Thursday, June 11, 2009

Adventures in traveling

After a late night at the Dublin pubs, we drug ourselves out of bed to start our day of traveling to France. We started off early and took the airport shuttle to the Dublin airport, only to find that our flight was delayed 45 minutes, so not only was getting there early was not really necessary, we were also tight on transfer time. Our flight was to arrive in Toulouse at 3:55 and our train was departing from Toulouse at 6:10, so that extra 45 minutes was our "cushion time". We arrived in Toulouse at 4:40 - close to an hour late, and of course our luggage was one of the last pieces off the airplane, as we checked in really early. Based on my extensive research of public transportation options, I knew there was a shuttle going from the airport to the train station, with about 4 stops along the way. I asked the driver if he spoke English, luckily he spoke enough to tell me that yes, this was this shuttle. It was 5:15 and we were on way. It would be tight, but we could make it.

Then, on the way to the train station, I heard a scraping as we passed a car …and indeed the shuttle driver had side swiped a mirror. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!!??? As the shuttle pulls over to handle the accident, we instantly panic but then it seems like it's a not a big deal - the other passengers weren't upset, the driver wasn't upset, really the only person who thought it was a big deal was the girl who's car got swiped (understandably so). The whole ordeal only delayed us 5 minutes….so we got to the train station at 5:50. No idea where to go we just took off and figured it out, arriving at the train "gate" with a few minutes to spare…only to find out it was also running late. *sigh*

At least we weren't rushing, right?

The train arrives and we have no idea how to find our seats - we chose for this ride to be 1st class (there is 2nd class, 1st class, and Premier class) and we has assigned seats. Of course, the train station "attendant" doesn't speak English, but we think we figure it out, but then almost miss getting on the train because our car is the very first one and we were at the very last one. But, we made it - the train ride was nice - the seats were very comfy, the ride was smooth, all was ok. We arrive in Bordeaux St. Jean, fumble around and find the tram station, take the tram and viola, are about 2 blocks from the hotel. Whew!

We check in and then head to a restaurant for our first meal in France. We have a nice white Bordeaux with our entrees (which are really appetizer like); Mr. Lush had toasts with goat cheese salad and I had a pastry with smoked salmon and cheese. The wine went perfect with it. We figured the portions would be small so we also ordered a Plat (the entrée); Mr. Lush had steak and I had the duck. *Both came with French fries* We were actually incorrect - both were actually quite large, so we were stuffed. With dinner, we had an even nicer red Bordeaux. (the wireless connection sucks at the hotel, so no pics) We lucked out and our server spoke English, although he wasn't around much after our food was ordered, at least he was there when it counted (during ordering and available for questions). All in all, it was a crazy hectic day, but we were happy we managed to get around and figure things out thanks to some pre-planning on my part and some patience on both our parts.

We are looking forward to our first full day in wine country.

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