Travel day - You lead me away from home, just to save you from touring alone - CycleBlaze

April 26, 2022

Travel day

A necessary evil

Sleep is never the best the night before the start of a trip. A list of endless items and tasks revolves through your head. Last minute things to turn off or on, final wardrobe changes and must have stuff  forgotten off the lists. When the alarm sounds waking you from your sleepless state, you begin the final stages for departure. Sleep will have to wait for the hours spent on the airplane.

We  are familiar with the airport routine. The booked taxi arrives three hours before flight time. Traffic is surprising light but it is only 7 am in the morning. Having completed all the pre registration vaccine and passport travel  requirements online, the check-in goes smoothly and we find ourselves in front of the subway sandwich stand only 45 minutes after leaving our house. The take onboard food is an important mainstay in the plan!  A message arrives on my phone advising that our checked bags are on their way to CDG. Check. Security seems slower today for travelers with Nexus cards but with loads of time we are not concerned. Pat reminds me that this is why we leave the house early. I  thought it was because trying to sleep was useless.

Our carry on are two panniers. The addition of the trolley has made moving through the airports much easier. The trolley will be left with our bike suitcases.
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Our first flight is on an Air  Canada 777 - 300 ER which departs on time and without an issue. The plane is huge and we are near the back end in row 60 on an aircraft that has 10 seats across in some places. Service, not that we need much, consists of one run through the aircraft to hand out a drink and offer to sell some food and a final run through to pick up the packaging. I do miss my business class days! But, for getting from A to B this is efficient and the first five hour flight passes quickly. With two aircraft doors used for unloading it takes 15 minutes for everyone to disembark. We have four hour wait in Montreal before we repeat the process.

We arrive in Paris and customs clearance is easy but with a lengthy queue. When we finally reach the baggage area, our bags have already been removed from the belt and placed on the floor. All present and accounted for. We have been to this airport before but need to reacquaint ourselves with the location of the train station. It is a bit of a walk. It all works well but the usual snags of ticket purchase and moving all our baggage  in areas where carts are no longer permitted is not without a strain. We bring along a small hand cart for this purpose but moving through the train turnstiles is difficult. Soon we have boarded a train and are off to Gare du Nord.

In front of Gare du Nord. This was taken in the evening as we explored the hood. With two train stations near by we expected a bit of a rougher area. There were the usual sights but not much out of the ordinary.
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We chose a chain hotel very near the station thinking that this would be easiest walk with the bags and suitcases. But, finding our way out of the huge train station proved the most difficult part. This is a big station full of wrong turns, wrong floors and misstarts. In and out of more turnstiles where all the baggage will just barely fit in the largest  unit. Eventually we see daylight and we head for it. Outside, it is just a short walk to our hotel and after some discussion they provide us with a ¨suite¨. It is really just a very dated second room  attached to a bedroom but will be perfect for the bike assembly. First we needed to have a nap.

The bike building goes without issue and they seemed to have made the journey fine. Looking out the window, we note that the Parisians are dressed warmly so we add a layer as we head out to explore the area. Heading away from the train station we find it to be an interesting walk in 10th Arrondissement of Paris.  The area feels quite local and not the touristy Paris. We stopped  at a local bistro and dined in a small enclosed space  that was protected from the weather.  We enjoyed a couple of appetizers with fresh whole wheat baguettes from the boulangerie located right across the street. We drank our wine and beer  as we watched the people on the street going about their business. Lots of people on bikes and scooters. We had arrived back in Europe.

The corner fruit stand.
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Tuck in away from the wind was a great spot for a bite to eat.
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Across the street from our restaurant. One of the best reasons to visit France.
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Wall art on Rue Lafayette in Paris.
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A bridge that crosses the tracks over Paris Du L` est train station is very near to our hotel.
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Our suite / bike building room. The extra space is very handy for all our preparations at the start of the trip.
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