Posts Tagged With: koala

A Paris Return

koala, pink bear, teddy bear, Amiens, FranceThe day for another departure.  This time it is Tutu that is having a bit of an I-don’t-want-to-leave! fit.  Now that he has found a companion, he is not looking forward to the new destination.  But, alas, he has no choice, and in he goes into my suitcase after bidding farewell to his new pink friend. I head to the kitchen.  Look out the window, Amiens, France wash a few dishes and I am ready. We go to the Amiens Station one more time.  At Gare du Nord, still a bit frazzled when I finally find a ticket booth (see my post about that day here) I find myself tired of speaking or attempting to speak French so I ask in English for 2 round-trip tickets to Amiens.  The woman asks me in English if I can make the one leaving in 5 minutes, I say no, next one is in 30 minutes, I say great, she asks how many and I repeat 2 round-trips to Amiens. She gives them to me.  So when we go to the Amiens station we go straight to the train that takes us back to Paris.  On the train the ticket-taker comes, we hand him the tickets and oops, not a return ticket after all.  Oh sorry, so here is our fare.  Not enough? What? We each get charged 25 Euros fine for not having a ticket. Lesson learned to check and recheck tickets… maybe.

Today, instead of using airbnb, we have decided to check into a hotel, Super Hotel, (Super for super tiny rooms perhaps?) next to Pére Lachaise where we will be filming tomorrow. We are staying only one night. The place is miniscule.  Paris, France, hotel, 20th arrondisement Tutu goes into a corner still complaining about being alone. koala, Paris, France But the neighborhood is lively and I like it.  The alisateur (I think in French it has a nicer ring to it than “director”) scouts the neighborhood he is already quite familiar with.  I chill.  We reunite and go to dinner. I just love these very Parisian bistros.  And the bonus was that the food was quite good. P1180747  P1180746  P1180749  The morning of filming starts off in a very laid back way. We have coffee P1180754 at our local café since we can’t make it in the room. Of course, accompanied by the proverbial croissant which is flaky airy and delicious pretty much everywhere.   So much so that all I could photograph was this empty plate. P1180882   Paris, France, 20th arrondissement Today I have no responsibilities but to tag along so while they prepare to film, I laugh at Parisian parking skills.  Seems that they feel that they can park anywhere!  Parking in Paris, France, illegally parked, ticket But on close inspection, he has a ticket or a warning that he will have to contend with!  Parking in Paris, France, illegally parked, ticket  The filming begins. filiming, 20th arrondissement, street scene  My attention goes to windows with flowers.P1180773_2 P1180774_2 And as we walk to the next location, of balconies loaded with figurines I’m partial to: elephants. P1180776   We enter our next location.  P1180789  Gratefully, it does not rain though it does threaten to at times.  P1180797 I walk around.  So sad to see some mausoleums bordering on being neglected. Pére Lachaise, 20th arrondissement, Paris, France, graveyard vP1180843 I continue to roam and come to a moving tribute  P1180799_2 to those who perished P1180800 in concentration camps.

Filming goes on.  P1180837  I am again saddened by a mausoleum of what seems to be a young boy. P1180784_2  P1180834 Looking up, something that seems so out of place.   P1180845 The statues and their poses capture me.  P1180842_2

Before I realize it, it’s a day’s wrap. P1180847 We leave. P1180880  P1180883

It’s been good.  We open our laptops, play a bit on them, and then go off to eat in a neighborhood Indian restaurant which was surprisingly terrific.  Back to the hotel and tomorrow we shall move on to our next location. Where to next…?

Categories: 20th arrondissement, France, Paris, Pere Lachaise | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Honey, We Must Talk”

Yesterday, as I thought it would be, turned into a day to chill.  Tutu found a spot guarding the key. koala

We settled in.  Amiens, France, P1180329 P1180330 P1180331

Getting so many ideas by staying in airbnb places, like this chalkboard stripes in the kitchen to write messages in.Apartment in Amiens

We did walk about a bit in town and found some charming areas but I didn’t bring my camera.

Today we meet Lydie Melki and Guillaume Renoult and Buster (the dog), the actors in the short, for a cup of coffee in the morning, the segue to a walk to the theater where they will be performing tonight, to lunch and then to a siesta at the base of the cathedral.

