Saturday, May 21, 2011

Arriving in France – with a detour



Many hours were spent planning our trip to France. We were flying United Airlines from Atlanta to Chicago then connecting with another flight to Paris. The savings on the special fare made up for the studio downtown Paris I had rented for the last week of our stay. We were leaving Atlanta on Tuesday 26 April to return home on May 19th. On Sunday April 24th I sent an email to the studio’s owner to fix a meeting time. On Monday they replied that the studio was no longer available. So a day prior to our leaving, Easter Monday which is a holiday in France, I had to spend hours trying to find another studio instead of packing our suitcases! But I found one and by 3 am Tuesday morning our suitcases were packed. We arrived at the Atlanta airport in plenty of time but unfortunately, because of bad storms and tornadoes up north, we deplaned in Chicago at 5:40 pm. We rushed to the other terminal hoping to reach our connecting flight in time which was to depart at 6:00 PM.


Click on collage to enlarge, then click on each picture

We arrived at the gate at 5:55 PM, the aircraft was still there but the door was closed – I am sure our seats had been given away. We watched as the plane backed off the ramp and slowly rolled away – without us. It was a terrible feeling.


(Internet picture - no author known)

There was a flight going to London at 9:00 PM we were told, then once in London we could connect to another flight to Paris. This is what we did. The plane had many groups of happy tourists on board flying to London to watch The Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton on Friday 29th, but this was not a detour we had anticipated. The 8 ½ hour flight went smoothly and as we approached Heathrow Airport the weather looked fine from my aircraft window.




We had time to catch our Air France flight to Paris so I tried to find some wedding souvenir at the airport shop. The choice was very limited as they were sold out of many items. I did buy some tea though.




When we arrived at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, around 1:00 PM on Wednesday 27th, our luggage did not show up. We made a report then took the train to the little town – about 1 hour from Paris – where my cousins live. The next day we had to go back to Paris to make arrangements for the studio with the owners. We brushed our traveling clothes and went back to Paris – we had no report on our luggage. The new studio was in the Marais area of Paris which I know well since my mother had a flat there for several years. The studio looked OK but had no computer access. The owners invited us to their flat so I could send a quick email to our daughters. I enjoyed taking pictures of the view from their 5th floor apartment. We could even see the top of Notre Dame de Paris from their window.




By Friday 29th we were quite tired and happy to stay home with our cousins and watch TV. My cousin had prepared a special meal to celebrate – I thought it was for our arrival… no, it was to accompany the viewing of The Wedding on TV. We started with my cousin’s special cocktail.



Watching The Wedding had not been in my prepared plans, but then the detour to London had not been planned either. I decided to take many pictures since the television format in France is quite fine and pictures usually look pretty good. In 1942 the US decided to use the NTSC format (National Television Standards Committee) which has 525 lines of resolution. At that time this was good enough for black and white transmission. Europe, Australia and part of Asia selected the competing format called PAL, or Phase Alternating Line. This system was created after the advent of color broadcasting. It has 625 lines of resolution which give better picture quality and color signals truer to the original image. This is the reason that European videos cannot be seen on US televisions.



The pictures were very clear. We saw the ceremony better than if we had been sitting in Westminster Abbey really.




Actually while sipping my cocktail I now realize that I took over 250 pictures – way too many.



Below is a small selection.


Click on collage then click on each picture for better viewing

My cousin told me that Prince Albert of Monaco (the son of the former Grace Kelly) is to wed his South African swimmer girl-friend, Charlene Wittstock, this summer. Here they are below arriving at the Abbey.



I took another sip to wish them both good luck.



Then it was back to the pictures…




I caught “the kiss”



and English high fashion



“the end.”



Now it was time to call Air France to see if they had located our luggage – it had been 3 days already. They had located them… but in Los Angeles.



They finally arrived the following day, Saturday. This was not the end of our adventures though. Now I have to look at all my pictures and will talk about the rest of this trip in the coming weeks.


31 comments:

Pondside said...

No one, but no one gets around like you do. I look forward to your Paris posts!

Margaret said...

Always interesting! Sounds like you didn't let all the craziness ruin your fun. Good for you! I look forward to the posts to come.

Kay Dennison said...

My goodness! You're really having an incredible adventure!!! Love the photos!

Kay said...

