Happiness is sitting at Dulles, Washington, DC airport and hearing, “Sheila Simkin, please come to the podium”…only to find out you have been upgraded to business class because coach was oversold.. Oh bliss and joy…
Even when things go perfectly, it’s a very long night and day of travel. At Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, both suitcases plopped off the conveyer belt immediately, took the inter-terminal train between Terminal 1 to Terminal 2 where the TGV’s and RER (to get into Paris) leave from and got in line to validate the France rail pass. (Download Sheila’s Easy Guide: European Trains.) The train to Perpignan sped in to Terminal 2 TGV station at 9:30 a.m. and set off on the four-hour journey to Montpellier where we’d have to change trains. An hour wait and on to the next TGV to Perpignan. Seat reservations are compulsory on all TGV’s and both trains were completely sold out.
At the Perpignan train station, another 1:15 wait for the regional TER with one last 20-minute ride to Collioure. The long journey was almost finished, and it was a good thing we arrived while it was still light. There was no one in the train station to ask directions, or even taxis outside. TIP: Print off a town map and instructions to find your hotel before you leave home. It was invaluable.
According to the map, it was three-block walk to Hotel Les Templiers located on the Quai de l’Amiraute facing a canal leading into the Mediterranean. Jet lagged and confused, we kept asking and showing the hotel name to person after person, but still had trouble finding it. Finally, the Hotel Les Templiers.
A charming place, the bar decorated ceiling to floor with paintings…View image…and several annexes. The person in charge spoke fractured English. I spoke fractured French and we understood each other perfectly. A large envelope with topographic maps of France and Spain, along with detailed walking instructions (in English) was waiting for us and he escorted us to an annex a few meters away from the main hotel. Into the room absolutely exhausted with no time to change for dinner, we rushed to the dining room and snarfed down a really good half liter of red wine…View image, calamari, some sort of lamb stew, Creme Brulee (referred to as “Creme Catalayan” in this section of France), and the waiter automatically brought plain tap water to all tables.
Done eating, we’d unpack and explore Collioure tomorrow. For now, a sleeping pill. Whether you are lucky enough to fly Business Class or Economy, there’s just no getting around jet lag.