The theater.   theater in Amiens, La Boite a Rire, comedy, Guillaume Renoult  P1180334Buster leading dog, walk, rescue dog, mix breedthe pack.  Walking to lunch.  This little guy (he’s not that little actually) in the middle of the river is made of wood.  Amiens, France  P1180340 Yesterday he did not have a t-shirt on.  Lunch.  Amiens, France, food, Melting Pot Buster wanting some lunch.  Buster, mix breed, rescue dog, wanting a treat, Amiens, France P1180345Part of the cast and crew working off the calories from lunch.  Guillaume Renoult, Lydie Melki, short film, exercise, Buster, Amiens, France Guillaume amusing us before the official amusement by the play Chéri Faut Qu’on Parle (Honey, We Have to Talk) which he wrote (and is in).  Guillaume Renoult, Lydie Melki, Amiens, France  Not quite Venice but this town is known for its canals and they are really charming.  canals, Amiens, France And it’s chill/siesta time at Parc de L’Evêché Amiens, France – centered around Buster, of course.  Amiens P1180374 P1180375

For me it’s photo roaming mini-safari time.   The area around the cathedral is a University campus.  P1180379 P1180384  They are having “Talent Day Auditions”.  I’m tempted to just walk in but don’t.  Don’t think I’m in their age range. 🙂

I go back to the siesta takers P1180404 but can’t sleep P1180392 and neither can Buster.  P1180402 P1180401 P1180396 Time to get up, say  á tout a l’heure (see you soon) and go into the cathedral.which is impressive to say the least.

A short walk around the park to reach its main entrance.  P1180411 P1180415 P1180421  P1180424 P1180425It was built in 1220!  This diagram shows the different stages and years of its evolution.  The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church,

It is the tallest completed cathedral in France The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church, as well as the one with the greatest interior volume of any French cathedral.The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church,  The main altar has wonderful carvings.  The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church,  The organ dates for 1429 The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church,  The labyrinth is quite intriguing as well and is the second largest in France. The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church,  The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church, The center of it.  The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church,

There is the weeping angel which became a popular postcard sent by soldiers in World War I.  He has one hand on an hourglass, I think to symbolize the brevity of life and rests his elbow on a skull symbolizing death.   He is part of the mausoleum of cannon Guilain Lucas (d1628) by Nicolas Blasset and he saddened me much.  The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church,   The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church, And then there are the stained-glass windows, many of which were lost through the years.  The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church, The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church, The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church,

One flanked by an American flag.

The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church,

The cathedral has a spot where it remembers and honors those of other countries that fought for Amiens.  The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church,    The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church,

We light four candles for four relatives who are very close to our hearts and in our thoughts.  I have a feeling that they are overcoming language barriers and meeting up above.

The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church,

Wherever you look there is something to admire.  Don’t think I have spent so much time inside a cathedral.

The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church,   The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church,

We go out into the light, have a last glance at the cathedral The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church, The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church, and discover a city that has come alive.  Amiens, France, fountain P1180545 Amiens, France, carousel  We walk back to the apartment traversing four lanes Amiens, France  Amiens, France  Amiens, France a train track Amiens, France then the last lane. Amiens, France  We take a little siesta and back into town for the play Chéri Faut Qu’on Parle and then back home to get some more zzz’s.

Categories: Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, France, La Boite de Rire, Parc de L'Evêché | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Sensory Overload. Oh My! Wow! Ay, ay, ay!

Today I left with some sadness the apartment that we called home on Rue de la Liberté for the past 6 days.  But I must admit I am excited about our next abode: a houseboat on the River Seine with the Eiffel Tower on our backyard, or better said back river (Is there such a thing?).  I wait for my taxi and say my final good-byes to the street I am familiar with and the neighborhood I did not feel alien to.  Our 4 bags and I are alone on the cobblestone enclosure on the first floor.  I am to move to our houseboat alone and will be met afterwards at noon.  A few hours before a visual adventure that I will tell you about soon.

