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Europe » France » Champagne-Ardenne » Reims
July 16th 2018
Published: July 24th 2018
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We had one of our best breakfasts so far! Love this hotel! Today we have quite the journey ahead of us so i have broken it down into seven stages:

1. Taxi to train station

2. Train to Genoa Brighole

3. Shuttle bus to airport

4. Flight from Genoa to Paris

5. Train to Champagne-Ardenne

6. Train to Reims

7. Find apartment

Hotel was fantastic and organized our taxi to the station - it arrived on time at 8:30 and we were at station within 10 mins.

Train to Genoa Brignole was due at 8:52 but was running 10 mins late. The schedule had this train arriving at Brignole at 9:20 and the shuttle bus leaving at 9:30 so this was going to be close. We had already accepted that if we didn't make this connection, we would just grab a taxi to the airport.

Train arrived at Genoa Brignole at 8:29 - so we grabbed our bags and ran as fast as we could, lugging 20 kilo bags. As we came out of the station I spotted the bus straightaway and the doors were just starting to shut - so we yelled and waved our arms as running with said bags. Thank goodness they took pity on the crazy Aussies! We made it, paid the driver and found a seat - raving about how lucky we were!

We arrived at Genoa airport just inside the 2 hour mark so knew we would be fine. That was when we noticed our flight was delayed by 30 mins! we had been laughing to ourselves about the fact we had over an hour at Charles de Gaulle (CDG) before our train to Champagne but now we were hoping there wouldn't be any more delays.

We already had boarding cards so thought the process would be pretty simple from here. Ah, that was our first mistake! We stood in the 'bag drop' line for 20 minutes before it moved at all! There was only 1 person at this stage looking after check in. After a very slow process we eventually had our bags checked in and made our way through to the departure area. There is really not any customs anymore - you show your boarding card and you're through. They do still check your bags though. Eventually we boarded and the flight to CDG was quite comfortable and uneventful.

When we landed we were starting to feel the pressure as it took ages for the bags to be offloaded and the minutes were ticking down. Out train was due to depart at 3:07 and we knew we had about 30 minutes to make it. Once we finally got our bags we started to heading in the direction of the bus/train but then became confused as we couldn't understand what terminal we were in. We started asking some of the cab drivers where the train to Champagne left from - we had a funny moment amongst the stress when the guy said to me "Japan?" and I relied, "No, Champagne" (our pronunciation was pretty bad!) and everyone nearby, including us, burst out laughing. When we eventually worked it out and they pointed us in the right direction, he came up to me and said "if you want a taxi to Japan I would be happy to help" and we all laughed again!

The laughter soon stopped when we realised we needed to get a shuttle bus to another terminal to get our train! When we were walking off the plane, there was a guy from the Paris Ritz holding a sign for some customers and Janine and I joked with him saying that we wished he was there for us. He joked back and said "next time!" When we finally got onto the shuttle bus I noticed him standing near us, so Janine asked him if we were on the right bus and how long would it take and where is the train...... all the questions you ask when you have that sinking feeling in your stomach that you are not going to make it. He was so lovely and told us this would only take 5 mins (he knew we were stressed) and that he walks that way back to his office so he would quide us.

So, so lucky he did as we would not have made it to the train in time. There were so many people and so many signs that we would have had to stop to read. As it was we made it to the train at 3:06 and 30 secs 🙂👍. Phew........ the relief was palatable. Found our seats and slumped into relief mode. I headed to the bar to get waters and found these little bottles of rosé and an anti-pasta platter so we enjoyed ourselves for the next 45 minutes as our train hurtled out of a Paris towards Champagne.

When we got off the train we needed to work out how to now get into Reims. After wandering around for a bit we realised there was a shuttle train and we managed to make our way back down to the platforms to get that. It was already sitting there and the lady conductor told us to get on and she would collect payment once we were on our way. All very easy and it didn't take too long for us to be in Reims.

Next challenge - get Google maps to behave itself on Janine's phone so we can find our apartment. We both wanted to walk so we set off but kinda got stuck not far our front of the train station as we couldn't work out the direction to head in! We eventually figured it out and after a 20 minute walk in the heat, we finally made it to "The Gorgeous" - our apartment we are sharing with Peri, Sue and Louise. The girls had arrived about 2 hours before us and Janine had sent them a message saying "have the Champagne on ice" and they certainly delivered!

We walked in and it was excitement all round !! It was so great to see each other and we all knew that this was the beginning of an exciting time. And then we saw the Magnum of Pommery in the ice bucket!!! Girls did good!! And it was surrounded by cheeses and olives and ham and many other delicious nibbles. It didn't take long for us to polish off the magnum of champagne ..... and start on the next bottle! After another 2 bottles we decided we'd should venture out for dinner.

We found a nice little outdoor restaurant in a square and we had a lovely meal. Loving this lifestyle where you don't even start thinking about dinner before 8:30pm 🙂. After dinner we went for a walk to see the Reims Cathedral - such a beautiful building!

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