Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Our trip to Europe - Chapter 7

Preface, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5 Chapter 6

We had to get up very early this morning in order to return our rental car at the Caen airport and then take a taxi out to the ferry terminal. We got to the airport and returned the car. I'm not sure we saw another living soul besides the janitor while we were there waiting for our taxi. We got some snacks from the vending machine, and soon our ride pulled up.

We told the driver we needed to go to catch the ferry to England, and though he didn't seem to speak a whole lot of English, he did seem to understand, and we were on our way. We drove until the lights of the city faded out and the road became more rural. Bubblehead and I are whispering to each other because we were worried the driver didn't understand where we needed to go, and we were on a time schedule here. At one point Bubblehead checked to be sure this guy was taking us to the right place. I don't know why we thought the terminal was much closer, but we did, and I was seriously worried that we were going to have to take another cab back to the correct place, and end up missing the ferry.

Turns out the driver understood better than we did, and we arrived in the right place with plenty of time to spare. We picked up our tickets which we had reserved online before leaving Denver, and then sat down to a little breakfast.

We boarded the ferry, settled into our assigned seats, although we had the entire room to ourselves. Once the ferry got underway we tried to nap, but couldn't sleep. We wandered through the gift shop (I found a Teletubbies sticker book for Ella), and we had lunch in one of the restaurants onboard.

I enjoyed our stay in France more than even I realized at the time, but I can't describe to you the feeling of relief I felt to be back among English speakers! I really felt the stress of not speaking the language, and when we arrived in Portsmouth and asked for directions to the train station with a reply in our own language, it was like a breath of fresh air.

The train station was close enough that we decided to walk the distance, Bubblehead pulling the suitcase behind him, and I following along lugging my backpack. After a short wait at the station we boarded the train to London. It was crowded, so thank goodness we were able to find one seat for me - I was ready to collapse! Bubblehead had to stand a lot of the way, until he found a seat not terribly far from me. I spent the train ride reading my book, and trying to ignore the conversation of the people sitting next to me.

When we arrived in London we found a cab to take us to our hotel. I remember the driver was very friendly, although I don't remember the conversation. Checking in at the hotel took forever. I was so happy to finally get up to our room and lay down. I was even able to watch, or more importantly understand, television!
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