I have an address composed of only two words:  Port Debilly and a phone number to call the owner of the houseboat just in case the taxi driver does not know where it is.  I am happy that I have that because the driver did not know where I was going so called Jean and was directed how to get to the péniche (barge).

Jean greets me at the garden and helps me with the luggage.  I would not have been able to do it alone and am happy that he is there.  See the plank I have to cross to get to the boat.  péniche, Soleil, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, boat, Paris, France, quay, river,   I go in péniche, Soleil, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, boat, Paris, France, quay, river,  to a boat with classical music on, a view that is to die for,  péniche, Soleil, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, boat, Paris, France, quay, river,  Eiffel Tower a living room that invites reading and marveling at Eiffel Tower, péniche, Soleil, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, boat, Paris, France, quay, river, Eiffel Tower flowers in the kitchen péniche, Soleil, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, boat, Paris, France, quay, river, Eiffel Tower, galley, kitchen (or galley), péniche, Soleil, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, boat, Paris, France, quay, river, Eiffel Tower, galley, kitchen  péniche, Soleil, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, boat, Paris, France, quay, river, Eiffel Tower a porthole through which I still can see the Eiffel Tower, péniche, Soleil, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, boat, Paris, France, quay, river, Eiffel Tower, porthole, galley, kitchen  and a bedroom péniche, Soleil, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, boat, Paris, France, quay, river, Eiffel Tower, bedroom with a skylight so that when we open our eyes we can see the leaves of the weeping willow above us, péniche, Soleil, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, boat, Paris, France, quay, river, Eiffel Tower, bedroom (and yes, I still get incredible views from here).

I want to share this and the only one available right now is Tutu so I sit him on a chair akin in color to his.  péniche, Soleil, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, boat, Paris, France, quay, river, Eiffel Tower, koala, antique chair  He complains he can’t see the tower so I place him on a table.  koala More complaints so I make him the captain and he seems to be happy!

péniche, Soleil, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, boat, Paris, France, quay, river, Eiffel Tower, captain, Tutu, koala

I go out to encounter first hand one of the many tourist boats that will be gracing my back yard.  Most of the tourists are facing the tower but some are facing me and the boat and taking photographs.  What conversations will I be included in with a “How lucky is that Parisian to be where she is?”  péniche, Soleil, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, boat, Paris, France, quay, river, Eiffel Tower, Batteaux Mouches, tourist boats What I didn’t expect was two Parisians walking on the Ave. de New York 6th arrondissement, Paris, France, Rue de New York(the street above the dock) and as I look up, one saying to me:  “Madame, vous etes privilegie!” and pointing at the tower. Yes, I consider myself very, very lucky!  And if the Eiffel Tower view weren’t enough, the Sacre Cour is off at a distance.  péniche, Soleil, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, boat, Paris, France, quay, river, Eiffel Tower, Sacre Cour  The Eiffel Tower, the weeping willow (the only one on the dock and the one that is in on the other side of the boat), and the deck.  Oh my!!! péniche, Soleil, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, boat, Paris, France, quay, river, Eiffel Tower, weeping willow, boat deck, deck And then a surprise as I look to my left.  A young little cat that seems very much at home on this boat.  I have a feeling she will be another house guest while we are here.  péniche, Soleil, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, boat, Paris, France, quay, river, Eiffel Tower, cat, kitty

Dean returns from the first shoot on his film and takes it all in quickly since we have reservations at the restaurant at the Eiffel Tower:  Le Jules Verne.  The day is only at its midpoint and I don’t know if I can take any more excitement!  But we head out there walking since it is only about a 10 minute walk.  Eiffel is even more impressive up front.  Paris, France, Eiffel Tower, 6th arrondissement  The entrance to Le Jules Verne péniche, Soleil, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, boat, Paris, France, quay, river, Eiffel Tower, Le Jules Verne, view, food, Parisian restaurant  where you get into a private elevator that catapults Le Jules Verne, Eiffel Tower, 6th arrondissement, Parisian restaurant, table with a view, Paris, France you to the second floor 213 meters up.  Paris, France, Le Jules Verne, Eiffel Tower, table with a view, food, Parisian restaurant,

