Each year, as time and money allows, we return to our little house in Argenton-sur-Creuse, France.
We take the local train to Southern Cross Station in Melbourne (Australia), then board the Sky Bus for the 20 minute ride to Tullamarine airport ($18 per person one way – however, a return ticket saves you a few dollars).
Two plane rides later (this time with Malaysia Airlines, via Kuala Lumpur), totalling 23 hours in the air, punctuated by meals, movies, and naps and there you are, safely deposited on the other side of the world. Amazing.
I found the entire trip quite easy and enjoyable. I guess I must getting used to it.
My top tips:
- before boarding each flight go for a brisk walk around the terminal – taking turns to mind the cabin bags if you have a travelling companion so you can “go hard”
- drink plenty of water throughout the flights
- move and stretch often
- take advantage of the “lights out” period to get as much sleep as possible during this “quiet” time – which coincides with night-time at your point of arrival
Interestingly, every movie I watched contained a similar thread and I’m sure I will remember them merged into one long elaborate story. It was just as shame that announcements from the captain came through my earphones at an uncomfortably loud volume, but I learnt to quickly pull them out of my ears as the familiar crackle signalled yet another interruption. It was my only complaint.
Once off the plane, take your time. There is no need to rush around or get impatient going through immigration. Your luggage will take ages to reach the carousel anyway. Welcome to France.
Arriving in Paris early in the morning and having booked an evening train down to Argenton, we had the day at leisure in this beautiful city. With no pre-determined agenda for the day you could say we “chilled out” in Paris – the weather was understandably brisk, being well into winter – although much milder than we had expected.
We only had 80 euros on us and no access to our French bank account (as our debit card had expired during our prolonged absence) but I thought that would be plenty. However, by the time we paid for €9.50 to store our luggage at the “Consignes” at Gare d’Austerlitz, another €13.70 for a carnet (pack of 10) metro tickets, and a sojourn at Macca’s to use their wi-fi (I love the way the French say “wee-fee”), then enjoyed a main course and a glass of wine at Le Royal Pereire for lunch at around €40, we were left with just a pocketful of change to buy a baguette, ham and cheese for a light dinner while we waited for our train in a new heated waiting area at Gare d’Austerlitz. (All was well when we arrived at our house, where we found our new debit card patiently waiting for us.)
After our day of meandering, we were glad to board the intercity train – although there was confusion when the carriage numbers did not correspond with the “Voiture” number on anyone’s tickets. We boarded number 17 though our ticket said 7 and our 2 randomly numbered seats were side by side so we figured we were in the right carriage. We heard an announcement (in French of course) which, as far as I could understand, told us to sit anywhere, and the conductor who checked our tickets was happy, so all was well.
Tony quickly drifted off to sleep and I busied myself on my laptop as the 2 1/2 hour train trip (direct to Argenton) slipped by.
Suitably refreshed, and excited to finally be back in Argenton-sur-Creuse, we walked our cases to our house, clattering along in the night.
Home at last.