Well, my wonderful dynamic duo did not get to bed at all from whence we shared our raspberry fluffs, til when we met again in the kitchen at 5:00a.m. . After quick cups of coffee, it was time for Marina to close up her house.
One of the last things she got to was the kitchen windows. These windows had steel metal, and lockable shutters that made entering this place very difficult. Marina says the doors are very heavy, and hard to lock, but once in place, I felt like we could be in Fort Knox (hahahah.... this is fort "KNOX, Marina, that is).
By 6:00a.m., we were all loaded in the car..... Poor Jacques had to carry 7 very heavy pieces of luggage down three staircases, and then figure out how to load them all in the car. Quite a challenge at best, but in the dark, even more difficult.
After dropping a box of food that was in the back seat with me, at their neighbor/house keeper, Claire, we were on our way to the TGV station. 30 minutes later we pulled into the rental car Enterprise area to leave the car.
There was no one there to receive the car, keeps or contract. After looking high, low and all around, Jacques left the keys/contract inder the front seat, and we left.
We were within 75 yards of the big station building... should be very easy....... BUT the building could not be entered from this side. It is pitch black out, and very hard to see. We maneuvered our way thru the flipped-arm enter, and went to the left.... not a very uneven, cobbly road, with cracks and pot holes everywhere. I had my three bags -- two of which were very heavy. My smallest bag with poisitioned on top of my small blue bag, which was heavier that my large black bag. With my shoes wobnbling, my suitcases trying to fall into eatery hole, and crack, navigation was next to impossible -- and it the dar as well. All of a sudden there was a huge BUG flashing its lights and honking at me. More letting me know he was there, and upset because I was in the road -- where I did not want to be, but had no choice. I looked ahead and could see Marina struggling as well, and Jacques -- he was not where to be seen. This scenario played on for the next 10 minutes, before Marina and I and our 5 bags
Got into the station. Our train was suppose to leave in 20 minutes, and we did not know from where.
. We collapsed with our baqs and waited. The TGV station was a horribly mess -- it is under construction, which made navigating anything was bad. Jacques offere to pull Marina's large bag, and my large baq, and she and I were only left with 3 pieces each to manipulate. Getting us and our stuff in a elevator was a joke, and a real comedy to watch. Shoving all our bags in, before getting in ourselves.
Once down on the train platform area, we loaded ourselves up again.... and proceeded to "Car 1".... We were currently located at "Car 12". We had to go down 11 train cars before our assigned car. They loading all our pieces on the train, and then stowed. -- poor Jacques and Marina.... they were doing to most of this, because there was not room for me to navigate between them from the ground into the train luggage storage area. OMG! We have to do this and proceedure in Paris for the Eurostar!
Finally in our seats, Marina was asleep in hers within 2 minutes. Me? My seats was next to the window, and I watched the country side go by, as I was blogging, and swaying with the movements of the train, all the way to Paris.
Once in Paris, de-training was yet another deadly job. I asked the train car attendant:
"Are there any porters available that could help us?"
"Yes, madam. Not many -- butt you have to have an appointment!" She retorted. In other words we are once again on our own. Thank good "Car 1", was next to the terminal -- so manipulating inside Gard Nord for the taxi stand is the next problem - still trying to handle all these numerous pieces of luggage. When we found the taxi line -- we were the 23rd people in line! We then noticed motorcycles pulling up to the line, and offering people lifts to town on their cycles. OMG!! I giggled when I say this:
"Hey, Marina can;t you see the three of us, and all our bags trying to balance piled a mile high with our bags, and parcels"....
Marina giggling.... " depending how long we have to wait... you and I could balance each other, and leave Jacques with the luggage....."
No -- not any kind of viable option, but sure a fun/funny thought.
We ended up in two taxis, from Mont Parnasse to Garde Nord. Jacques driver got him their quicker than Marina's and Mine.
Re-connecting with we other in front of Garde Nord, I found a gentlemen with a trolley or two trolleys to get us up to the second floor, just outside the Eurostar entrance. It is now 10:30a.m., and in 2-1/2 hours we can check into the very special Eurostar, Business Class lounge. The new lounge location was not as nice as the old one. (Panel ed wood, and library feeling).
I ask the ask for a porter to help us get to the train, which they happily arranged. Getting to our assigned car, with an extra pair of hand was a huge help.
Once on the Eurostar, Marina and I were thinking if the service on this had changed as much on the Eurostar.
Thankfully not. So after a bite to eat, proceeded and during with perpetual glasses of Champagne.
. A few minutes later our lunch arrived.
. As we were approaching the English Channel underwater tunnel, I set my time to see how long we would be traveling UNDER the English Channel at 100kph (20m24sec).
Once we are arrived at St.Pancreas station in London, we once again we jostling all our bags, until we found the driver that was sent (with van, thank goodness) from the hotel to transport us to the hotel. Having an extra pair of hands, and we walked what felt like another mile, it was so bad to share the load, or weight with someone else.
Half a hour after reaching the van, we were standing at reception being welcomed back with smiles.
"Welcome back, Mrs. Knepper! It is always so nice to see you! We have you book for two junior suites on the 4th floor", said the very kind employee that I have seen ate my check in for the last couple of years.
"Are our rooms close together?" I asked.
The lady smiled as she said:
"Let me show you to your rooms."
My room was just perfect, half the size I usually get, but perfect. Marina and Jacques room were down on the other side of a small elevator on the left hand side. If I bang on the wall in my room, Marina will be able to respond. Great.... not too far away.
The lady continued to take us to Narina and Jacques room, which was exactly like mine, only in reverse.
"Mrs.Knepper, would you like. Me to have housekeeping open this door, so your rooms will internally connect?"
"OMG! Yes, of course. How wonderful of you to think of this accomnmodation!! Thank you.". I exclaimed excitedly.
Within minutes, we were internally connected, and starting to move into our perfect accommodation.
Yippie! Excitedly we began unpack, and thought room service for dinner sounded like the best idea.
Marina and Jacques had Oxtail Pie (ugh! Oxtail!!! It is literally an ox's tail with fluted mashed potatos on top!!)
I did not join them in their choice. I couldn't. I had a hard time just thinking about what they were going to eat! Yuk!! Me? I had a Cocque Monsieur (french style, delicious Ham and Cheese). All off us had fruit salad for dessert and a bottle of Pommeral from the mini bar to wash it down with.
After dinner Jacques said Bon Nuit and "Thank you, Robin!". Marina and I had a Hollywood at the movies together before both of us, also passed out from exhaustion...... not enough sleep the last couple of days!