Monday, August 13, 2007

Dear ABBA: We'll Have to Catch Up Next Summer...

I've learned something over the past couple of days. It's always good to have a "Plan B," but it's even better to have a "Plan C" and "Plan D" ready...just in case. The following is the story of Jennie and my Scandinavian adventure, French style!

First, let me take you back a few days to Saturday morning. After an early 4am wake-up call, we left the John Knox Center and headed to the Geneva Airport. As you no doubt already know, Jennie and I were planning on leaving Geneva and bound for Stockholm, Sweden--via Paris. We would then head west to Oslo, Norway before coming back home this Thursday.

Well, when it rains, it pours, and the sprinkles started early Saturday. We got to the Geneva airport easy enough, but once we cleared customs and got to the gate, we saw that our flight was delayed about one half-hour. Now, we could have managed with a half-hour delay, but not 8 of them! That's right. The delay process continued until we were eventually 4 hours late for our EasyJet flight to Paris. Because we were flying multiple carriers, this was not good news.

Once we got into Paris, it was becoming obvious that our plans were beginning to crumble. We were supposed to fly into Paris (Orly airport) and from there take a bus to another airport to catch the Scandinavian Airlines flight to Stockholm. That was an awful lot of ground for us to cover and we decided that--with the delay--we would either just make it, or try like hell to make it and wind up missing the flight...and busting our tails to do so.

After Skyping everyone and their uncle, trying to figure out a "Plan-B" to Sweden, we finally decided that a couple of days in Paris with an early return to the USA would be fine with us. Otherwise, we were looking at a couple of thousand dollars to make it to the home of Ikea, Saab and ABBA.

So, after exhausting all options, we decided on Paris. And, forget the economy hotels, Jennie convinced me that we might as well live large. It was decided that $700 a night might be a little too much, be we found a very nice hotel for much less money. Getting there was our only challenge. I’d say that, between the two of us, we had about 200 pounds of luggage. For some reason (I think it was lack of sleep), we decided public transportation would be the best way into town. WRONG! We had way too much luggage and by the time we reached the Eiffel Tower, we were searching for the nearest taxi.

Le Hotel Pont Royal is a wonderful place. The rooms are decent sized by European standards, but the location and staff were great. We were about a 3 minute walk from the Louvre and Musee D’Orsay.

On Saturday, we took a little nap before heading out for Le Tour Eiffel. It was a nice walk along the Seine River. The lines for the lifts to the top were very long. So, we decided to hoof it up the 670 steps to the mid-section of the Tower. The views were stunning, the weather perfect. A little ice cream in our tummies, and it was time for bed.

After sleeping in until 11am, we got up, had a nice lunch and headed to The Louvre for a few hours. From there, we hiked through the Jardin de Tuileries to the Place de la Concorde, where I promptly purchased a Crepe (from the place I got my first Crepe in 1998!)

It was Sunday, but Jennie and I thought a stroll up the Champs Elysees was in order. Surprisingly, several shops were open. We weren’t used to doing anything on Sunday in Geneva. Just about everything is closed.

At the Arc de Triomphe, we added another 287 stairs to the top for another perspective of Paris.

Jennie and I woke up early this morning and ran from our hotel to Notre Dame and back before taking a taxi to the airport. At present, we're sitting in the Newark International Airport. We board our flight in about an hour. I think both of us are disappointed that our Scandinavian adventure had to be called off, but we had a great time in Paris and coming home early is not so bad either. We both have a lot to do before school starts in a couple of weeks.

I can't wait to catch up on sleep tonight!

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