The food was acceptable.  Le Jules Verne, Eiffel Tower, 6th arrondissement, Parisian restaurant, table with a view, steak, Paris, France The view beyond compare.  Le Jules Verne, Eiffel Tower, 6th arrondissement, Parisian restaurant, table with a view, Paris, France  We get some madeleines as a gift when we leave to go out to the viewing deck.  Le Jules Verne, Eiffel Tower, 6th arrondissement, Parisian restaurant, table with a view, Paris, France More amazing views.  Le Jules Verne, Eiffel Tower, 6th arrondissement, Parisian restaurant, table with a view, Paris, France

And we return to the boat with even more excitement on the way.  A wedding…6th arrondissement, Paris, France, wedding photo

A photo shoot (with a car as its protagonist). Car, antique car, photo shoot, 6th arrondissement, Paris, France  We make a side trip to buy stuff for dinner so we can sit on the deck and watch the Eiffel Tower twinkle.  We take the underpass, Paris, France, 6th arrondissementup some stairs, Stairs buy our stuff and later that night sit on the deck as the tower surprises us by being multicolor in honor of the South African season in France.

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France, colors, twinkle, night view of the tower, 6th arrondissement

I have to go to sleep now because I really don’t think my heart can take any more excitement.  Nighty, night!

Categories: 6th arrondissement, Eiffel Tower, France, Paris, Ramblings, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

I’m a Loca Parisienne!! Revision: a LocaL Parisienne! :)

Today is a day of errands.  My companion is off helping a student filmmaker make his thesis film and I am left to my own devices.  I wake early (Yes, you heard that right… early!) to see him go and to start my day.

So what do Parisians do in the morning?  Perhaps prepare their first cup of coffee.  Perhaps.  Probably go get the morning croissant and baguette.  Even if that isn’t what they do that is what I will do!  I go in search of the neighborhood boulangerie (bakery for all you non-Parisians) and return to my closest supermarché.

So once I map out my route, I depart.  I also must go to the bank, so first I head there while enjoying “my” neighborhood.  Paris, France, neighborhood, 19th arrondissement, street scene,   The walk is only two blocks but it takes me a while since I stop to photograph anything that catches my eye.

A door.  Paris, France, neighborhood, 19th arrondissement, street scene, 10 Rue de la Liberté  A window. Paris, France, neighborhood, 19th arrondissement, street scene, window, flower box

A street. Paris, France, neighborhood, 19th arrondissement, street scene, Rue de la Liberté

Once there, I return to the apartment (pied-a-terre) and towards Paris, France, neighborhood, 19th arrondissement, street scene the boulangerie where I confidently (Okay, not so confidently ask for 4 croissants, donut, and can he add another two croissants please?  Bonne journée madame.  The equivalent of “Have a good day.” A vous aussi.  You too.  Yay!  I manage to feel like I belong.

And with my precious croissants – my, do they smell good – I go to the supermarket supermarket, 19th arrondissement, Paris, France, French supermarket chain that reminds me when they opened in Elkins Park, Philadelphia a million (well, maybe about 20 years ago).  I like their baskets, which have a curve so I can carry it on my side without having to lean like the Tower of Pisa.  shopping basket, basket, Carrefour, supermarket, 19th arrondissement, Paris, France  Now back to the apartment.  I put away my groceries. Munch on a croissant. Vaguely think that all these carbs that I am consuming are going to make me fat.  Quickly discard that fact and stare at the pile of clothes I have to take to the lavomatique (laundromat).  Procrastinating sounds just the way to deal with this, but I do not…mainly propelled by the fact that I have no more socks or undies left clean, than by a recognition that procrastinating will get me nowhere.

Again I map my course and off I go!  I pick up the keys which are the oddest shape.  odd shape keys, antique keys, keys  And with my very heavy two bags of clothes I go into the unknown.  I’m really not that sure of where it is.  After a quite a few blocks I must admit to myself (though not to others) that I have mapped out my course dreadfully wrong.  So I ask a woman on the street where is the closest laundromat and manage to understand perfectly well her directions.  Am relieved to know it is only two more blocks away and that I will not have to climb these steps to get to it.   P1150492  Or these…stairs, climb, Paris, France, 19th arrondissement  By the way, on the side is “The Aztec” club which is a weight training gym.  I get a kick out of that.

