So long and thanks for all the fish!

IMG_0649We spent our last day in Paris walking around enjoying the sunshine with lots of other people. We grabbed some baguette sandwiches and small bottles of Bordeaux and headed to the Seine to eat on the riverfront. It was lovely.

We also took the little French netbook back to the Virgin Megastore in the Carousel of the Louvre where we bought it. I explained in a combination of bad French and English the problem: that while I could set the keyboard to simulate English/American keys, the actual keyboard was still in French 9or as I like to think of it, AZERTY) unless I upgraded to Windows 7 Ultimate from Windows 7 Starter (which would cost me an extra $170US). The netbook would never really work in English. It was, and would remain, forever French. They were very nice about it, and didn’t event charge us a restocking fee! So the little French netbook will now find a happy home with a French family who will love it and I am back to typing on a QWERTY keyboard. Yay!

By far the most exciting part of the day happened at 11:40am Paris time when we logged on to the American Airlines website and checked in and printed our BOARDING PASSES FOR HOME!!! And the hotel has a networked printer that works with their wireless network so we were even able to print them out and cuddle them.

Yesterday we went to Pere Lachaise to see the grave of Jim Morrison. We were joined by a coworker who has been “couchsurfing” in Europe for the past month or so. I thought that was just a term she used for sleeping on friends’ couches, but it is actually a service that hooks people from different countries up with like-minded folks so they can stay at each other’s places. I couldn’t do it, but she’s been doing it for years, and has entertained a lot of folks at her home and always had good luck. Who knew? Anyway, we all went to Pere Lachaise – which is enormous! – and wandered around a bit before finding the grave. It’s odd how people throw stuff that I would consider trash on the grave and consider it a tribute.

We’ve been getting some great runs in. Out here in Roissy they have some fabulous trails which we have been exploring over the past few days, running 3-5 miles each day. It’s been hard to be patient as we watch people come and go from the hotel, obviously on their way home (or even just starting their trip) and wondering when it will be our turn.

I’ll wrap up my blogging about the trip with my thank yous – things I am grateful for. First off, I am grateful for Chuck, my partner in crime and adversity who raised my spirits when they were low and made me laugh when I felt like crying. To the Millennium Hotel in Roissy: it’s not a top-drawer sort of place but they are sooo nice and they have free wifi (did I mention the free wifi?) and they don’t care that we spend hours in their closed bar working because it is quiet. Oh, AND they’re reasonably priced and fitted us in without reservations. Thanks to the Virgin Megastore in the Carousel of the Louvre who could have blown us off when we tried to return the infamous french netbook but with the most Gallic of shrugs said “d’accord.” We owe you folks a big one! Thanks to Meagan and Jock for being great hosts in Bristol and Oxford and helping us in our madcap race to get out of London and back to Paris on what felt like the last train out. Thanks to Eurostar for adding trains when they were needed so we could get to Paris! And thanks to our good friend Camille who has kept the home fires burning, dealt with our mail, amazingly won an iPad in a contest, and taken care of our dog who we miss a lot – we owe you a big dinner, present, something! And to the village of Roissy-en-France, near Paris but off the beaten track and so charming and nice – thanks for being our home for the past week.

Things for which we feel no need to say thanks: the Express by Holiday Inn in Roissy whose rates jumped 60 euros in one night (hmmmm…), American Airlines (okay, they are getting us home, but what about ONE single email, text or phone call? Seriously, was it THAT hard?). Air France, who also never contacted us again after canceling our flight. We’ll be in touch over a little thing called EU 261, guys. Oh yeah, and to the Icelandic volcano, you can go take a big old flying jump. So there!

That wraps it up. I’m turning it over to Chuck now for any last thoughts. It has, to say the least, been an adventure!

We sure never thought we would be here until April 25. Europe is nice and an adventure (especially with Eileen to share it with) we have had a wonderful time and made the best of our extra days. But when it is all said and done when you think you are coming home on the 19th and you spend an extra week it’s a little stressful. We had a lot of work planned for when we got home and it has made us realize that this could happen again. We will NEVER travel without our Mac’s again even if we don’t use them. Better safe than sorry. I have to give two thumbs up to Virgin as well. Having the French netbook was tough but a godsend for the few days we used it. We even tried to sell it but couldn’t find a buyer. So Virgin taking it back was great. We would never have used it in the states and it would have been a huge hassle. So with that I say au revoir to Paris.

As Camille would say, “Thank you Jesus!” for bringing us home!

More pics here.