Saturday, January 29, 2011

Oh Woe! Tickets Bought, Plans Made, Visitors Scheduled

Nancy spent a lot of the last month on the inter-tubes buying airline tickets to Toulouse, as well as arranging accommodations for when we have to vacate our house in Leran, and also making arrangements for our Mexican trip such as ferry rides and overnight accommodations. I can barely remember how it was done before the internet? As I recall, there were two ways we dealt with it. One was the travel agent, a phenomenon that seems to be disappearing into oblivion now, almost as rare as a dial telephone. And two, we would just wing it. Instead of doing research and making reservations on the internet.....we'd just show up at the ticket counter of the ferry boat, bus terminal, train station or hotel and haul out the traveller's cheques (another travel staple that has all but disappeared).

As soon as those travel arrangements were made, we could tell our family and other potential guests when they could come visit. As of today, we are very excited to have my youngest sister Amy and her family arriving in July, sandwiched in between two trips we'll make to Spain. The two trips to Spain are necessitated by our house trades that we made for Mexico. The first trip is to the southern coast near Granada and the second is a brief visit to Barcelona.

We should arrive in Leran on May 17 and go home on August 17, using up the 90 days the French government allows U.S. nationals to visit their country. We tossed around the idea of staying in France for four or five months. However, to be legal, we'd have to get an extended stay visa ($150 each) by making a personal appearance at the French Consulate in Los Angeles, and then once in France, informing the proper authorities and then getting a medical examination, a complete physical to the tune of 300 Euro each. Coupled with the expense of the trip to LA, we decided to forgo additional time in France.

While in the midst of the confusion and turmoil of all these plans, we made a very sad error. We made our airline reservations through British Airways, and we learned too late they do not transport dogs in June, July and August through the Denver airport due to the danger of high heat in the cargo space. Sadly, that meant Fergus would have to stay home this summer. Nancy and I are very worked up at the thought of the three month separation. But, he'll stay with sister Amy (and with sister Peggy while Amy travels) and he couldn't be in better hands. He'll be well taken care of but we'll miss him, and if you have animals, you know how we will be suffering.

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