What I’m not getting a kick out of is carrying these two heavy bags of clothes.  As I approach the laundromat I spot a word that propels me back home:  Audition.  Never mind that it refers to nothing about my profession (acting) but does refer to auditory needs.  Auditory needs, earpieces, hearing aids, audition   And I arrive.  Phew!  I don’t take a picture ’cause I am way too busy trying to figure out how to work/pay for the wash.  The machines are tiny.  It’s about $6 a wash.  Yikes!  And only after somebody actually comes to my aid am I able to use them.

What I do with great ease is go to the café, the Arch in the Sky,  Parisian café, 19th arrondissement, Paris, France (L’arc en Ciel) next door, empty except for one table of locals outside, and sit and feel like I am really part of this neighborhood.  Une noisette s’il vous plait.  A little espresso with a drop of milk please (And can I feel any more French today?).  I read.  I look out the lace curtain.  Paris, France, 19th arrondissement, lace, café,   I survey the place. Parisian café, Paris, France, 19th arrondissement, café I like the fact that my waiter seems to be 100 years old and doesn’t question my choice of boisson (drink).  Time to pay and return to my errands.  I fold. I feel good. I am loving everything just about now.

I return home to a welcoming by Tutu koala  From my kitchen I see Paris’ rooftops.  I wonder about who lives in them and spin webs of words that gel into lives that really may be far from reality.  Paris, France, 19th arrondissement, rooftop, windows

Would love to see this particular wood window open one day.  Paris, France, 19th arrondissement, rooftop, window  Even through the bars I find myself enjoying washing dishes.  rooftops, 19th arrondissement, Paris, France, windows  Dean comes home just in time to enjoy another beautiful sunset in the neighborhood!

Rooftops, windows, 19th arrondissement, Paris, France

 

🙂

Categories: 19th arrondissement, France, Paris, Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Going 298 kph (186 mph). Today Je Suis Parisienne!

We arrive at the St. Pancras International Station in London (railroad) from where the Eurostar departs.  I am super excited to go on it. The waiting area is ultra modern St. Pancras International, London train station, Eurostar, London, England while the upper area, train, train station, St. Pancras International, London, England from where the train actually departs, gives you an “I’ve been here longer than you.” feel.  Customs/immigration is a breeze.

Our destination (another reason why my inner child is doing somersaults):  Paris!  I so love Paris.

The Eurostar Eurostar is set to depart at 3:31 and it leaves at… (drumroll please) at exactly 3:31 pm!!!

Tutu wants out and promptly takes over what is supposed to be my seat.  koala, train

I promptly put him in the front seat’s pouch.  He’s not too happy about this.  koala, train

The Eurostar goes up to 300 kilometres per hour (186 mph).  Super fast. Eurostar speed, mph, kph, London-Paris And takes the Channel Tunnel between the United Kingdom and France.  I find the speed mind blogging but the fact that we are underwater also blows my mind.  It will get us to Paris in 2 hours and 15 minutes.  Oh but wait, I blinked and we are here!!

Gare du Nord, Eurostar, Eurostar station, Paris, France

We get into the line (queue) to get a cab.  We are headed to the 19th arrondissement (district) to an apartment in an area that is very un-touristy and where we will probably become locals for the next 6 nights.  Love the woman in black. Very Parisian chic.  Paris, France, Gare du Nord

I am still hesitant to practice my French so I ask our taxi driver (in French) if he speaks any English.  Nope, sorry madame, I do not. (In French) And so my journey of embarrassing myself in French begins.  🙂  We manage to understand each other and actually have a bit of a conversation.  So engrossed am I in my French that Dean has to point out the taxi’s sunroof which is all glass. Paris, France, taxi, sunroof

We arrive “home”.  pied a terre, Paris, France, 19th Arrondissement, 19 district  It’s tiny but charming, quaint and cozy. Worth the climb up two stairs.  Paris, France   “Tres charmant!”  We seem to be in a red-mode here, as in London.  pied a terre, Paris, France, 19th arrondissement  pied a terre, Paris, France, 19th arrondissement  pied a terre, Paris, France, 19th arrondissement

It is a beautiful day. The first, it seems, according to the owner, -who came to greet us- in a while. We settle in.  Check out our view (and our neighbors) who have two of the cutest and biggest Newfoundlands I’ve seen.  sunset, Paris, France  Newfoundland, Paris, France,

British Flag  London, I will miss you but Paris… je t’aime!  Our first sunset in Paris is divine.  sunset, Paris, France

Categories: 19th arrondissement, France, Gare du Nord, Paris, St. Pancras International | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

London Bound is London Arrived!

