Sunday, July 29, 2007

Europe: The Trip Home

Perhaps this should be titled "The Long Road Home" - except it was not a road. I'll give you the good news/bad news story.

Good news: Our taxi was on time. It cost less than estimated (45 Euros) and we arrived at the Charles De Gaul Airport right on time, 3 hours prior to our 1:30 p.m. flight. We were delighted to see there was no line up and began walking toward the agent.

Bad news: Just then an airline official stopped us and motioned behind the wall to.... you guessed it.... a different line. The queue was well away from the main area and already had at least 7-8 parties in it. I headed off to look for a toilet, and when I came back, Brent levied more bad news: the flight is delayed.

Good news: We can check in now, get our seat assignment and then Air Canada will provide a hotel room and lunch while we wait. Estimated departure: 9 p.m.

Bad news: The shuttles run every 10 minutes and hold 15 people. We had 150. With bags.

Good news: We got on the first shuttle.

Bad news: Our shuttle driver was a reject from the Formula 1 circuit. He had about 10 more stops before he hit our hotel. My stomach is getting upset just thinking about the ride.

Good news: Finally at the hotel, we were provided with a lunch voucher and two rooms. It was a group lunch, and nicely prepared. We had a lovely couple from France at our table. The husband spoke good English, but the wife was even better. She taught english.

After lunch Brent and Andrew had a nap and I sorted through receipts for purchases in preparation for customs clearance at the end of our trip. The TV popped on and a broadcast announcement came on... and it gave us

Bad news: Our flight is postponed yet again.

Good news: There will be a full sized bus at 8 pm for the 11 pm departure.

Bad news: The bus dropped us off at a completely different door and we had to walk quite a bit of distance to where our check in point actually was. I got disoriented and headed the wrong way, so we ended up in the back of the line.

More bad news: While we were waiting, we suddenly heard a whistle and the security guards all started waving the entire group backwards and giving stern instructions in French. No english.

Good news: The couple we had lunch with were close by and graciously explained that we must....

Bad news: ...Evacuate the building because someone left a bag unattended.

Good news: It didn't take long to clear the bag (10 minutes) and it didn't involve any explosions. As Brent is resistant to backing up too far, once we were cleared to line up again, we ended up 3rd in line.

Bad news: The line didn't move. The luggage belt was not working.

Good news: The computers were working, all bags were tagged and stacked, awaiting transport. I got in line for my tax refund from shopping at tax free stores and got about $45 Canadian dollars back.

Bad news: Even the flight attendants didn't know if the plane would arrive in time and doubted that it would be fully stocked.

Good news: It did and it was.

Bad news: We missed our direct flight to Calgary. (No surprise).

Good news: Our checked bags made it, we collected them and cleared customs in a breeze.

Bad news: Only one agent was available in Montreal to confirm new connecting flights for the 100+ people who missed the original connections.

Good news: We had a hotel room and breakfast supplied.

Bad news: Our hotel was circular. And huge. We were in room 2183, on the second floor exactly 83 rooms away from reception - the fartherest point in the entire hotel.

Good news: We had no problems with our check in for the Toronto flight, where we would then catch our flight to Calgary.

Bad news: If we'd come earlier, we could have taken a direct flight to Calgary.

More bad news: Our Toronto flight was delayed - after we were on board. 35 minutes at the gate. Then we arrived in Toronto and there was no power to the bridge. 15 more minutes delay.

Good news: Brent had Maple Leaf lounge passes. They provided a light lunch and yummy snacks, plus free computer/internet usage.

Good news: Last leg from Toronto to Calgary was in a newer plane with personal entertainment units (video on demand) in the seat back. Other than headphones that had to be replaced and entertainment units that had to be reset for all three of us, we each got to pick our own video entertainment (movies, TV, sports, news) and had more leg room than any plane on the whole trip, and we made the flight in record time.

Hooray, we're home.

Bernadette thought our arrival was nothing but good news. She looked like she never missed us - that's good news. Bad news: I can't post any pictures until I sort them out. I have 2,100 pictures/video (3.4 gig) to purge and sort. I'll post the best of the best as soon as I can.

Wish you were here!


  1. Good news - we're glad you're back!

  2. Welcome back Joyce - good to have cheerful you back! Looking forward to the fun, creative lifelines emails again!