Saturday morning we packed up a last few things for one final time! Although our backpacks didn't feel any lighter, the thought of coming home certainly made the carrying bearable. We tidied up our tiny apartment in Paris and made our way down to the Metro to get to Gare du Nord. Once there, we were to take the RER B train to Charles deGaulle Airport. We got off the metro and followed the "ticket" signs, however, we could not find a counter or machine. After hauling our bags back and forth, up and down several sets of stairs a couple of kind people took pity on us and obviously reading the confusion on our faces. They tried to direct us to the right place and kept telling us upstairs. We went up again but still could not locate any ticket booth. Gare du Nord is a bit of a sketchy station, with a number of unsavoury looking characters loitering around. Several were making strange noises, while others were in full conversations with themselves. We finally took the chance that we had to go back out through the turnstiles and see if the proper machines were there. Dropping my backpack, Curtis
stood guard while I went in search. Luckily, this was the right decision, and I soon had our tickets in hand. We found our platform and boarded the train bound for the airport. Arriving, we followed the signs to Terminal 3 which lead us across roads and through a tunnel. We had no problem checking in and were happy that we had reserved our seats, as it was a full plane! After arriving at our gate we sat down for a 3.5 hour wait.
If you remember, our trip over on March 4 was fraught with "glitches", and thankfully we only encountered minor ones on our return voyage. Our plane from Paris was delayed in its arrival so our departure was about an hour later. We tried to watch a couple of movies, however the entertainment system was not really the best and I was left hanging at the end of "The Giver". The flight itself was smooth, no turbulence, and the landing was one of the best we've ever had, touching down like a feather. No problems going through customs (thank the Lord) and we were making pretty good time, knowing that Kellan was there, waiting to drive
us home. He was going to head into Arrivals to meet us as soon as we got our baggage. Other than being late by an hour, the only other glitch was
the baggage. The crowd waited in anticipation at the appropriate carousel, "waited" being the operative word. After about 20 minutes it began to move and everyone watched avidly for their bags. Apparently they were just warming it up! It turned for 15 minutes but no luggage came vaulting down the conveyor. Hmmm. Finally the light flashed, the buzzer sounded and bags began flying down. The fortunate ones collected their suitcases and were on their way. Then it stopped. We waited and waited. After another good 15 minutes it started up again and one bag came out and that was it! As annoyance became evident on tired faces, an announcement reported that the conveyor belt at carousel 11 was broken and they were fixing it! Not something weary travelers wanted to hear. After 10 more long minutes it roared to life once more, our bags appearing at last. A quick text to Kellan then we joined the now very long line to exit through the final door where you hand
in your declaration card. Exiting out with the masses we spied Kellan waving at us and rushed up to see him!
What a wonderful feeling to be back home. The first thing I did was turn on the water to my washing machine! I couldn't wait to begin washing clothes! You know you are missing a small luxury like laundry when the aroma of clean clothes worn by complete strangers has you sniffing them deeply as they walk by, or the scent of a laundromat is as welcome as the smell of fresh bread in a bakery! We climbed up into our very high bed (compared to those we have been sleeping in!) and fell into much needed slumber where we slept deeply. Until 5:15 am. We both awoke and knew that there was no way we were going back to sleep so our day began (well, after all, our bodies were telling us that it was really 11:15! So our day began.
Home. To grass cutting, gardens that need to be planted, windows needing to be washed, floors swept up of cat hair, groceries to buy, mail to open, hair to be cut, winter clothes to be
stored, and lawn furniture brought out of hibernation. Home. To healthy houseplants that will miss my mother-in-law's loving care (they like water?), to a shower with good pressure and hot water and large enough to turn around in, to our huge, green backyard, to our peaceful oasis. Home.
9 countries (one twice), 10 apartments, 17 hotels, 32 different beds, 12 flights, 33 train trips, 3 buses, 7 shuttles, 2 car rentals, 1 scooter, 1camel ride, 1 cable car, 1000's of stairs, 1 hot air balloon, 3 boat rides, 500+km on foot, and riding Metros in 4 major cities. We can't believe it's over. What an amazing journey we have been privileged to share. Coming home reaffirms how lucky we are. Lucky to have had this phenomenal opportunitynot travel the world, lucky to have had this time together, lucky to have been able to create longlasting and precious memories, and lucky to come home to family and friends.
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