|After we returned home and I sat down to put some of this material together, I realized that when we were walking along the riverfront of the Garonne River in Bordeaux, we were almost surely walking along the same ground that my mother's (Bertha Claire Dugas) ancestors walked.
Abraham Dugast (b. 1616) emigrated from Toulouse to Acadia in the early 17th century. His line later migrated to Louisiana where Evrard Dugas (my grandfather) met and married Bertha Claire Sanarens whose ancestor, Jean Baptiste Sanarens (b. 1843), had also emigrated from Toulouse and settled in Louisiana.
In those days, the only sensible way to leave the country from Toulouse, would have been to go down the Garonne River from Toulouse to Bordeaux from where ships could sail the Atlantic.
|Walking down the Esplanade des Quinconces.
Port and Garonne River directly across the street.
|These bays were used by the Germans to dock their submarines for repairs during World War II.|
|For centuries, winemakers lived above, worked below and shipped their product out the arches onto the gangplanks. Garonne River used to come to the curb.|
|Bridge cross the River Garonne|
|We were walking: spires of Notre Dame Cathedral.|
|Well, no one else is parking here...it's my place!|
|The Lion in the Room.|
|Fresh, roasted chicken.|
|Sunday Market in Bordeaux.||More Fresh Fish|
|Across from the fish market is a park featuring a monument to the Girondins, the French Revolutionary party of change. Lady Liberty soars above it, while the bronze sculptures are some of the few remaining after the Germans scrapped as much as they could recycle for the war.|
|Montesquieu, (left) was a French political thinker who lived during the Enlightenment. He is famous for his articulation of the theory of separation of powers. Facing him from across the park is de Montaigne, (right), one of the most influential writers of the French Renaissance. Montaigne is known for inventing the essay as a form of literature. He was Mayor of Bordeaux, 1581-84.|
|We have seen many churches and cathedrals, but the charm and beauty of St. Andrews Cathedral in Bordeaux was really striking. From the chandelier to the beauty of the interior seating, to the pipes of the organ to the statue of Joan of Arc, the warmth and beauty of the church is memorable.|
|Welcome to Bordeaux ! ! !|
|Our guide at Chateau Haut-Brion. It is owned by the family of the former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Douglas Dillon.|
|An old time wine crusher, 30-40 turns to crush 1,000 pounds of apples and make 100 gallons of apple juice a day.|
|Large stainless steel vats that produce a whole lot more wine than the stone roller. :-)|
|The Vines of Haut-Brion, manicured, trimmed, watched and measured daily.|
|GRAPES READY.....ALMOST READY....SOON...|
|Rocky soil is desirable, rocks absorbing heat during the day and shedding it during the night. Vines are trimmed low, to keep the grapes close to the heat.|
|Making the barrel.||Making the wine.|
|It was a pretty good year.|
|From Bordeaux, we cruised to Guernsey, and visited St. Peter's Port. Nice place to visit, and even if you wanted you could not live there...you can work there for 9 months, then you have to go home. I'll send this idea to the U.S. Congress. It is a beautiful, "small feeling" city, and we visited a very small chapel along our way.|
|St. Peter's Port, Guernsey Island|
|The Little Chapel is 16 ft. long and 10 feet wide. Begun in 1914, it was built almost entirely by Brother Deodat, who wanted to make a miniature version of the grotto at Lourdes, France. It is composed of seashells, pebbles and broken china. The china on the steps are exclusively pieces of broken Wedgewood China.|
|From Guernsey, we sailed to Dover, took a ride across London, put up at the Hilton adjoining Heathrow and held our breath hoping that we would get out of London without complications and get home with minimum stress. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! ! ! My account is below. Bye for now. We will be back in a few months I hope. Dick|
|THE FLIGHT FROM HELL THAT WAS NO ONE'S FAULT|
|We chose to leave the ship in Dover and spend the night at the Hilton next to Heathrow, so that we would not have stress in getting to the plane on time. There were three flights on Air France going to Paris where we were to catch our flight home. Ours was the third scheduled, so we walked to the AF counter on Aug. 31 and confirmed that if our flight were delayed, (we would know that by 8:00 a.m. next morning, September 1), we could catch an earlier flight to make our connection. We felt we were in good shape.
Next morning, we got up at 6:30 a.m., and took a taxi to our Terminal at Heathrow; we checked in; our scheduled flight was on time, in fact, the plane was there waiting for us. On our boarding pass was the statement that we would be arriving in Concourse 2E, and our departure to America was in Concourse 2F.
HOWEVER, it also stated that due to renovations occurring at Charles DeGaulle Airport, one would have to deplane on the tarmac, be bused to the terminal, admitted to a non-secure area, reboard a shuttle which would take us to our new Concourse location, 2F, and then we would have to walk back into the terminal, go through security again, then hunt down our gate, Number 74. It said that this would take a minimum of 45 minutes.
This meant that in real terms, we could not possibly make our connection....but no way to go anywhere else, so we got on board and hoped.
Our layover time in Paris was 65 minutes. While the flight schedule showed that it would take an hour, we were told by our bursar that it was actually only a 35 minute flight and not to worry....right. We could still make it.
Well, AF boarded very efficiently, and at 10:15, our roll away time, everyone was seated. Then, an official came into the plane and told the bursar that there were 20 people whose planes arrived late, and that we were going to wait for them. They dribbled in over the next 25 minutes, and then we pushed away. We taxied to line up for take off and spent 20 minutes waiting our turn. It was now 11:00 a.m. Our flight to the U.S. was due to depart at 1:10 p.m.
