19 April 2013

The 6:30 a.m. arrival

My flight landed at Roissy yesterday morning at 6:30 a.m. That's a great time of day to be at Roissy and to travel into Paris by RER train.

There was no line at all at passport control — I breezed right through. At baggage claim, my bag was the third one to come down the chute and fall onto the conveyor belt. I grabbed it and headed for customs. Again, there was nobody home. I waltzed through the customs hallway and was outside of the secure area, a free man again, before 7:00 a.m.

Through a blur of jet lag, I enjoyed seeing a lot of flowers on my walk with Callie yesterday afternoon.

By 8:00, I was at the Gare d'Austerlitz. The RER train hadn't been crowded at all, and I was able to handle my heavy suitcase (51 lbs.) and my two carry-on bags pretty easily. I didn't have to walk up any stairs in RER stations, and I only had to haul my bags down one short staircase at Austerlitz. That was the right direction — down. Everywhere else, I found working escalators and elevators.

Callie was happy to see me. She sang and howled at me in greeting when I came through the front door.

There was a train from Austerlitz to Vierzon (instead of Blois) at 8:42 a.m., and it was direct and non-stop. Great! The train to Blois was scheduled to leave an hour later, and I would have had a one-hour layover in Orléans. So Vierzon was the best choice, and it is only 35 miles east of Saint-Aignan on the Cher River. I called Walt and he was there at Vierzon to meet me at 10:15. He drove me home.

Everything burst into blossom during my two-week absence.

Avoid the crowds and the lines — arrive early. If you can get a flight that puts you at Roissy before 7:00 a.m., you'll find it easy to make your way into Paris by train or taxi. Paris doesn't get up and busy very early in the morning. Tomorrow I'll tell you about the 82-year-old man who told me his life story (a tale of woe) on the train from Paris to Vierzon.


  1. Welcome Home... of course Callie sang to you... her "pack" was complete again... BCs hate it when part of the pack isn't there.

  2. Welcome home Ken! Hope you'll get over that jetlag soon :) Martine

  3. Welcome home. I'm sure you are finding it completely transformed -- nothing to do, since Walt worked steadily in your absence and it's SPRING! At last!

  4. Welcome home! What a great welcome you got from Callie :-)

  5. Awwwww, Callie is so sweet!
    I'm so glad for you that your travels home were so smooth!

  6. Contente de te savoir bien rentré ;-)
    Bises à vous deux !

  7. Glad that you're back home safe and sound.
    What a lovely greeting from Callie..she must have missed you terribly.

  8. i loved the "waltzing" part the best... welcome home!

  9. I had one of those early flights and when I got to the RER the gate was wide open, so I got to keep my tickets- you probably remember that, Ken.

    Love seeing happy Callie and the Spring photos.

  10. isnt it wonderful to have someone howling you a welcome home

  11. What do you bring back from NC that weighs 51 lbs?? Food, clothes, house items? The best part of returning home is sleeping in your own bed. And it looks like spring has sprung.

  12. Evelyn, I do remember that trip. I benefited, because you gave me the unused tickets.

    Jacquie: DVDs, clothes, jars of sauce, two pounds of NC barbecue, camera lenses for Walt, and on and on. Everything made the trip safely, I'm happy to say.

  13. I'm always amazed at French customs control (or the lack thereof) at CDG. At most, I've seen 3 or 4 agents standing around a table off to the side, chatting and joking amongst themselves, as thousands of passengers with their bags filled with agricultural products, luxury items, etc. simply walk out into "la salle des pas perdus" and disappear into the ether. It probably doesn't mattter what items people bring into France. It just strikes me as strange when compared with the scrutiny one gets when entering the U.S.
    (P.S. Profitez bien du printemps en Val de Cher!)

  14. The family is complete again and very happy to have you back Ken! Looking forward to the train story on tomorrow's post.
    (Dean, you are so right about french customs).

  15. Bonjour Dean,

    Premièrement, qu'est-ce que c'est qu'un "woodser"?

    Deuxièmement, I agree with your point about French customs. Only once in 40 years have I been stopped and searched at customs when entering France through CDG airport. That happened just a few years ago and I think I blogged about it.

  16. Bonjour Ken,
    You mentioned in your blog the brogue spoken in the Outer Banks. It reminded me of a documentary I saw about it years ago. Here are a couple of clips that I thought were fascinating. (I love that there are still regional differences in accent, despite the pervasiveness of radio, TV, and the internet.)


    More on the "Hoi Toide" brogue

  17. Thanks Dean, I don't know "woodser" but I do know "dingbatter" and especially "ditdot" — as in "Ditdot boat leave yet?" Tourists ask that question.

    There are degrees of accent up and down the NC coast, and vocabulary differs from one place to another. "Mommuck" or "mommick" is common nearly everywhere. But it's not "hoi toide" — "high" doesn't rhyme with "boy" — the vowel is different. It's more like "awe-eye" than "oy"...

    I once met an older woman touring around the ghost town of Bodie in California. I talked to her for a few minutes, and finally asked her if she was Australian. That's what her accent sounded like to me. "No, I'm from North Carolina," she said. She was from the mountains in western NC. So there are different accents up there too.

    The Promise Landers definitely have an accent similar to people from Atlantic, Cedar Island, Harkers Island, Ocracoke in NC. But each village has its own variant of the accent.

  18. Why did you have two carry-on bags? Most airlines clearly state "one" carry-on bag.

  19. Starman, each passenger is allowed one carry-on bag and also one 'personal item' -- a purse or a briefcase, for example. Mine was the latter, and it was stuffed pretty full.


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