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France Day 14

August 25, 2022

“Airplane mode”

airport motel
100 degrees and limited options for dinner

   The disadvantage of booking an airport hotel room the night before your flight home is that being way out from the city, your café and wine shop options will be slim, if they exist at all. I’d taken care of the wine shop issue by packing a leftover bottle of room wine from our stay in Orléans. Good thing, too, because not only wasn’t there a wine shop anywhere near the airport hotel, the restaurants that were  within walking distance wouldn’t open until 7:00. But we found a bar that opened at 5:00, and thus we were well-provisioned for our last evening in France. 

   These two weeks were a huge success. We had struck deep into the teeth of the summer tourist season, and came through without a scratch, though there was one scare. And I came as close to fully realizing my dream of finding a small French city and doing almost nothing there for two whole weeks. I’m sorry. I said the quiet part out loud, forgetting Carol would be reading this. I meant finding a small French town and living like the locals for two weeks. (But if it turns out the locals are doing nothing with their lives, who am I to judge?)

And I came as close to fully realizing my dream of finding a small French city and doing almost nothing there for two whole weeks. I’m sorry. I said the quiet part out loud, forgetting Carol would be reading this. I meant finding a small French town and living like the locals for two weeks.

Best burger and fries of the trip, though

   The one scare occurred when card security locked up my second credit card. As usual, I’d done all the preliminaries of alerting them I’d be traveling to France. I’d also done a very smart thing by signing up for a second credit card, in the event this very occurrence happened again. (My only credit card at the time got locked in Iceland and threatened to shut down the whole trip. Acquiring a second card was my solution to prevent that from happening again.)

   That second card was my backup card. The hoops I had to get through to unlock it included a selfie photo taken within comically narrow format parameters, along with other ID verifications, plus a phone call reaffirming the transactions I’d already confirmed I’d be making with the card and where before I’d left on the trip. The worst part of the experience is the anxiety of every time you pull out the card, you have to worry if it will be declined. (I took out a cash advance to cut down on those card fears.)

We did…again

   While overcrowding appeared to be the norm in Paris in July, that was not the case in either Tours or Orléans. The towns were laid back and quiet, with the cafés filled with just the right numbers to spark energy without being jammed and noisome. The heat wave merely drove us to more nightlife, and left the days for sleeping in and hanging out, which served my wishes just swimmingly.

   Airport check-in and security, though, were enough of a logjam of long lines and chaos, that the experience reminded us of the main reason for not traveling to Europe in the middle of summer. Compared to some of the other airline nightmares we were reading about, we got off unscathed. 

   We don’t know where we’re going next, but we certainly know when we’re not.

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