Friday, August 09, 2013

Traveling On

The wonderful view out the back windows of Uplands, our home for a few weeks.

We have left France, flying into Manchester, England.  Our trip, which should have been uneventful,  wasn't.  This was the first time we have flown with Ryanair, the original low cost airline.  They charge extra for everything, and we found their tickets to be on the pricy side to start with!  When we arrived at the airport in Tours, our luggage was over their limit for checking in, 15 kilos each.  This was my mistake, as I couldn't find the weight limit on their website, so assumed it would be the same as EasyJet, 20 kilos.  Wrong!  The clerk suggested we take things out of our checked luggage and put it in our carryon, which can be 10 kilos each.

If we had more time, it would have worked to simply sort and repack, but, as we headed to the table, an announcement was made that our plane was arriving early so we would be leaving early!  Panic packing!  We threw away some food things, put a few items in the trunk of the car in the parking lot and gave two bottles of wine to an English gentleman sitting in his car waiting for the plane to arrive.  When I walked over to him, carrying an armload of stuff, he got a funny look on his face.  Explaining what the problem was, I asked if he would like the two bottles of wine, one red, one sparkling.  He accepted the offer with a big smile.  We exchanged a bit of information and I hustled back into the terminal.

Our bags were accepted this time, even though they were still a bit over.  We made it through security with no problems, then on the plane.  We were one of the last folks to do so.  The flight was easy, but interesting.  The entire time, the flight attendants were selling things.  Would you like a drink or something to eat?  That will be 2 euro to 10 euro, please.  How about some lovely items from our duty free shop?  You could spend 100's here!  And finally, just before landing, they were hawking lotto tickets to win up to 10,000 pounds, while raising monies for a Ryanair backed charity.

On landing, we made our way through passport control.  There were 9 of us in the non-EU passport line, and several hundred in the EU line.  They finished first.  The first two people had some difficulty proving they would be allowed in, while the woman just in front sailed though, as did we. 

Luggage arrived, after some problems with the conveyor belt delivery system, and, finally we were able to find a restroom!  We caught a bus to the car rental village only to find,  Europcar had no cars.  We waited over two hours for a car to be ready.  I felt sorry for the three women working the counter, but obviously there was a major glitch somewhere.  It wasn't just the smaller cars that were overbooked, but all sizes, except for the expensive luxury models.

Vauxhall Corsa, ours for the next month.

Driving to the house was fairly easy.  It only took Bill a few miles to get comfortable with shifting with his left hand while driving on the wrong side of the road.  The most awkward thing about the car is the turn indicator, which is also on the left side.  So, he is putting on the indicator while shifting and turning.  Whew!

Looking at google maps, the house was fairly rural, but as we drove we were in a very urban area.  That is, until we turned up one hill.  The road narrowed to a single lane and went up, up, up.  This we weren't expecting; it's had to tell flat from not on google maps.  Near the top, we turned into an even narrower lane, paved, at one time, with gravel.  But, at the end we could see their caravan!  Hurray!

Pulling into the parking area, we were greeted by Helen and the dogs, who were sitting in the front area.  Welcome to our new home!

The setting sun spotlighting a farm house across the hills from Uplands.

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A Evening Visit to the Eiffel Tower

 Our Airbnb apartment was very close to the Eiffel Tower, so after dinner, we walked over to say Hello!