Travel day(s) - I'll get on back home one of these days - CycleBlaze

September 23, 2023 to September 25, 2023

Travel day(s)

Things are not as easy as in the good old days.

Everyone has an airline story these days. Here is ours. 

That we had quite the journey getting from YVR to Toulouse might be a bit of an understatement! It all started the day before our departure when we were notified by our airline that our planned flight was cancelled because of a mechanical issue. We decided to fly on a flight that was just a little bit later but would still have sufficient time to make our connection in Montreal. Unfortunately this flighted ended up being delayed by a couple of hours and a connection the same day would not be possible. Spending a night in Montreal would be fine as it would give us an opportunity to visit this beautiful city. We tried to remember when we were last there together and were surprised that it was before we were married over 35 years ago. It was definitely time  to spend a day there!

We stayed in an airport hotel and used their  shuttle service. As it was already after ten in the evening there was not much to do except go to bed. The days of heading to Crescent street (for those familiar with Montreal) have long passed!  After a good night sleep and a solid hotel breakfast, we took the shuttle back to the airport and caught the 747 city express bus (well named) to downtown Montreal. We had a great day exploring old Montreal. We were really impressed with the history of the Saint- Anne`s  Market Era from 1832 to 1849.  From 1844 to 1849 this significant building,  originally a market,  housed the parliament of Canada.  Unfortunately it was burned down in 1849 by rioters. It seemed to us that this turn of events had a profound impact on the history of Canada and we wondered if Canada might have maintained its Federal Government in Montreal if the circumstances had been different. Today the area is a park with a small museum explaining the the history and the archeological work that has been completed in the area.

Express bus from Montreal Airport to downtown. It takes abot 30 minutes and an all day transit pass is only $11.
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Saint-Anne`s Market is an interesting piece of Canadian history. We were also amused that the original market contained 43 butcher stalls, 3 poultry stalls and only 3 double stalls for green grocers. They must have loved their meat!
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Old Montreal.
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A cruise ship in the port. Scott sat beside a man on the airplane who was boarding this ship today. Ports of call included Charlottetown, Halifax and Sydney as it made its way to Fort Lauderdale.
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Habitat 67.
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Keith AdamsStriking, but not in a way I find attractive.
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9 months ago
Pat on a pier above a nice park by the St. Lawrence River.
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Montreal skyline.
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Another very nice park in Old Montreal. We were quite impressed with the area.
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Lunch stop. You can buy 3 or 5 litre jugs and pour them yourself.
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Montreal was quite busy on this warm sunny Sunday.
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After a nice pub lunch at 3 Brassarie we made our way back to the hotel to collect our stored carry on luggage. At the airport the previous night we did discover that our bikes were still in Vancouver and a baggage report would need to be completed at our destination of Toulouse in order to get them moving. With three  days planned in Toulouse before starting our ride, we were hoping that this could be resolved quickly.

Back at the Montreal  airport for a 19:30 flight to TLS, we sat down at the gate an hour before flight time. We then received a text from our airline that our flight had been cancelled! With only one flight a day this was obviously not good. We tried to cancel our hotel booking in Toulouse with no luck - that is another story. Think fast, what are we going to do?   A flight for Geneva was leaving in an hour so we decided we would go to GVA and make our way from there to Toulouse when we would arrive the following day.

On a bright, sunny Monday morning we walked off the aircraft with our carry on baggage and booked the only direct flight from GVA to TLS  offered that same afternoon. We have been to the Geneva airport a couple of times before and like it's small, easy to navigate feel. The train station is also connected to it and there are a number of shops in both facilities. In our sleep deprived  but anxiety heightened state, the time went by quite quickly. 

WTF? How did we get here?
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We finally arrived at our destination in TLS around 17:30 Monday evening - about 48 hours after starting this journey.  We immediately stopped at the baggage services desk to report our missing bags. Discovering that this was an unmanned service, we used the kiosk to provide all the relevant information. On the positive side, we had been receiving texts from our airline informing us that the bags were already in transit and could possibly arrive the following day. But the information was limited and it was not clear if all four bags were actually moving.

Final approach before landing at the Toulouse Airport.
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Baggage services these days are likely to have no one there.
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Keith AdamsGiving the lie to the "service" part of the equation.
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9 months ago
Just fill out this automated form and hope for the best.
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Now this is more like it! We finally arrive at our destination.
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As we only had carry on baggage we we took transit into the city. We discovered that the T2 tram line was not in operation and we needed to use a substitute routing. Always up for a transit challenge we took a bus, connected to the T1 tram, connected to the metro subway line A and then connected to metro line B to our hotel. We had some help solving the transit puzzle and it was a fun way to start our time in Toulouse. We always enjoy using local transit when possible to get around. 

Start with the number 31 bus we were told and take it to the T1 tram.
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Suzanne GibsonI, too, love figuring out public transit.
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9 months ago
Keith AdamsReminiscent of the Monty Python sketch about navigating British trains.
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9 months ago

Walking to our hotel we passed a busy pub with lots of outdoor seating. We were lucky to be able to grab a table at The Botanist just as another party was leaving.  There, we enjoyed a great introduction to Toulouse outside on this warm evening in France. After a quick couple of pints it was dark as we completed the last 400 metres to our hotel. We checked in and straightened out a mix up that seemed to have occurred when cancelling part of our stay that cost us a night's rent. But we were now at our destination and had no idea when our bikes and assorted kit would arrive. We will need to wait here until they do. Of course, we have about a week's worth of downstream hotel rooms booked that will need to be cancelled if we are unable to get the bikes pronto. What a messy (and more expensive)  start to this tour!

A great night to be at the Botanist Pub in lovely Toulouse.
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David MathersCheers 🍻 hope your bikes show up soon. Have a great tour!
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9 months ago
Rate this entry's writing Heart 14
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Scott AndersonWhat a horrible start! Sympathies for such bad luck, and glad to see that Pat is still smiling. Here’s hoping your bikes show up tomorrow.
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9 months ago
Rachael AndersonWhat bad luck! Hopefully, this means the rest of the tour will go smoothly!
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9 months ago
Suzanne GibsonHope your bikes arrive soon! But Toulouse is a great place to wait.
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9 months ago
Jacquie GaudetArriving without bikes is always our concern! It’s why I like to allow a bit of time in the arrival town—that and jet lag, of course.
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9 months ago
Betsy EvansYikes! What a start to your trip. Hopefully the bikes show up soon.
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9 months ago
Kathleen ClassenOh my goodness! That is one of the worst airlines stories I have heard in a long time. Air Canada I assume. Not that it seems to make much difference these days. And to be fair, AC did get us to Barcelona, through Montreal, with the bikes this trip. I am admiring your resilience and cheered when I read your next post.
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9 months ago
Patrick O'HaraUgh...Sorry to hear about all that! Now, that that's out of the way, you'll only have good luck and strong tail winds for the entire tour.
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9 months ago
Barry DevlinThe travel gods do not appear to be happy. But you're in France now and hopefully nothing more can go wrong.
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9 months ago
Keith AdamsWhat a saga!
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9 months ago