Oh my goodness! What a time you had! You're terrific to keep your spirits up and just enjoy yourselves. I loved seeing those wedding photos again. I bought a video and brought it home to Chicago and found out I couldn't see it. That was a good lesson for me.

I'm just remembering our first trip overseas to London. They lost 2 of our bags for 3 days also. Hmmm... strange.

Lonicera said...

What good quality pictures you got from the TV! I've never tried that. (Eugenie & Beatrice high fashion?? How diplomatic of you to put it like that!) What a stressful start to your journey, hope it gets better...
Caroline

Jojo said...

So far it's sounding more like an adventure than a trip! Looking forward to many more stories.

Friko said...

Were ou as calm and well-mannered at the time as you are here, writing about this catalogue of calamities?

Since you were taking pictures all the way along, you must have been.

Chapeau!

John's Island said...

Hello Vagabonde, What an interesting story! I guess I've been lucky in my travels to have missed that experience of watching a plane fly away that I was supposed to be aboard. That must have been so difficult. After all the agony it sure sounds like you had a fine time. I did not know the difference between NTSC and PAL so thank you for explaining that. The pictures you got are excellent and testimony to the superior picture PAL has. I'm kind of surprised that America hasn't switched to PAL, but maybe it's like the keyboard on computers ... they say QWERTY is not the most efficient but there's too much already invested in it to make a switch to something that works better. I will be looking forward to more of the Paris story. John

Frances said...

Vagabonde, what a fine sense of humor you have! To have such a domino series of missed connections occur and to be able to write about them with great wit...c'est formidable.

I am looking forward to learning more about your visit to Paris and also about your traveling luggage ... did the suitcases accrue frequent flyer points? xo

alwaysinthebackrow said...

When things go wrong on trips, my husband is (after being upset for a while) usually able to say "Well, this will make a good story". You definitely have a good story about this trip. As you are a native French speaker, I can only wonder how much more difficult it would have been for a non French speaker to deal with these issues.

rosaria said...

Dear Vagabonde,
You never fail to inform, entertain and delight us. Loved all of your pictures, and look forward to your narrative on Paris.

TorAa said...

Sometimes I ponder if I can trust French People. Well, most of the time, is my experience after about 47 years since my first visit.
But I know, keep them aware all the time..

btw. Sorry I have not been able to comment your wonderful posts since long. Severe Internet connection problems - constantly time-outs - but I hope we will solve the technical (line) problems within some weeks.

Dedene said...

It's true that we have good reception here in France. It's especially nice with the haute definition.
Hope you had a marvelous time in Paris and that the trouble was worth it.

Ann said...

my goodness..if it could happen,it did! it sounds like you didn't let it put a dark cloud over your trip. lovely photos..esp, from the window!! looking forward to seeing your Paris photos! hugs!

wenn said...

interesting..i will be in france soon!

Deborah said...

Oh dear Vagabonde, what an ordeal - from no accommodation to no plane to no luggage, you had it all! I know the feeling of being at the gate just moments after the plane door has been shut - like a low blow to the stomach.

Looking forward to catching up with the rest of your adventures in France - I've missed being here (at your blog) and hope not to be away so long agaon.

Ruth said...

I hope you did keep your spirits up. After so much preparedness, organization and attention, to have things go this way and that must have been discombobulating. Especially the studio being taken from you at the last minute. So good that you found another, though it must have taken quite a bit of effort, and was perhaps not as nice as you would have liked, and as you say, no internet.

You have a delightful way of explaining these situations though. For one, I did not know about the TV resolution, though when I mentioned it to Don he remembered PAL from when we lived in Istanbul.

I know I will enjoy your coming posts about the trip, as I always do.

Ginnie said...

Oh my, Vagabonde. Not the kind of saga I would wish on anyone. But you seemed to weather it all quite well. And of course, you/we now have a wonderful collection of the wedding photos all in one place! I was glued to my TV for about 5 hours, so I recognized everything. :) I love it. Leave it to you and your camera.

claude said...

Bonjour Vagabonde.
Je n'ai pas fais attention que tu avais posté pendant ton voyage. Désolée vraiment de n'avoir pu te rencontrer. J'ai repousser une seconde fois mon voyage à Paris pour le mois d'Août.
Nous n'&avons jamais eu de problèmes de bagages, mais des problèmes d'avion, OUI, tant aux States qu'aux Antilles.
Aux States justement avec United-Airlines. Aux Antilles avec la compagnie Corsair.
Elles sont bien tes photos de "The Wedding". Beau reportage sur ce mariage que j'ai suivi un peu à la télé. Le prochain a Monaco.
Je vais suivre avec assiduité ton voyage.
Bises.