London BoundI get on my last airline in 24 hours and am so grateful that it is because I don’t think I could go on a fourth and conserve even a modicum of saneness.  British Airways is flawless in its operation.  British Airways BA also excels in service.  The planes, however, show their age.  Lots more room is a plus.  But the leather seats are cracking and the overall feeling is that of an aging woman who tries no longer to fix herself up.   Miraculously I cannot keep my eyes open any longer and fall asleep for most of the hour and twenty minutes from Berlin to London.  London Map

At the airport again my custom protocol is incredibly painless with smiling agents and super helpful people.  I’m really enjoying being an española!  The EU passport is a blessing.  Thank you abuelito!  I was his favorite – or so I was led to believe – and with this gift of nationality I know that it was true.

And it seems they know I’m coming… the camera crew is here!  Oh, not me, huh?  Someone is holding a Phelps sign.  Could it be the swimming medalist they are waiting for?  No.  They wouldn’t need a sign.    Waiting for me?  But some things do welcome me to London.  Welcome to London       Welcome Too

Heathrow ExpressI take the Heathrow Express which is beautiful, new, clean, efficient and free to terminal 4 where we will reunite.  Heathrow Express Train     Heathrow Exp. Inside

I have to transfer and now I realize how huge Heathrow is.  Again, everyone is super helpful.

I go to the ladies’ room and the only reason why I mention it is because I had the most frightening of encounters.  There, staring at me unflinching is death worn over!  It cruelly stares me down.  No amount of make-up will fix this so I don’t try.  I put some lipstick on though, some mascara and look at the mirror again.  She hasn’t left, but this reflection does not reflect how I feel!  I don’t try any more and leave towards our meeting point Costa Café.

I pass an exchange place and do a double take.  Yikes, $1.79 will buy a British Pound.  How can it be more valuable than the Euro?   But it is.  Normally (when not going to an exchange place) I can buy a British Pound for $1.51 and a Euro for $1.29 Wow.

Costa CafeSo at Costa I buy an Emmental cheese and mushroom toasted sandwich, my first British tea, and a bottle of water.  8 pounds.   About $12 which is starting to sound reasonable to me.   Costa Meal

 

I need to plug my computer.  Running out of battery and I realize I have forgotten a very important thing: a plug adaptor for my electronics.  Will probably buy here at the airport otherwise will have to go running around town in search of, which I don’t want to do.

I also have tried to get internet and bought a Boingo Hotspot thing.  It didn’t work.  Mac doesn’t seem to like it or there is a conspiracy against me going on-line once more.  I almost welcome the disconnect.  Oh bullocks, as the Brits would say, I don’t.  I want to get on my mail, my Facebook, my online Klout. 🙂  I also learned another word on the plane today.  They are not potato chips, they are crisps.

I’m starting to not think straight again.  Dean’s plane has arrived I think half an hour ago and he still isn’t here.  Hope he gets here soon or I may curl up in this comfy sofa and close my eyes  and forget where I am.  Jet lag you are not welcome here!

4:45 and still no reunion.  I have the address of the flat we are staying in so I take the Heathrow Express to Paddington and from there have no energy left to find this place on my own so I take a taxi.  I ask for his phone and call the person that is renting us the place.   Leave him a message.  He calls back (on the cabbie’s phone) and will meet me at 6:00.  He’s there when I arrive.  Lets me in and I have the pleasant surprise of a charming flat.  Flat Living Room   Flat Kitchen   Bedroom Flat    Tutu finds his spot.  Tutu Shelf  Tutu Upfront

And as an extra good surprise I get an email from Dean saying that he has not found me at the airport and he is on his way.  Only a few minutes later we reunite.

