Wednesday, March 25, 2015

March 25, 2015 - Departure

'Twas the night before leaving and all through the house
All the creatures were stirring "Now where is that blouse?"
The stockings were strewn all over the stair
In hopes they'd dry quicker if left out to air.

We'd like to be nestled all snug in our beds
But visions of checklists keep clouding our heads.
Dave in his lounge chair pores over a map
While Lynn writes this blog post, computer in lap.

Just an hour ago you could hear us all chatter
With children and grand kids, our loved ones who matter

Our last night together flew by like a flash
Stealing kisses and hugs before we must dash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow (what? Isn't it supposed to be spring?)
Made us happy to know there'd be sun where we go.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But our suitcases, all packed, leaving time for a beer. (For Dave, not Lynn)

Well, I'm afraid I've rolled poor Clement C Moore over in his grave a few times already so I'll quit butchering his poem.

We are ready to go! Seems to have been so long in the planning. But the bags sit in the front hall and the check list is down to the "close the house" items and final few items that need to be packed at the last minute. It's hard to believe we've finally made it to departure time.

Because we are taking so many different forms of transportation, we worked really hard to keep our luggage to a minimum and managed to keep it to one checked bag apiece, one carry on and one personal item apiece. Not bad for 2 months. We really limited our wardrobe. For example, I'm taking 4 short sleeved and 4 long sleeved shirts for the whole 2 month stay. We have laundry facilities so packing any more isn't really necessary, although I'll truly be sick of those clothes before we leave. All the weight lifting I did over the past year at Hybrid Fitness will help me manage those bags.

We fly to London, then catch a train to Winchester to visit friends for a few days before returning to London to catch the Eurostar (the train that takes only 3 hours between London and Paris). Of course, that requires taking the Tube (subway) across London to get from one train station to another. Then from downtown Paris we must take a train out to the airport where we are meeting our friends and picking up our car. Then finally we get to make our way to La Borie des B├ęzenac. That's a lot of humphing of luggage! I've been working out, but managing all that luggage will be exhausting.

I did buy the world's lightest suitcase (weighs under 5 pounds empty) by IT from eBags. Hoping it will last, but between the well-designed inner space of this suitcase and the compression bags I bought, I managed to get all my clothes, shoes and toiletries into this one bag. Score! It's a hit so far.

Our carry-on is filled mostly with electronics - C-Pap machines for both of us (getting old requires extra equipment), lots of cameras and the assorted cords and chargers for these. Dave can't live without music so an iPod and Jawbone are coming with as well. The laptop will go in my backpack. And we're bringing a few carefully selected guidebooks.

For money, we'll use credit cards and ATM (Debit) cards. The Debit cards work in all ATM machines, giving you cash in Euros at the current rate of exchange. Our bank doesn't charge any fees for this, so we get our money at the rate of the day. We got a Barclay chip and pin credit card as we've had some problems in the past with using American magnetic strip cards in France. Mostly in self-serve, not-attended situations like toll booths and unattended gas stations. However, buying train tickets in the past has been an issue as the ticket kiosks and the tellers can only accept chip and pin cards. (These cards have a data chip in them and require you to enter a pin number in order to complete the transaction.) So, in the past we've had to go to an ATM to take out sufficient cash to purchase the train tickets.

We're also carrying our drivers' licenses and insurance cards as well as back up credit cards. We'll keep this stuff in our money belts that we wear under our clothes while traveling. Once in La Borie des Combes, we can keep some of this stuff in our rooms. We learned long ago to make sure we each carry at least one credit card that the other doesn't carry so that if one of us loses their purse or wallet, the other has a credit card that hasn't been compromised and can be used to pay our way out of our troubles.

Gotta run to get this adventure off to a good start. Will share a bit of the Dordogne next post.


  1. I think we learned about different credit cards in New York city in the 80s. I hope this is not posting bunches of times. I have never joined a blog before.

  2. we sure did! Hopefully, we won't both lose our ID info!