However, we lose an hour flying to Paris, so our effective departure from London was actually NOON. We had to fly to Paris (35 minutes air time), and get through the terminal to Gate 74 (45 minutes). Forty-five and 35 make 80 minutes. We could not possibly get to Gate 74 before 1:10 pm, the exact time our plane was scheduled to depart. But boarding ends before the pull away. Would they wait for us, as our plane had waited nearly 1/2 hour for others.?
I saw no hope. But our bursar said that AF usually would have someone waiting right on the tarmac to take us to our connecting flight in 2F, Gate 74, thus avoiding all of the delay in getting there. We had hope again.
Upon approach to Charles DeGaulle, arriving in 35 minutes, we were put on a hold pattern for another ten minutes. We were now effectively and officially 10 minutes late for our plane.
But, our bursar said that he had a transmission confirming that we would be met by AF personnel who would take us directly to our flight, thus avoiding the normal progression to get to the gate we needed.
In the normal progression, one has to grab the shuttle which would unfortunately travel counter-clockwise taking us from 2E to 2D, then 2C, then 2B, then 2A and then finally to 2F (which was actually just around the corner if you traveled in a clockwise direction). The system was exquisitely designed to make our connection the longest possible; truly, we had no hope without special transport waiting for us on the tarmac.
We looked out the window, and sure enough, there they were, 5 people from AF who were looking for passengers to take to their gate to catch their planes. We descended quickly, being the very first in line because of our seat assignment. We got to the bottom of the steps, and I looked for our name. It was not there.
I went to a woman holding a sign and asked about our need to get to 2F. "Too late", she said, "the door has closed". I knew what that meant...the door is closed, we are not getting on. They were not picking us up, though they were giving rides to others. How sad/frustrating/irritating/depressing.
So, we took the long, counterclockwise voyage across the tarmac, into the terminal, out of the terminal, on to the various gates in Terminal 2, until we finally got to 2F, (last), got out and were told to hurry.
We thought that, hope against hope, our plane was still there, waiting for us...so we hurried, lined up for security, which was extensive and confiscated my anti-hemehroidal cream, which I had true need of, and sent us through. We rushed down the hall and were encouraged to do so. We went down two flights of stairs, turned left and hurried down 4 gate portals to Gate 74. No passengers were in sight. I asked but was told, "oh, no, it left 20 minutes ago, please consult guest services".
We did, and asked if we could catch the next flight, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. that night. It was now 2:00 p.m.
The answer was yes, we could. HOWEVER, they had no business class seats available (a style we chose to use since the flight was so long), but they could put us in tourist on the second level of a 747 and they would reimburse us $1200 for the loss of our business seats. OR They would put us up in a hotel and put us on business seats the next day.
We discussed briefly, decided to take the money, suffer the misery and try to get ourselves home. She cut us vouchers for the reimbursement (redeemable at any AF ticket office and good for one year). Then she gave us vouchers for a meal while we waited and gave us boarding cards that were Standby Business Class which let us into the AF Lounge to wait out the afternoon. She was very nice, and we felt that we were being treated as well as possible given the situation, and I was able to lie on the floor of the Lounge and get 1.5 hours of sleep. Linda slept for about one hour while over the Atlantic and that was it for her on this trip home until we arrived in L.A.
Finally, at 6:45 p.m (we have been traveling now for nearly 12 hours), we got in line to board; Linda asked me to ask the ticket agent how we would be notified if available space showed up on business class. I asked. She said, after checking her monitor, that I should wait a couple of minutes and she would cut us boarding passes for business class. I rejoiced and waited.
Three minutes later, she picked up her purse, and left her station without any explanation at all....and SHE DID NOT COME BACK!! Another traveler and I waited, and finally I asked another AF employee who was doing something else, what happened to our agent. She consulted the monitor and cut us two new boarding passes, BUT, she said she had only one seat in business class, and one of us would have to sit upstairs in tourist. I asked Linda what she wanted to do, and we agreed to take the seats and share them, so that each of us could get some sleep on the way home, an 11 hour flight.
We rejoined the boarding line, and when we were about to step forward to submit our boarding pass, an AF agent came up to me (and how he knew who I was, I do not know), and said, "Mr. Snyder, I am sorry but the business class seat is no longer available, but I have reserved four tourist seats for you and your wife. You can each take a seat to lie across and will have more room for the crossing. We thanked him for his kindness, and I consoled myself with the thought of $1200 back.
We boarded, again being herded into a bus on the tarmac and driven to this monster plane (Boeing 747-400) because renovation to our terminal did not permit us to board from a walkway. Everyone had to climb the 40 steps up into the plane, including the aged, infirm, limping, wheelchair (had to walk or stay), and finally, at last, we were aboard the plane, and now I no longer cared if we were on time or anything...just get us home.
AF serves excellent food, has excellent personnel, and made our trip as best as possible....BUT...despite trying to drug ourselves to sleep, we could not escape into slumberland, so we turned and slouched, stretched and curled, walked the aisles, stood near the exits, tried to listen to movies (bad sound and bad movies), could not lie across a seat because the arm rests on the middle seats would not raise up. It was miserable, exhausting, ennervating... but we were on the way home.
We arrived in L.A. at 10:00 p.m, got our baggage, (thank God it was there...my bottom was most appreciative cause ointments were now available again), We went through customs, caught our shuttle, checked into the Radisson and finally got to bed at midnight.
We had been awake and traveling 25 hours, since we got up in London. It was nice to be home. We slept 4 hours, got up and drove home to Bakersfield, arriving here at 8:00 a.m. Now traveling 35 hours with 5.5 hours of sleep (Linda 5.0) Whew....Nice to be here.
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