We’re off to France for a week and have booked a villa. Slightly concerned that the villa owner hasn’t replied to any message left in the last 10 days (neither emails nor voicemails left in my husband’s ‘excellent’ French). God knows if he’ll be there. Have no idea how to get the keys. Decide all will be well so we get to Heathrow with plenty of time. So much time that we can’t think of a reason why we shouldn’t take the kid to the soft play area. Can’t believe that even Heathrow has a 7th circle of hell! The child, dutifully spends 20 minutes clambering over the soft blocks, all the while giving me the side eye as is obviously unimpressed by the mini slide.
Flight is delayed by an oddly specific 39 minutes. I kid you not, the board says the new departure time is 1654 (?!?!). Flight is obviously delayed by a lot longer but only after we’ve boarded. Child goes to sleep on boob. In the meantime we’ve sent more emails to villa owner to tell him of delays. Radio silence continues.
Arrive in Nice, the jetty isn’t working. Finally get off plane but it appears passport control isn’t staffed and an angry mob is forming. Have child in sling. Child does not like me standing still when she is in sling. Child starts losing her shit as crowd gathers. Nearby adults shoot dirty looks. I start singing in an attempt to get child to calm down. Finally hit upon a song that she is happy to entertain and repeat “again, again, again!” More dirty looks from nearby adults.
Finally catch a break and get the one passport control guy that couldn’t care less if your face matches the picture in your passport. Onto baggage claim. Nice airport very cleverly has the cashpoint next to a change machine to facilitate the extraction of the 1 Euro coin that you need to get a trolley. Bags comes out on the belt furthest away from the oversized baggage area. Traipse up and down baggage hall periodically with toddler waiting for stroller and car seat to come out. Car seat hastily packed at the last second as car rental confirmation states car seat is available “subject to availability!” (WTF?!) Thankfully, the villa owner finally answers the phone and says that he will wait for us. Or at least that’s what my husband THINKS he said (😳)!
Get to car rental desk at 9.45pm. We’re informed that the desk is closing at 10pm so the man in front of us in the queue will be the last customer. We’re to take out bags, stroller and car seat and take a shuttle bus to another terminal. Now it’s my husband’s turn to lose his shit but he does so in his own specific way. He takes the lady’s name and will write a strongly worded email to Avis later.
Get to bus stop. A different angry mob has gathered. See signs for a pedestrian route to the other terminal. No sign of bus. Have a feeling that the child will once again lose her shit. Start walking. Twenty minutes later and the baggage has fallen off the cart three times but we arrive at the other Avis desk. Thankfully we arrive 15 seconds everyone that waited for the bus so I don’t feel too bad about making the idiotic decision to walk. Besides, that walk built up a huge sweat so I can have chocolate for dinner right?
Finally leave the airport in our shiny Volvo at around 11.30pm. Villa owner is indeed waiting for us. Rock up to the villa at midnight, a full 5 hours after we had planned. Spend a further half hour trotting out our best French trying to understand where all the switches are etc. – meanwhile child is asking for “mook” and I keep telling her to wait. Child is a trooper and patiently waits. We all fall asleep together just after 1am.
Holiday has barely started…. I wonder what the rest of the week has in store…. ?