Friday, August 24, 2007

The most gut-wrenching 10 minutes in my recent past: Leaving Ile d'Yeu

To get from Ile d'Yeu to Paris, first you must take a 35 minute ferry ride to Fromentine, and then, if one is using public transport, a bus to the train station in Nantes. Jacqueline & Pierre decided that they would accompany me and see me off at the train station in Nantes.

We took the 10:30 ferry. As we left, someone on the pier was waving an American flag. Jacqueline & Pierre decided it was in my honor. Anyway, we arrived in Fromentine just after 11:00 a.m. Because they don't keep a car on the mainland, Jacqueline & Pierre rented a car for us. The drive to Nantes took a little less than an hour.

After arriving in Nantes, the plan was for us to get lunch and then go to the train station. It was raining and the wind was blowing and it was COLD! Seriously, the weather was like October. We parked the car and went to find a restaurant. Because it was Monday and also during August vacations, most restaurants were closed, including all of the ones that the family was familiar with. The only restaurant near the car park that was open was a kebab restaurant. Jacqueline suggested it, but Pierre cried, "Alas! We aren't going to eat just anything!" Apparently, kebabs are not high up on the French culinary scale.

We finally found an open bar/restaurant about six or seven long blocks away (and they felt even longer in the rain!). This restaurant didn't have a menu, but rather gave you two choices for a three course lunch. For appetizer you could have a greek salad, or a type of fish pate. For the main course the choice was some sort of beef entree or turkey curry with rice. The choices for dessert were an apple tart or turkish yogurt with a honey-apricot coulis. Nice meal.

It was then time to go to the train station. From the car park to the train station, I concentrated hard on not crying, repeating to myself "don't cry, don't cry, don't cry." We arrived at the train station, parked, got my luggage out, entered the train station, stamped my ticket on the machines on the quay, and found the train. Of course, I'm still chanting to myself, "don't cry, don't cry, don't cry." I figure if I can just get on the train, I'll be OK.

We find the train, store my luggage, find my seat and I kiss and hug Jacqueline and Pierre goodbye. Now crying - mantras don't really work.

They left the train, but instead of leaving the station, Jacqueline & Pierre stood on the quay and waved to me until the train left - for ten minutes. Every time I would look out the window and see them, I'd start crying again.

I think I like airplanes better. Once you board, you can't actually witness everyone you are leaving behind.

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