I’m standing in line at Lisbon airport, rather sad to be leaving this beautiful city. Blip, blip, blip…goes the scanner as it registers the boarding passes of those standing before me. Bah, bah, bah goes mine. Oh crap – what’s happened? Why is my ticket going bah, bah, bah instead of blip? Have they found something in my luggage they don’t like? Have they oversold the flight and we have to stay? Oh, you have an upgrade to business class Mrs Keller! (there’s no Miss to be selected on the TAP Portugal website – maybe ‘misses’ don’t fly?). It takes a moment to register. Really? I ask, not quite believing that this could be happening to me. Does that include my Mum’s seat? I ask while the steward checks her ticket also. Yes, it does. Don’t get too excited Mum, remember the business class on the last flight still had three seats across and the meal on that flight was only half a sandwich. This flight is around the same amount off time, so it’s probably just like that but we’ll have a little more leg room.
We bus out to where the plane is standing on the tarmac and climb up the steps. Yes business class does in fact still have three seats across, but we are lucky that the row of seats we are both seated on (me on one side and Mum on the other aisle seat) has only two persons across the three seats. While I’m dining on my meal of salt cod confit and green salad, ricotta bauletti with bechamel sauce and pistachio and chestnut pudding with anise-flavoured yogurt cream (more than just a sandwich you’ll note!), I sip my sparkling wine and think, yeah this is the life. This never happens to me and I’m so glad Mum got to share in the excitement, grinning happily to herself, pleased as punch with the experience. We also managed to score two little bottles of vinegrette to add to our collection of cooking condiments!!
Touching down in Paris, we arrive into Orly airport and after waiting a stupid amount of time for our luggage, try to find out way to the shuttle bus service (Super Shuttle). Wrong location, wrong floor – what a schemozzle, but we eventually find our driver, well at least his van, and start chatting to a gentleman also standing by the van. We’re not really clear who this guy is, but we chat back giving him our details thinking he is with the shuttle company. No, he’s not. Just another passenger, but our driver is found and we are soon on our way.
Unfortunately today is a) the end of student study break b) a day of strikes in the centre of Paris and c) a beautiful day, which means EVERYONE is on the road in their cars and it takes forever to get where we need to go. Our new friend chats to us about this and that – he has been in Corsica for the last week, but hears the weather has been great the last couple of days in Paris. Upon exiting the van, he hands us his business card and tells us to call him if we have any problems.
Back on the road it’s just after 8pm when we reach Villa Montmartre, our home for the next four nights. Next problem – they close at 7pm. Our driver calls the owner and we have a quick chat. He’s in the centre of Paris, but tells us to wait because he’ll be 20-30 minutes away. When he arrives he is very apologetic that his staff never bothered to follow up our contact details. He notices my Pasteis de Belem bag and says proudly he is from Lisbon! He shows us how to use the after hours access and is excited to show us two surprises. The first is they have upgraded our room so we now have a bedroom and a pull out sofa in the living room of the apartment (YES! No more listening to Mum snore for the next four nights) and the second is that we have a beautiful balcony with a great view not only of the streets of Paris and its setting sun, but the beautiful Sacre Couer.
Wow, what a day. All we manage to explore tonight is the lift (tiny, think two persons max and you have to do a funny jump after the doors close to get it to go up) and the bar across the road. Can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds, but for now, I’m heading off to bed on my sofa bed looking out at the Sacre Couer.