Nice start to our Europe trip.

Categories: Heathrow, London, subway, United Kingdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Not London, Not Yet, Almost and Soon

 American Airlines, Chicago, airportAA (not Alcoholics Anonymous) leaves with a very tired me inside of it.  I hope to pass out and get some rest.  I don’t.  Flight is pretty full.  I am wide awake.  So I write and read and write again and land in Chicago.

Pilot mentions that it is windy in Chicago, which sounds about right.  Guess it’s appropriately named the Windy City.  35-40 mph winds give us a safe but rather bumpy ride.  Bette Davis and “fasten your seat belts we are in for a bumpy ride” in All About Eve comes to mind.

We have a delay in Chicago and I lose my Priority Access.  Both events unrelated but both highly important to me.  Air Berlin portion is next.  Air Berlin, Chicago O'Hare, Chicago airport  So I board with the rest and a lovely older woman sits next to me and I am immediately smacked by the smell of perfume.  So much so that I go to the male flight attendant and ask to please move.  He is extremely sympathetic but says there are only 3 empty seats and he will check if any are on the window.  He later comes back as I am fanning myself to be able to breathe and tells me that.  The lady is extremely sweet and asks me if I am hot and I decide to tell her I am highly sensitive to strong smells and her perfume is a bit much.  She says it’s her body lotion.  She is so sweet and friendly I automatically regret having said anything but I ask her to please not take offense but I will be fanning myself a bit.  She doesn’t take offense, understands, apologizes and we become friends.  I still can barely breathe though.

The service is amazing.  The flight attendant can’t do enough for me and as he passes by he checks on me every time to see if I’m okay.  I am.   But the seat in coach on Air Berlin is the smallest I have experienced even on domestic flights.  Almost to the point of claustrophobia.  I passed First / Business and it wasn’t much better. Review of AirBerlin in Life Live and Reviewed.

So I watch Hitchcock and am not that impressed.  The make up distracts me though it was nominated for an Oscar on that category.  Performance is great though.  I love Helen Mirren in anything and everything.  The sound on the entertainment system not the best so that reduces my enjoyment.  I watch videos, listen to music, watch a doco and don’t sleep much. 

We land in Berlin.  Tegel, Berlin airport, Air Berlin  I head towards the EU passport line and am greeted with a smile a good morning and a “gracias” from the official.  Best and easiest passport control I have ever experienced!

The airport is small though not quaint. Tegel, Berlin airport, Air Berlin  Air Berlin, Tegel, Berlin airport  Tegel, Air Berlin, Berlin airport  Everybody is uber nice and helpful except for the AirBerlin check-in woman who I ask where is the British Airways check-in counter.  She shrugs and says she’s AirBerlin.

We arrive at 7:00 am.  By 7:15 I am out of passport control, have picked up my bag and have found out where I have to go.  I try to purchase a pass for the lounge but can’t do it here so I buy a Red Bull and a pack of gum which costs me 5.95 Euros.  What?  I have just paid almost $9.00 for two non-nutritious items!  And they don’t take dollars.   I go to the exchange desk and give them $141 which gets me, after the 2% commission and 5 EU transaction fee and $1.41 dollars to a Euro, only $92!!  Okay, I really am in Europe now.

P1160930I go out and the temperature is a delightful 60 degrees F.  It doesn’t feel cold.  But then, I also have a coat on.

I’ve taken Tutu out so he can breathe a bit.  Tutu, koala  I swear I saw a twinkle in his eye and that I am forgiven for not taking him to Desert Hot Springs.  I put him in the side pocket and he elicits a smile from the security check.  He doesn’t see me seeing him smile.  I take him in my arms when they check my passport the control guy looks at me, at him and smiles.  Does he have a passport too?  A lady hears that and tells me that a woman traveling with a stuffed toy dog had a special passport around his neck and that when her passport got stamped, so did her dog’s “special” passport.  Don’t give me any ideas lady ’cause I just may do it and then I can’t fault anyone for finding me weird!

I love airports, I love traveling, I love, love the infusion of energy it gives me.  Or is it just the Red Bull working its effect?

 

Categories: Berlin, Germany, Tegel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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