paris. We barely made the flight; yes, we were the people who get onto the plane just as the flight attendants are about to close the door. But alas, our bags did not.

Fortunately, we always travel somewhat prepared for that eventuality, packing along some fresh clothes and necessities in our carry-on. So all we’re really left with is the hassle of paperwork and then waiting for the bags to be delivered, pretty much confining us to our vacation apartment for a few hours. On the upside, the trains and Metro from CDG to our apartment were incredibly busy, so it was kinda nice not to have to lug around our big bags in those crowds, especially with Katie still in her post-marathon hobbling.

Well, if you've got to ice a toe still swollen from a marathon, what better place to do it than an apartment in Paris.

Our apartment this trip is in a modern building, just around the corner from the daily street market on the Rue Mouffetard, one of the oldest street markets in Paris. We stayed in the same neighbourhood three years ago and loved it; walking out in the morning to gather the pains au chocolat and fresh fruit from the shops for breakfast, while being enveloped by the sounds, style and rhythms of Parisiens heading off to work and school is an incredibly civil way to start the day.