Thursday, July 28, 2011

By The Hair of Our Chinny Chin Chins

Well, my dad and I had yet another adventurous day out and about in France. Last night when we got in, I called downstairs and asked for a wake-up call at 5:00 a.m.; we had a 7:07 train to Carentan to catch and I wanted to shower before we left and we also had to take two metro trains to get to the main train station.

My dad was sick through the night due to the delicious French onion soup we had had at dinner the night before and about 4:30 this morning he asked me what time it was and told me he wasn’t sure if he would be able to go to Carentan today. I said a little prayer that he would soon be feeling better and then dozed off for what I thought would be only 30 more minutes of sleep.

I woke up to sunlight streaming through the windows and knew something wasn’t right. Turns out it was already 6:00 a.m., the time we were planning to leave the hotel. I jumped in the shower and was running around like a chicken with my head cut off. My dad decided he would go ahead and make the trip and so at 6:35ish, we headed out of the hotel.

We caught the first metro and when we arrived at the second, the horn was beeping for the doors to close and we jumped on just in time. Once we arrived at the train station stop, we had to walk what seemed like miles. I still had to pick up our tickets and got in line at 6:55 – for the 7:07 train!! Finally, I made it to the window, got the tickets and ran to platform 18 where my dad was waiting with some breakfast he had bought. With about 45 seconds to spare before the train took off, we jumped on. Whew, what a relief. I was so stressed out and told my dad I was sweating like a whore in church.

The train ride was a little over two hours and while on the train we spotted an American looking couple and both said to the other that we thought they may be going on the same D-Day tour as us. My dad moved to another seat and we both were able to stretch out a little and get a little nap in. When we reached Carentan, our guide met us, and that American looking couple was indeed American and were indeed on our little tour group.

Our guide was Trevor and there were six of us tourists he was carting around in his van. Let me tell you, he was more concerned about something happening to his van than one of us I think. We started the tour at the Airborne Museum and the church in the city where the 82nd Airborne Division first landed. Then we moved on to Utah Beach where we ate our sack lunches we had bought. Then we moved on to Pointe du Hoc which still has what was left of the German bunkers after it was bombed by the Americans. After this we went to Omaha Beach and then to the American cemetery. It was a really great tour and I think we both enjoyed it immensely. It was so interesting to see where the battles actually took place and learn a bit more about it.

Trevor dropped us off at the train station about 30 minutes before our train was to depart. We boarded and rode the train back to Paris without a nap. We just had some good old fashioned conversation and it was a good thing, as my dad would say.

When we arrived in Paris, we headed to the metro to the line we thought we had taken to the train station this morning. Turns out it wasn’t and a very long and boring story short, we walked for over an hour and eventually found someone who could help us get to where we needed to be. This was the first time I have been confused on the metro system and I was really frustrated with myself. I was also tired and not thinking clearly and just wanted some food in my belly and a bed to lay my head.

An hour and a half after the train arrival, we finally made it to the hotel. We ordered take-out chicken Caesar salads from the restaurant next door. They gave it to us on real plates and after we ate, I had to return the plates to the restaurant. The salads were really good and hit the spot because it wasn’t too heavy for such a late dinner.

Now I am typing this post and my dad is snoozing after having had a shower. We plan to go to Versailles tomorrow, which I am really looking forward to, but my dad, not so much. Hopefully he will enjoy it a wee bit. He wasn’t fired up about the Louvre and really enjoyed it. We are both tired of walking and I am pretty sure I’ve lost some weight from all the walking because the pants I put on today kept falling off of my behind.

Erika asked in the comments about the language barrier. I have spoken some French, especially when starting a conversation and doing some ordering but for the most part everyone speaks a little English. Sometimes the conversations will be some English and some French. Everyone has been very helpful and friendly and we have run into no problems at all. It’s been a lot easier than I thought it would be.

I got more sunburn today which is no good. I meant to put sunscreen on this morning, but in my haste to get out the door, I forgot it. My nose is burned again after already peeling twice.

Before I close, I want to say HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to my mom and dad. Thanks, mother for letting Daddy come over to France the week of your anniversary. That was quite swell of you. I guess we’ll keep you around a little longer.

Sign for Utah Beach

Utah Beach

Saw this bowl that said "Dog Bar" and thought it was funny.

At the American cemetery

American cemetery

Tired after a long day and catching a snooze on the train.

1 comment:

erika said...

I was so nervous just reading this post - so glad you made the trains!

Happy Anniversary Mr. and Mrs. Parker!!!

p.s. Thanks for answering my question!