Finally, after 14 years of dreaming to return to France, I made it happen. This is the first post after I arrived - October 2004. ------------->>>>>>>>>>
The night before leaving, my friend Alicia came over and aligned my
chakras. I felt soooo relaxed after that I did nothing. It was
wonderful. But the next day I had last minute errands to run and also
decided to take a smaller suitcase which meant packing and repacking to
fit it all in. When 2am rolled around I knew I couldn't go to sleep
because I'd never hear the alarm go off for my 5:30am drive to the
airport. You know I am NOT a morning person.
It was also obvious by now that my plans were far too
grandiose to be able to do everything I'd hoped to do. I wrote lists of
things I wanted to do in Angers, at the chateau and in Paris. The
Paris list was so big that when I tried to condense it, I gave up and
decided to rethink my plan while I was on the plane. But since I didn't
sleep the night before, during my flight from LA to Detroit, I slept --
The flight from Detroit to Paris was longer and I
could get more done. I remember the last time I flew to Paris it seems
forever and they kept coming by feeding us meals, hot baked cookies and
bringing us warm, wet wash clothes. Post 9/11, that just wasn't
happening. I did sit next to a woman who had signed up for the Rick
Steve's tour I was on the waiting list for until I decided to go it
alone. She was going for the same reason I was, to celebrate her 50th
birthday. I pretty much slept most of the trip and all those revised
plans would have to wait.
Once we landed, all but about 12 of us got their
luggage. We wondered what was going on.
Then this guy came over and
ceremoniously removed a piece of luggage that was directly in front of
me.* Finally, 45 minutes later our luggage came out and I had to rush to
board the shuttle to Terminal 2 and catch the train to Angers in 45
Finally, in Terminal 2, I cannot find any signs directing me
to the train station so it was time to use my French. Luckily the
phrase "where is the train station" was one of the first things I
learned to say. And I said it a lot. A stewardess was helpful and
explain it was at the other end of the terminal. After thanking her I
turned to see 2 military guys in fatigues and holding rifles with their
hands on the trigger looking straight at me. I mustered a smile and
rushed toward the other end of the terminal. 2A, 2B, 2C was endless and
I had 15 minutes to get to the train. 2D finally showed up, 2E and
finally 2F. I looked everywhere but couldn't find the train station. I
figured I was going to miss the train and gave up. Saw some escalators
to the side and checked. Sure enough there were train tracks down
there. The train was coming in 3 minutes and an older couple was
blocking the escalator as they loaded 5 pieces of luggage separately
onto the escalator. The track I needed to take was at the bottom of the
escalator. Within a minute it had arrived.
The 1 1/2 hours went by fast and there I was in
Angers. Once out of the train station, I could see my hotel directly
across the street.
The people in the hotel were gracious and it was
nice to settle in to the room. But I knew if I stayed there I would be
asleep within 5 minutes so I washed up and walk around to see what I
could see until it was time for dinner. The weather was warm and sunny
with a slight breeze -- perfect. My hotel was next to a boulangerie
bustling with shoppers. You could smell the bread and the pastries were
beautiful. Being hypoglycemic, I knew not to try them on an empty
stomach. I had to wait until 7pm to eat and it was only 5pm so I toured
the streets of Angers, window shopping and oh so happy to be there.
Returned to the hotel for dinner at their bistro -- my
first real French meal in a very long time. I ordered a prix-fixe meal
that includes usually 3 courses at one simple price which makes it easy
to figure what you owe and hard to be overcharged -- something that is
warned about in every tour book. Started with a salad, which was a meal
in itself -- lettuce greens (not a piece of iceberg in site), lots of
tomatoes, diced ham and warm goat cheese; perfection. The main course
was a beef brochette with carrots, green beans, scalloped potatoes and
roasted tomato with garlic and basil. Superb. Dessert was a vanilla
creme brulee which is my all time favorite dessert and this time it was
the real thing. All of this for 18 euro. Not bad at all -- oh yeah,
and don't forget the bread.
Forced myself to stay awake until it was a normal bedtime by watching ER in French. Not bad for the first day.
>>>>>>>post script from this entry >>>>>>
*It turned out that there was a bomb threat and they thought it was in the luggage from our flight. This is what delayed our luggage being released.
**After dinner I returned to my room that offered a great view of the fountain below and the train station across the street.
I spent some time watching the nightlife from my window. I owe the great room to my travel agent Yolande from Enchanted France. Her expert preparations made this trip my dream come true. She not only coordinated everything I wanted to do but added her own special touches that really made it much more enjoyable.