11 May, 2015

Back to the real world

So we're back.  Our trip was really really good.  It got off to a very rocky start though.  The plan was for us to pack on Thursday the 16th, and then I would go to work Friday morning and Ben would take the dog to the boarding place, close up the house and take the shuttle to the airport and I would meet him there, leaving work around 1 and taking the train.  So there we are packing and nearly done and ready to go out to eat when I say "Where's your passport"?  Normally I wouldn't even bother with a question like that, but he had said earlier in the week that I should remind him just so he doesn't forget - a joke like.  So he goes to the safe, opens it up and ... no passport.  He had gotten a new one, since his old one was about to expire.  He took it to work on the 1st to scan it so he'd have a copy for the trip and then it's gone.  Well he looked and looked and started to panic.  I looked too for a while, but it was obvious that it was not going to be found.  And he's really panicking at this point.  So I got on the internet and found a phone number for the passport hotline for when you lose your passport and I give them a call.  There is no way I was going to miss this trip and I know this has to happen now and again.  The woman on the phone was very helpful and told him that he should call and get an appointment and if he can get all of the necessary paperwork, pictures, etc. together the passport office can do a passport in 3 hours.  And that's what happened.  We still drove all the way to his office to make positive sure he hadn't left it there, and there wasn't much sleep Thursday night.  I got up and got the dog to the boarders then his cousin's wife picked us up and got us to the passport office an hour before his appointment.  So before noon we had his passport and we were on our way to the airport.  Needless to say I didn't relax until I had a couple of martinis under my belt.

We used Airbnb for our accommodations the entire trip and with the exception of one place, all went well.  The first place was quite noisy, being right on a main street in Paris.  For all I know Paris, I forgot that rue de Rivoli changes names up near Bastille and I assumed we were just off the main drag when in face our window opened up right onto it.  Good earplugs and jet lag afforded us enough sleep.

After three days we took Ryanair to Venice and had a really cute, albeit moist, little apartment off the beaten track and away from the worst of the tourists.  We loved it!  The crowds were insane though because the weather was awesome.  Hot even.  We walked and walked and walked.  On the day before we left we bought a day pass and just rode the vaporetto all day. 

It was rainy in Florence, but Emma met us there and we had such fun with her.  The apartment was large with a washing machine so we were able to do a couple of loads of clothes and have them dry in the three days we were there.  This is the only place we went to museums and I bought the tickets early so that we wouldn't have to stand in line.  The Academia was great because of the crowd control.  They don't let it get too packed.  After lunch we had a 3 o'clock at the Uffizzi and I swear I could not wait to get out of there.  It was completely nuts.  Too crowded and hot and I was not happy.

After Florence Emma went her way and we went to Monterosso al Mare.  We had a cute little place with a private garden.  That is where we found the best restaurant - Ciak.  We ate there twice.  Incredible seafood.  We didn't do any  hiking - the weather wasn't great but the amount of tourists was staggering.  It rained and it was still packed.

We then made our way by train to Geneva for a little break before going back to Paris.  Geneva was expensive, annoying for not using the Euro and our Airbnb place was disgusting.  We stayed one night and the next morning I found us an hotel near the train station.  It was a cute hotel and quiet, relatively.  We strolled around Geneva a bit and had fondue for dinner.  Ahhhh ... cheese and beer for dinner.

Then back to Paris for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  We had dinner with Eoghan and Deirdre again on Wednesday.  Eoghan was trying his hardest to get us to move our return home a week and go with them to the south of France.  But of course we couldn't do it.  I had to get back to work and my dog.

And here's what I found in the front garden:
They all bloomed and there are more buds.  Lovely.  Maybe next weekend I can do the herbs and tomatoes. 

For now I'd better dig in to the real world.

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