Greetings from Paris!
France, not Texas…
Lady Cat 6 and Sponsor successfully completed our journey from outer space a to Europe! It took a bit of time, and involved a few days of making lemonade (why does life never hand you junipers, so you can make some gin?!), but here we are, enjoying the sights, sounds, and tastes of “Paree”!
We left fair Whidbey Isle on Sunday (September 13) on a C-40 bound for Norfolk. Plan A was to have a car staged in the parking lot of the Norfolk air terminal (yes), overnight at Ely Hall (yes), easy drive to Dover on Monday and overnight at the Eagle’s Rest on base lodging (YES! DV – DISTINGUISHED VISITOR – SUITE!), then on to McGuire on Tuesday for two flight possibilities to Ramstein (no, and no).
Fortunately, we secured lodging at the All American Inn on base. Unfortunately, our DV treatment did not continue. The standard room was very nice, however, and I was not made to feel fat and guilty for not using the exercise bike that apparently is standard furnishing for more distinguished patrons.
Plan B: return to the terminal Wednesday (no, and no, again).
I did have the pleasure Tuesday of meeting a few blog-followers and Facebook friends in person at the terminal. After being passed over for flights two days in a row, we all drowned our sorrows together in beer, wine and schnitzel at Sebastian’s Schnitzel Haus (BYOB), just outside the Fort Dix gate Wednesday evening. A tantalizing taste of Germany in New Jersey!
There were no flights forecast on Thursday, so, Plan C: hit the Jersey Shore for the day. A delicious seafood lunch at the Blue Water Cafe on Long Beach Island, followed by some sun and fun – fun, except for me being stabbed in the foot by someone’s rogue attack kite plummeting out of the blue – were the perfect antidote to having been cooped up in the terminal.
Friday felt lucky for Plan D – FOUR flights to Ramstein on the forecast! Our new friends, who had earlier sign up dates than ours, were selected for the first flight – a C-17; yes, you know, my favorite. We hit pay dirt with the second, a KC-10 tanker with 69 seats! There were only 39 passengers, including several who arrived at the last minute on a flight from Charleston. I met two more friends from Facebook who had taken the Charleston-McGuire flight – this was becoming quite the “get acquainted” tour!
It took four days, from Tuesday until Friday, to catch our hop to Ramstein. Not great, but not bad, either, considering we were hitting the very beginning of Cat 6 travel season and had to contend with the remainder of summer Cat 3 and 4 travelers!
We arrived at Ramstein at around 10:30 Saturday morning. Immigration and customs were quick for such a small flight, and we were checked into our room and ready to nap by lunch time.
A couple hours of sleep later, we were up and about again. We had made a date to meet some MORE until-then virtual friends who had just come from Paris, to chat about their experience. Among other suggestions, they recommended a great little hotel we would check out and check in to for the duration of our visit!
Promptly at 7 last Sunday morning, the alarm roused us for our travel day to Paris. A short taxi ride from lodging dropped us at the little Ramstein train platform. Two connections (Landstuhl and Saarbrucken) and a little less than 3 hours later, we arrived! We’ve been going nonstop in the City of Lights ever since!
It’s been a wonderful week, and there’s much more of the country yet-to-see. Tomorrow, we’re off to Bayeux and the Normandy Landing beaches, followed by the Chateaux of the Loire, and other fine French adventures before returning our rental car in Strasbourg and heading back to Ramstein to re-launch into outer space a for our return home.
Vive La France!