Planes, trains, and automobiles


September 13 – 5AM yawn! I rarely sleep well the night before a travel day and last night was no exception.   The taxi is meeting me in the square at 6am and I want to shower and make sure the apartment is in good shape before leaving. I also have to be sure I have a plan B if the taxi doesn’t show.  Alas he’s there, a nice young guy, smiling, and yawning at the same time.  We arrive well ahead of my train departure.  That hurtle is crossed.

I really like these TGV trains, they’re right on time and very comfortable.  What I just learn too late is there is a chart by the track that tells you where to stand on the platform depending on your car number.   When the train arrives, there’s no time to walk down the platform looking at the car numbers – I have jump on, then dragging my suitcase wade through the throngs getting situated in their seats, stowing luggage, chatting, etc to get through the 8 cars to my car number two!  Well I’ll know for next time anyway.

Finally at my seat there’s a couple from British Columbia sitting across from me and we chat about the beauty of Vancouver, Victoria and northern BC. They’ve been traveling through Provence with friends for 3 weeks and are heading home as well. I was interested in where they’d been and there favorite places, they were anxious to talk about their trip and we discussed another important travel topic – packing. Always a topic when traveling for 3 weeks on various modes of transportation. our conversation passed the time nicely and when we got to Paris CDG we helped each other figure out where to go in the VERY large airport.

By the time I checked in and got rid of my bag, went through the various security lines (a long process at CDG), and took the tram to my gate, its almost noon and my plane doesn’t leave until 4:35.  I wandered through shops, picked up something to eat, read and did some writing. – there’s a nice healthy, fast food restaurant in Terminal 2 called EXKI that has homemade soups, interesting fresh salads, quiche etc and of course wine. Best airport food I’ve had!

When I finally got to the gate it was, as usual, a mob scene.  These airport gate areas weren’t designed for planes carrying 436 passengers (each with a carry on and second bag) There aren’t nearly enough chairs, you can’t hear the loud speaker for the din of the crowd, and the gate attendants get uppity with everyone standing around the gate entrance. Not sure where they expect everyone to stand. It was the same at Boston airport when we left. Chaotic!
This time I don’t need overhead space and my seat is in the front of the plane so I can sit, continue reading and wait until everyone else has boarded.  If I had a bag I’d be concerned about space and not want to let everyone else board before me.

Not being able to sleep in planes, I like the flight back from Europe in the daylight better and pass the flight comfortably with noise cancelling headphones and movies. What did we ever do on long flights before individual media screens.

Getting through Boston airport on arrival is always fun – I think Boston has, hands down, the slowest luggage handlers in the industry. However I’m happy to be safely on the ground, luggage in hand, and see my darling son waiting for me. Life is good!


I'm in my sixties with the world at my feet and thoughts mostly of "where to next?". I retired in 2017, sold my house in Massachusetts and most of my furniture and "stuff." When not traveling you can find me in Florida in the winter and Rhode Island in the summer. Travel has been a passion from a young age, over the years I've discovered I'm a traveler, not a tourist. I prefer traveling solo, with a travel friend, or small groups. Whenever possible I would rather spend time in one place rather than moving around. I'll never turn down an opportunity to go to France, but my travels have taken me all over the world. I've met some incredible people and had some fantastic experiences.

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