Saturday, February 14, 2009

Day 1: Landing...and Lots of Standing

Day 1: We arrived into Caen around 12:30 p.m.  That three hour delay wasn't really a problem until arrival at the Paris airport.  It seems that once we got off the plane, all H E double toothpicks broke loose.  The kids were cranky - no one wanted to go potty, no one wanted to carry their backpacks or coats, and all of them felt sick.  Now, I am convinced from past experience that the smell of cigarette smoke right when you get off an airplane will make you feel sick and then continue to make you feel sick for the rest of your life.  And that is what you smell when you walk into the airport in Paris and then around the whole airport.  
After changing the girls from their pajamas to clothes,  we ventured over to Passport Control.  This took a LONG time.  It seems that many flights arrive around 12:30 p.m....  Andrew and I were running low on patience and high on irritation so it may have seemed to take longer than it actually took. Anyway, after all the drama it took to get our Visa's for France, the entrance through Passport Control was highly disappointing. I have had  harder times getting into bars with my own I.D.   Next we went to get our bags.  All 6 of them, and quite large in size with a nice amount of weight for each.  We had two carts with bags and proceeded to the parking lot where our pre-arranged rented car was waiting for us.   You take a train to get to the parking lot.  There are posts at the entry to the train that prohibit you from bringing those baggage carts into the train area.   That really bit. After two trips back and forth on the train to take loads to the car, we finally were driving the 2 hour trip to Caen.  Three Happy Meals, Two espresso's and $30 in tolls later, were arrived at our apartment. Ahh...relief.
Until this day, only Andrew had seen the apartment (aside from photo's).  Upon arrival, the building looked really neat.  Gated, old, historic, just neat.  We all walked in and got the tour.  It is hard to explain, but this place used to be a hotel.  Over the years it has evolved into one apartment that takes up the four flights of stairs. When you walk in, there is an office to your right where I believe people checked in for their rooms way back when. This will be a workout room for me one of these days.  If you go straight, there is a train-station like bathroom and showers and a staircase that goes down and ends with a wall.  Quite scary and musty - the whole of this area - so if possible I won't visit this part of the apartment at all costs. The next floor up is where the Studio Apartment is located. Not bad and will be ready for visitors.  The next floor is a toilette and then the next floor is our main living space.  The furniture I had ordered from IKEA France online was all assembled - Andrew did a great job. The appliances he had bought were all installed. There were 6 cups, plates, knives, forks, spoons ready for us.  There was a package of smoked salmon in the fridge (what every new home needs).  When you walk in you  notice that the windows are truly gorgeous, the details of the walls and ceilings are magnificent. However, I was bummed about the kitchen and the bathroom situations.  And the variation of musty smells that came from each room.
Alas, I quickly walked to a nearby store where I bought 5 pillows, 3 blankets, 5 towels and came home and made the beds and we all crashed.  At the end of Day 1, although it didn't seem much fun, we looked forward to Day 2 and the adventures that would ensue.

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