LL #16: Write Stuff Down
It all started the night before we went to Paris, when I decided to work out which Metro Line we needed to take from the airport, and discovered that I didn’t have my hotel booking confirmation. But I distinctly remembered booking it… and the money had left my credit card. But I somehow had no recollection of where we were staying! Clever cookie.
Luckily, hotels.com just upgraded me to something fancy (yay!) so I get special treatment, and decided to use it to email them for my reservation details urgently.
By the time they replied it was 3am, so I had to wait until the next day to work out how to get there.
LL #17: Things That Call Themselves Easy Never Are
We caught an EasyBus bus to our EasyJet flight. Simple, right? Well… no.
We had to take the bus from the middle of town even though there’s one right near us, because I’d booked it before we found a place to live. That’s ok though: there’s a city bus we can take to the EasyBus. Except, we missed it. Great.
So we instead run (with luggage in tow) to Marylebone Station to negotiate two tubes and a whole lotta stairs to get to Marble Arch. Somehow, we still arrive three minutes before our bus is due!
But, it never comes. We aren’t the only ones waiting for it either. The next one pulls up half an hour later, so, just to be sure we’ll still make it, I ask the driver how long it will take to get there. “Two hours” he shoots back, and then shrugs when I start panicking about missing flights, as that would get us there half an hour after our gate closed.
It did take two hours. We arrived at Luton Airport right when our plane was due to take off. I was furious because I’d taken their suggested bus at their suggested time, only to arrive 75 mins late.
We decided to make a run for our gate, just in case it was leaving late. We hurried through security and then did an Usain Bolt all the way to Gate 16. Which is kinda far.
We rocked up just as they were closing the doors. And they let us on!!!
We were incredulous, as we’d given up hope of making it hours ago. I was so parched I nearly paid £3 for a small orange cordial.
As we watched sunset over the English Channel, I thanked God that EasyJets run just as late as EasyBuses.
LL #18: It’s Always in the First Place You Looked
After we landed, we caught an RER train from the airport into Paris, and then two metros to our hotel. This is the part where Life Lesson #16 come back to bite me.
Oh, I was so organised, I had a little map of the area on my iPhone, and I’d even snapped a pic of it on the hotel website just to be sure.
When we got there, it was a freakin’ cemetery. I kid you not.
We wander around for about an hour until Paul spies a map and sees a similarly named street a kilometre or so away. We walk there and find nothing.
Rather desperate (it’s now after 1am and we got off the metro an hour and a half ago), we went to the hospital to ask for directions. Yes, we made hospital staff take time away from sick children to google our hotel.
Even though they speak French, it still takes them 20 minutes. We’re sure we know where to go now, so we wander back to the cemetery and cross the road to where they said it would be.
Nothing but government buildings. About 20 minutes later, we start walking back towards the metro station. And stumble right across our hotel, where we had walked right past it over 2 hours earlier.
And that’s not the end… it’s closed. I had emailed them to let them know we’d be arriving after hours (they said they had a system and it would be fine). We tried the intercom and I loosely translated all the signs. Nothing.
We rush inside after some other guests leave, and have no choice but to curl up on the couches at reception. This is the part where we discover that drunk black French girls are really loud.
At 7am, after maybe half an hour actually asleep, a very surprised looking guy sees us and asks what we’re doing. He’s the guard and has been just around the corner (in an unmarked room) all night. We’re up in our room in minutes, and could have been there hours ago.
Now ain’t that the cherry on top.