Although I’d love to travel all over Europe, there’s really only one country that I’ve been dying to visit for years- France. Of course, Paris is truly my dream, but hey, anywhere in France sounded good to me. Thankfully, I was blessed with the privilege of spending the past 9 days in France. (Was only supposed to be 8… but we’ll get to that.) My mom’s parents wanted to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary, so they flew the whole family and a few other people from the wedding party out to the southern countryside of France. It was truly beautiful.

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We started out the week with a few days in a castle.

You think I’m kidding. But I’m not. Welcome to Chateau de La Cote in Brantome, France.
chateau de la cote france
While in Brantome, I explored the town, canoed on a little river in town, consumed the best ice cream I’ve ever had, and realized just how much I appreciate air conditioning.

Then We Moved to a More Modern Place

Chateau de la Sanse still did not have air conditioning, but at least all of the rooms had fans. While here (and at the last place), I partook in eating the greatest food known to mankind. Maybe I did eat a baby duck. Maybe I did eat a rabbit. Maybe I had amazing desserts that I cannot spell. It was excellent.
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In order to work off those calories I was consuming, I stayed active. I went canoeing down the Dordogne River… which ended up requiring much more effort than I used to canoe in the small “river” in Brantome (in comparision, that “river” was more like a creek). Canoeing was fun for about thirty minutes… then I became quite exhausted and spent the next hour and a half searching for the end. As if that wasn’t enough of an experience to point out how out of shape I am, I decided to go mountain biking. This was quite an adventure and also such a work out. However, even in the midst of all of this working out, I saw beautiful parts of the French countryside.

The nice part about this trip was that it was not rushed every day. There was not a set schedule of things you HAD to do every day. There was plenty of resting and sleeping involved on my behalf, and it was much needed. There were many games of Uno, “Kevin”, Resistance, Phase 10, and Pit.

And Then We Headed Home

Friday morning, at 6:30am (Bordeaux time), my family embarked to the Bordeaux airport to catch our flight to Paris, then from Paris to Atlanta. My mom’s brother’s family also headed out about 30 minutes behind us. Thanks to my dad’s Sky Priority status, we started off with a fast check in process. Eventually we were all at our gate, charging our electronics, anticipating a nice run to our connection in Paris, and ready to go. Then, our flight to Paris was delayed. At this point, we started investigating our options…. some of us were getting excited about potentially spending an extra day in Paris. Finally, our flight took off and we watched the time closely. Once we landed, we had about twenty minutes before take off of our next flight. Upon exiting the plane, we literally ran through Charles de Gaulle airport (please let me rant later about the inefficiencies and horrible layout of this place), sped through immigration, and sprinted to our gate. Only to arrive after the doors closed. Even though there were 11 of us who needed to get on that flight, they would not open the door to let us on.

My dad and my mom’s brother spent the next two hours (that’s no exaggeration) talking to AirFrance customer service to find out what our options were. Meanwhile, Melissa and I started making plans to see the Eiffel Tower. After all, if you have to be stuck for a day in a city, might as well be Paris, right? Eventually everything was sorted out for us all to catch the flight the next day to Atlanta. We were comped for meals and hotel rooms. So our next mission was to use the food vouchers. They could be used pretty much anywhere in the airport, but we actually had to find places that were open. At this point, the terminal area we were in was completely deserted and we had most of the airport completely to ourselves.

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Eventually we were able to find someone to show us where to go. So we followed their directions. Until we arrived at that location and someone else told us to do something completely different. Maybe the first person was just mistaken. So we followed the second person’s advice… until we arrived where they told us and were once again told to do something different. This literally happened about 5 times, until we finally found a restaurant and decided not to be picky so we sat down and at lunch at about 4:30. We then headed to the hotel which was just outside the airport. We set down our bags and decided to embark on a Parisian adventure for a few hours…. only to find the metro tickets costing nearly $25USD. We decided it was too late in the day and not worth it for only about an hour of exploring time.

So, we spent the night at the hotel and the next morning we made our flight to Atlanta with no more problems. After 9.5 hours on a plane, I was very much ready to be home. Later that day, we safely arrived in Knoxville, and only lost one piece of luggage (my dad’s tripod) and only had one damaged piece of luggage (also one of my dad’s bags). So all in all, it was a very eventful trip home. But now I am home safely. I slept in my own wonderful bed last night for 11 hours, and I’m already restless. I need another adventure. I love to travel, and am about to start counting down the days until Switzerland.

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(My sister and I finally on our flight to land of free and home of the brave…. 21 hours after we should have been.)

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