Elaine said...

What a series of misadventures you had on your trip! The adventure of visiting France became different than you had planned, but you seemed to be able to adapt to all that happened and still have a good time. I look forward to seeing your photos. The last photo of the sun shining on the wing of the plan is supurb, by the way.

Reader Wil said...

What a journey! You must have had a lot of patience. Once we had such a journey when we wanted to return from Cairns, Australia. The flight was canceled and we had to wait 12 hours for the next one to Hongkong. There we had to wait 18 hours for a flight to Amsterdam, where we noticed that our luggage had not arrived. We missed our taxi, but fortunately there was one available a couple of hours later and the luggage came three days later and was sent to my home address. Your trip was a bit more difficult. Still, I hope that you enjoyed your stay in France! Next time I' ll write in French!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Hi My Dear...I was here yesterday and Blogger wouldn't let me comment....(grrrrrr--it was all screwed up while you were away---it was down for a couple of days---A blogger's worst nightmare...lol)

Anyway....this sounds like 'the trip from hell'...at least the beginning does. It is every travelers worst nightmare---loosing luggage, missing connections, Studio falls out...OY!
But you always persevere, my dear.....
It looks like the afternoon at your cousins was fun and what GREAT Pictures you got of The Wedding! I look forward to reading much much more about your wonderful trip....! And, WELCOME HOME!!!

Shammickite said...

That happened to me once... getting to the airport late and watching the plane I was supposed to be on taxiing down the runway without me. I sat down and cried, and the Air Canada staff took pity on me and put me on the next plane bound for London, only had to wait about half an hour.... phew!
Luckily I've never had an airline lose my luggage... ooops better cross my fingers and knock on wood now that I've said that!
And how did your luggage end up in LA? It defies all reason!

Jenn Jilks said...

You made the best of your detour! I watched on TV, taped as it was in the wee hours. My girls came over, daughter/granddaughters, and we wore hats and watched after dinner. Lotsa fun!

Vicki Lane said...

What a story! I hope things went more smoothly afterwards.

Pat said...

Goodness - with all those things going wrong you must have wondered if you were meant to stay at home. I'm so glad you didn't - that was a lovely reminder of Paris and terrific photos.
My son and grand son were visiting at the time of the wedding and to my surprise they wanted to watch it and were as spellbound as men could be at a weddding :)

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Hello Vagabonde and thanks for the visit and comments lefgt on our blog. We enjoy our road trips and posting about them, but thankfully they were uneventful in terms of missed planes, lost luggage, unavailable lodgings. Glad you are still smiling (at least now) and look forward to reading more about your adventures...assuming your luggage finally caught up with you.

Jeanie said...

Oh, my! Well, I'm glad you were in a spot where you had family, nice meals and great TV! After all that, you deserved a serious cocktail!

Love this post in every way and am going to share it with a couple of bloggers. Glad you luggage finally turned up and I want to talk with you about your rental companies, etc., as a friend is planning on doing that next summer (and I would if my friend wasn't still there.) Later!

Vagabonde said...

Thanks to all of you for coming to visit my blog. I truly enjoyed reading each and every comment. I am slowly reading all your posts and will continue to do so – I am way behind. Thanks again for all your lovely comments.

lorilaire said...

Et bien que d'aventures, j'aurai été beaucoup stressée à ta place, si j'avais su ton problème de studio, j'aurai peut-être pu t'aider, j'ai passé une semaine à Montreuil l'été dernier dans un studio avec petit jardin.

Tony H. said...

In the old days, because of its ever-changing colour hues, it was said that NTSC stood for Not The Same Colour, Never Twice the Same Colour, or even No True Skin Tones. Not to get too far off topic, but France never used PAL, but rather its home-grown (and more important for technology developed in the post-war years, neither German nor American) system called SECAM. Of course SECAM, too, had joking names like "Something Exceedingly Contrary to the American Method".

Regardless, in today's digital age, PAL, SECAM, and NTSC are all essentially dead and gone, and television quality on a modern set is the same worldwide.

Nice pictures, btw!

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