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Bonjour, Paris (again)

The last stop on my gypsy travels through Europe is Paris. The first time around, I only got to explore the city for a few days, so there is a lot I still want to see.

My mom met me in Paris, and it was good but weird to see her. On the one hand, I’ve been away for three months. But then again, I’ve had the chance to see and talk to her over Skype pretty regularly. More than anything, now that my trip is nearing its end, I feel like it went by so freaking fast!

The flight from Warsaw was ok, although my trip started with having to pay over $100 for my overweight luggage. Hey, you accumulate a lot after three months of travel. Plus my grandma gave me a humongous suitcase that I can literally fit into!

Although the plane I was on was probably the smallest I’ve ever flown in, the flight itself was relatively ok. I think I actually prefer flying in those smaller jets. But this one only had three seats per row. And of course I was in row 13 again!

Flying into Paris

My mom and I reunited at our hotel, RelaisΒ du Marais. Our room is ok – a bit small and not in the most central location, but at least it’s very clean. And not across the street from non-stop construction. And close to the metro and busses. So overall, a pretty decent value.

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easyJet: not so easy

"If it don't fit, wear it!"

Our trip from Paris to Barcelona was another rational plan gone terribly, horribly wrong.

First, our flight was at 8 a.m., so we woke up at 5:30 a.m. Getting up that early is never fun. Especially when you go to bed at 1 a.m. And even more so when you have to drag your luggage across the metro. It’s so early you just want to cry because you have to be up and haul shit around already.

By the time we left the hotel it was 6 a.m. Not to mention that our the elevator wasn’t even working yet at that hour and our hotel was still on lockdown for the night. But our receptionist finally dragged his ass out of bed to let us out, and of course the elevator started working as soon as we finished stumbling down the stairs to reception.

Luckily, we got to the metro and a train came right away. And when we transferred to the RER train that would take us to the airport, that came right away too. Which was a good thing, because we definitely hadn’t allotted enough time to get to the airport.

By the time we got off the train, it was 7 a.m. Then we still had to trek our way to our terminal. Now it’s 7:15. We approach the easyJet counter and there is a ridiculously long line. (Insert expletive here). We go all the way to the back of the line and realize there’s no chance in hell we’re making our flight at this pace.

So I find one easyJet guy to see if he can help us, and he informs us that luggage check-in for our flight closes at 7:20 a.m. (so in five minutes). Of course he has no authority, but he recommends that we ask the easyJet lady directing line traffic if she can help us.

This lady was not very nice. She basically just sent me back to the end of the line. Clearly, she did not like me very much, even though I was being my usual, charming self. Well, the feeling was mutual!

As we moved up slowly in line, approaching bitchy line traffic lady, Daniela looks at the screen and it says the flight to Barcelona was expected at 9:40 a.m. So we got some renewed hope that maybe we would make our flight after all, and wouldn’t have to book another one.

We finally checked in our luggage and confirmed our flight was delayed. Thank God easyJet isΒ as punctual as they are organized! But at check-in, the guy told me that I could literally only take one carry-on bag, so my little luggage and backpack wouldn’t fly (literally). “No problem,” I told him. “I can fit my backpack into my suitcase,” I added confidently.

Well, let me tell you, fitting all my shit into my already full luggage was not fun. I had to get a little creative and wear a few extra items (my new motto: if it doesn’t fit, wear it) and then sit on my suitcase to close it, PLUS carry a few things in my hand, but mission accomplished.

Success!

I won’t even get into details about the trauma of getting thoroughly felt up by the lady in security after the metal detector went off as I walked through.

Luckily, we got onto the plane early enough to sit together since it was free seating.

Then, of course I spent the remainder of the flight freaking out because of turbulence and my increasing fear of flying. Next flight, I’m popping a Vicodin to help me relax!

Anyways, we made it to Barcelona safe and sound, after a passionate political speech from the captain prior to take off about the necessity for Europe’s air traffic controllers to unite so we could avoid more delays during this busy traffic season.

Lesson learned: do not book your flight after a bottle of wine

I repeat, it is NOT a good idea to book your international flight (or any flight for that matter) after drinking a bottle of wine. Especially if you’re trying to coordinate your arrival with someone else. So, although Daniela and I are travel partners for three weeks, we ended up not taking the same flight over to London (which may have been a good idea to give ourselves some personal time before our journey). But we were planning to leave and arrive within an hour or so of one another.

So we each booked our flight accordingly, and thought everything was fine. A few weeks later, I double-checked my confirmation email, just in case, and noticed that my flight was exactly one day off from what I needed!

In my defense, I had booked the correct flight number, correct departure time and arrival time, just the wrong date by one day! Why do these airlines use the exact same flight numbers and times?? How was I supposed to know they do that??

Well, after talking to Expedia about my options, then waiting on hold for Aer Lingus for a good 30 minutes and having a futile conversation with an old Irishman, I finally paid the extra fees to have Expedia change my flight to the correct date.

Lesson learned: do not book flights after drinking alcohol.