The long journey is over and looking back it actually wasn’t too bad at all.
We left Christchurch on Monday morning (11th May) at a very pleasant departure time of 10.50am. So civilised. We flew Singapore Airlines to Singapore (approx 11 hours with the first hour being quite bumpy) and had a 7 hour stop in Singapore. They really do know how to occupy passengers in transit. Free movies, a butterfly garden, swimming pools. We queued up for our free shopping vouchers (available when you show your boarding pass at the iChangi counter) which bought us 2 hours in the Ambassador Lounge. Food, drink and, like a glowing beacon in the dark, showers! Beautiful rainfall showerhead, cosy towels. Bliss.
Back on board for another 13 hours 20mins. We had our boarding passes changed at the gate to exit row seats. Woohoo. We both popped sleeping pills on boarding and I completely crashed out for 7 hours. I am definitely doing that again. Is there any better feeling than waking up to find you slept most of those excruciatingly long hours and now, after a light breakfast, it will soon be over? That is gold, right there.
Arriving in Paris Charles de Gaulle at 7.30am we were again surprised at the easy immigration procedures. However the baggage collection was verrrry slow. We also had to stop by the Europcar counter. I booked a car to be picked up at Dijon railway station on Thursday. As it turns out, Thursday was Assumption Day. Another public holiday to add to Monday and the Monday before. May is all about holidays in France. Most businesses close including, as it turns out, car rental companies. Long story short (or is it too late?) the airport Europcar staff couldn’t help us because they don’t have email. They don’t have email? Really. Shame I had to queue for half an hour to find that out. Anyway we did eventually sort that out during our two days in Paris. We also visited the Jardin du Luxembourg, visited the L’eglise St Sulpice, ate at one of the the Rive gauche’s (left bank) lovely restaurants, made a small but perfectly formed purchase in Diwali, the famous scarf shop and generally just wandered the streets, enjoying Paris in the spring time. Not too many tourists, the weather was lovely.
Fountain in the Luxenbourg Gardens.
Saint Sulpice Catholic Church.
On Thursday we caught the TGV to Dijon where surprisingly, we did have a car to pick up! The GPS and instructions are in French but we survived and made it to St Jean de Losne without a scratch (compared to last year’s small debacle). We are now ensconced in our boat! Made it. More soon.!