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Back to Europe, New Destinations and Plans

January 11, 2002

(Written January 19)

Dear Friends and Family,

After a month, we left America much like we had left years ago - knowing we would miss family and friends but looking forward to the unknown before us. Christmas and the holidays generally had been very, very busy. The plans we'd had to catch up on these diaries and other chores fell through almost completely. America is just too busy. I don't know how people do it.

Our flight over to Paris was uneventful. The added security was pretty painless, especially since, by mistake, we went to the "premier flyer" line at Dulles airport. I swear it was just a hold over from the days when I commuted from that airport and never gave it a thought. It was nice to avoid the major lines but I don't really miss that 100,000 miles-a-year period. Business travelers earn those perks.

Our seats were OK, except for the grumpy lady in the bulkhead seat in front of us. We complained when she put stuff under her seat since my big feet needed space but she didn't understand. Oh well, a six hour flight seems pretty short and, even without the foot space, there's more room for me in the plane than in our car.

In Paris, we made the transfer to the high-speed train painlessly. The train itself was pretty empty and we could have caught up on our sleep except the guy across from us insisted on talking on his mobile phone most of the time. You know, the type that believes they have a right to speak into the air at full volume. Sometime this is even entertaining since the world learns one side of the private conversation, but today our noisy neighbor insisted on speaking unintelligible French. Oh well, a two-hour train ride is pretty short.

Back in Lyon, we checked into the Bayard Hotel and immediately went to see if our car was really safe and sound within the Garage Bellecour. When we walked in, Jean-Pierre greeted us like long lost friends. He seemed almost surprised that we actually showed up as planned. Or maybe disappointed because the Porsche was definitely sitting there ready for someone to drive it away. Him or us?

So, everything was in order. We were back "at home" on the Road Trip.

Tomorrow we would head to Avignon for our last French stop. Beyond that will be three or four stops in Spain and Portugal. We've resolved to take things in manageable steps so we've resolved to stay for several days in each place, even if it means we "see less". Basically, we will see more of fewer places but that's a lesson learned from Phase I.

Stay tuned for Phase II.


John and Marianne


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