After what feels like a tremendously long buildup, we are here! Exhausted and twitchy with jet-lag, but here nonetheless. The trip itself went remarkably well. European airlines know how to do it — complementary, frequent drinks (cognac, anyone?), plenty of good chocolate, relatively comfortable seats, really nothing to complain about. And the best part was they were at about 30% capacity, which meant Anna could stretch out across two seats and actually sleep, albeit for only 5-6 hours instead of the usual 11 or so. But despite the lack of sleep and the fact that both computer batteries died early in the trip (meaning she only got to watch 30 minutes of movies for the entire 20-hour-schlep), she did great.
My voyage was made particularly entertaining by the man I sat with part of the time who either a) is crazy or b) is actually about to be made king of Hungary, owns many castles to which we have an open invitation, is some world-pioneer in the field of Autism, is an archduke of somewhere, and who offered me Ambien, heroin, and pixie dust at various times during our conversation. Oh, and he said he had diplomatic immunity (you know, being about to be named king and all) and was therefore packing heat on the plane. Ah, fun times!
Getting to the hotel was an easy taxi ride, we have a lovely, simple room with comfy beds and wi-fi. We’re across the street from a lovely area with many markets, restaurants and shops. In the next day or two I’ll begin posting some of the photos David and I have already taken.
Tomorrow we’re off to Rouen to meet the Fabulets, the folks with whom we’re doing our swap. They’ll show us around and introduce us to some of the neighbors, etc., before heading off to our house in Portland the following day. Now I’m planning on a good night’s sleep for all of us followed by a yummy French breakfast with jam made by our hosts here at the Hotel Valedon.