12 June 2010 Shortest & Cheapest
Trip report Part 4
Everything comes to an end...or how I got home half dead for a worthy cause!
There was still time for me to go to the city before catching the other flight. We got in slightly later than planned, the time to make the long transfers between the gates to the main building and all the way to the TGV/RER station at Terminal 2 took quite some time. I did not make the RER on planned time.
However, I went to the station, bought my roundtrip ticket from the machine and hopped on a train that was direct to Gare du Nord and on to the city. With less time than originally planned it was a race against the clock. I knew where I was going, perfectly well.
Every time I go to Paris it is like I never left the city although I have been away several years. I can do it all with my eyes closed. I got off the train at Chatelet Les Halles, the place was an inferno with the crowd going in all directions. I went my way to Line 1 with only one more stop to go, station Hotel de Ville; the true city center.
After I had my shopping done at the BHV department store and nearby Mariage Frères Tea House in a lovely little street in Le Marais I went to see my old friend Luc Michel at his store. He is the most prized framer and holding many prestigious titles such as Meilleur Ouvrier de France, Maitre d'Art and Maitre Artisan.
Not only can he do framing he also restores old paintings and does amazing works on client's order. He has the most prized private clients coming from France and all parts of the world including the French government and the Mayor of Paris. He will build them pyramids and supply them with framings of any size and style and so many other works from primitive to contemporary. A true genius of a man and a true creator and also one of my dear most friends.
I always enjoy my visits to his place. We used to live across the street. He has a lovely Brazilian wife and a wonderful Dalmatian. I miss them a lot although we talk on the phone a lot and there is always an opportunity for a visit to Paris.
Time spent with this wonderful friend went way too fast. I realized it was time to go back to the airport. I said goodbye and rushed back to the Notre Dame RER station with not even a minute to go inside the cathedral and listen to the magnificent main organ.
I hopped underground into the RER station, punched my ticket and rushed down the escalators as the train came into the station at the same moment I was down the stairs. This was again a direct train from the Gare du Nord two stops further all the way to the airport CDG
Terminals 1 and 2 stations. I got lucky.
I sat down with all my treasures in hand and an extra bag from the shopping trip. All I had to do was wait until I got to the airport. I arrived there 40 minutes later. It was a rather easy ride only I was starting to fall asleep and getting tired.
I got out of the train and up the escalators into the terminal. The walk to Terminal 2F was relatively easy. I already had my boarding pass for the flight to Nice. All I had to do was going through passport control and security check. There was a line but it was moving fairly fast. I had everything properly packed, especially all my teas that were put in a box so I could take them on the plane without questioning.
It all went smoothly.and I proceeded to the gate area only to find that the flight was delayed due to a fueling strike at the airport in Lisbon where the aircraft came from. Oh well... I rushed and ran like a chicken without a head for nothing.
C'est la vie. A delayed flight. Nothing I really needed but I had to do with it.
The time finally came to board the flight. This was no A380. It was a "MiniBus". No cheers, no fancy hostesses. it was quite ordinary. There was a big group of Japanese tourists getting on board. Mostly all middle-aged women on their way to Cote d'Azur. They all proceeded to the back of the plane.
Boarding was called by row numbers. I was in the forward section of the aircraft, seat 8A. A window seat. I was getting really tired. I was happy to get to my seat and being able to seat down. I did not pay attention to anything anymore. I needed more coffee to keep me awake.
Some Mini-Busses were parked next to us, going to all directions in Europe. They all looked like toy planes.
I was smashed to a point that I could not even take proper pictures.
I even chopped off Concorde FF
I left poor Concorde with a chopped nose!
The forward section of the cabin was rather quiet. I had a whole row of seats all to myself. Exactly what I needed.
I did not realize we were already up in the air. Take off was fairly smooth I guess.
They could have shaken the whole house to pieces I wouldn't have even noticed it.
I took pictures of clouds along the way as I always liked clouds.
I even thought I saw a UFO only to realize that it was just another airplane.
The flying was getting near to its end. We had begun our descent into Nice but I did not know any different.
We flew above all the rizzy places of the Côte d'Azur where all the rich and famous have their sumptuous properties complete with helicopter pads. Saint Tropez, Cap Nègre, Cap d'Antibes...
You will get some true masterpieces of photography here. The kind that will win all the first prizes in all Worst Picture of the Year competitions.
That strip of lights there are supposed to be the Promenade des Anglais where they were celebrating the 150th year for Nice reuniting with France. They were having fireworks that same night and all.
There is no need to ask me what this is all about. I just don't know.
Now this looks like a blurry version of Terminal 1.
and this too.
and finally comes the "flying saucer" Terminal 1 just as blurry.
Thank G_d there was no remote stand this time.
I was back inside the terminal in a semi-normal state having a last look at the Mini-Bus
The arrivals panel was the last thing I saw in the airport.
The bad news on arrival was that I had missed the bus to go home because of the flight delay.
I knew it but again there was nothing I could do. I had no other choice but to wait for the next one.
Several fligths arrived from Germany, Austria and Scandinavia in the mean time.
The Bus trip cost One Euro for any distance travelled. Who said the Riviera was expansive?
Some passengers did not want to pay the extra cost for their big suitcases. They showed up iwth only 50 Euros bills and still they did not want to pay for the bags. One woman in Monaco wanted to be dropped off right at her house. When the driver told her that he wasn't a taxi and she would havve to get off in a different place she made a scandal. There were some really strange people on that bus. It was getting late in the night. Some young clubbers were going home sick from over drinking. They asked for the bus to stop for a while along the way so they could get some fresh air. The driver had to turn the air conditioning on so they would feel better.
I was happy to get home. It was about 1.00 AM
and I had gone about 24 hours without sleep. I thought back about my day with all the good memories about the trip.
This is the end of my trip report. LHR
12 June 2010 Shortest & Cheapest
I am sure there will be more happy First Flights at some time or other.
Thank you all for your appreciation.
[Edited 2010-06-14 13:25:33]