Day 0: Cobble Hill to in the air over Paris - Grampies Go Valencia to Paris: Spring 2024 - CycleBlaze

February 6, 2024

Day 0: Cobble Hill to in the air over Paris

We're off! (Photo credit Marvin Paxman)
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Sue PriceThat's a familiar looking picture!
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2 months ago

SeeOur friend Marvin showed up to give us a lift to the ferry, in the dark and cold of early morning.  We are so sorry to be dragging him out, but since he is such a good friend it was fun just talking to him as we battled rush hour traffic, passing near Victoria before heading on north to the ferry terminal.

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Quite a long line of people were assembled as walk-ons to the otherwise car ferry. Perhaps it reflects a trend away from using the car? On board we stood out a bit, with our yellow outfits and bike bags, and naturally attracted some questions. One couple had travelled a lot in Europe, so we enjoyed exchanging stories about various places.  For example they asked if we had been to the walled town of Obedos, in Portugal. We denied it, until it popped up as we were showing them one of our blogs. To be fair, we had looked at the town and swung around it. For some reason we had thought of it more as a roadblock than an attraction

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Here is the boat and the beautiful waters of home.
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Some people choose to live on small offshore islands.
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There were of course many gulls around. We know there are several varieties, but have not yet learned to distinguish them. This was not the time to start.
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Not really sure what the black birds on this little island we passed were.
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Karen PoretWhat? No reply from Bill?
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2 months ago

We lined up to exit the ferry at Vancouver, but the line did not move. We observed a ferry worker whacking on something with a sledge hammer. It seemed unwise to disassemble the boat while we were still on board. As we drew closer, it seemed that perhaps the anchor chain did not want to unwind. A sledgehammer seemed then like a good tool. The problem eventually attracted six or ten workers. Dodie thought my solution of throwing a rope onshore would not have been effective to secure the huge boat.

That is quite a chain!
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Bill ShaneyfeltPut that on a bike and it will never wear out! Or move, for that matter...
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2 months ago

On the trip by bus and Skytrain to the airport we encountered other travelers - one from Hawaii, one heading to Mesa, Arizona, and one from France - St. Jean Pied de Port!  who was on his way to Australia. We got to speak French to him, and to not speak Spanish to another one, from Mexico City.  But already we were having our horizons lifted, compared to sticking at home.

At the airport,  I was again struck by the wealth of local indigenous carving that is displayed all around. Usually I think that these could be a kind of in joke, because they almost all look unwelcoming.  On the other hand for all I know they are all made like that, perhaps to fend off strangers from nearby  villages?

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We had time to wait for our connecting flight through Calgary, and Dodie unwisely sent me off to find some drinks. I landed up at Starbucks and selected a small coffee, small orange juice, and a cheese danish. The cost was $Can 15. I looked at the receipt upon carrying my treasures back to our seats. The orange juice had cost $Can 7.40, or 10x the grocery store price. I know this because I looked it up, and then wrote  a flame to Starbucks. So the trip  is already providing material to be crabby about. Again, no such excitement back home, where we just buy the normal juice at the normal price, week after week.  Dodie soon demonstrated her own shopping prowess by finding a vending machine with orange juice for half what I had paid (or only 5x the "real" price). Ok Dodie!

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Karen PoretThe reason you went to Star YUCKS is why I don’t..too expensive and not worth their prices…ever. Ok, off my soapbox, but, I agree sometimes you just need a coffee or other …Good for Dodie to find the “other” ..:)
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2 months ago

Dodie had sort of casually mentioned to Westjet that she would appreciate transport through the airport at Calgary, and it turned out that they laid on a great service, not only there but at Paris as well.

We anticipated seeing the mountains as we flew toward Calgary, but mostly they were covered by cloud. It did clear for a bit, and we got a peek at them.

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On the ground at Calgary, it was to be expected that we would see snow, because after all this is Canada in Winter. But it's still notable for people from the mosty green Vancouver Island.

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The Calgary airport was surprising, for its size and glitter. I guess the last time we were anywhere near Calgary was about 40 years ago, when it must have been a lot smaller.

The lift we got from Westjet involved a lot of elevators and turns, plus a ride on a sort of internal tram system. It would have been tough to negotiate the way on our own, but of course Charles de Gaulle was still to come, and that is truly impossible!
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Karen PoretResembles the original People Mover at Disneyland, circa 1955!
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2 months ago
Calgary has the fancy duty free brands
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And stuff that speaks of Alberta
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 The Westjet plane to Paris was extremely large, with a good entertainment system and two meals. We liked it a lot.  And I learned something: Movies are usually categorized as Action, Horror maybe, Romance, Comedy, etc.  but here there was a category called AI. Times are changing fast!

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The movie Brian and Charles, that you can see among the choices, was a really quirky British one. In it, an eccentric junk collector in Wales puts together  a "robot" from a mannequin head and a washing machine. Dr. Frankenstein like, it comes alive, and like the robot in Short Circuit, learns by reading things like the dictionary. Spoiler alert, the junk guy, Brian, buys the robot, Charles, a ticket so that he can travel and see the world. Charles sends back postcards!

Charles, left, and Brian
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So now we have crossed a certain fair chunk of the world, and I am writing this from Paris. Hooray!

Tune in soon to see what happened in Paris, and beyond.

Wow, right over Greenland!
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Sue PriceBon voyage!!!! ❤️
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2 months ago
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Bill ShaneyfeltIt has been many years since I flew in to Paris... Not my favorite, for sure! Hope you endured it better than I did.
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2 months ago
Suzanne GibsonWelcome to Europe!
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2 months ago
Jacquie GaudetI though you were going to try the Hullo ferry?
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2 months ago
Karen PoretTo Jacquie GaudetThey went “goodbye” on the Hullo, Jacquie ;)
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2 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Jacquie GaudetHullo Ferry maybe next trip. We are already booked on a return flight from Paris to Victoria, so a car left in Nanaimo makes little sense this time round.
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2 months ago