The lack of egg for breakfast was given a further twist when one of the unsympathetic kitchen workers actually went out of her way to show me the recently arrived cardboard box filled with microwaveable ersatz egg – and then did nothing with them. Ah Paris in July!
I read my catalogue for the Marmottan Monet Museum rather than pack and so Irene’s knock at the door galvanized me into action and everything was piled into suitcases and we were read to make our way to the airport.
Irene hates everything to do with airports and flying and therefore, in a way in which is understandingly perverse, she demands that we arrive in the concourse at a time which to me seems unbearably early.
Our plane was scheduled to fly at 6.30 pm and we set off at midday when we left the hotel!
Admittedly our airport CD Gaulle (as the GPS called it) was at the other end of the city from where we were staying but it should have taken us no more than 40 minutes to get there on the outer circular road.
Which we could not get on as the entrance had been blocked off. The GPS tried to get us back to the blocked entry with a determination which even seemed to express itself in a certain exasperation in her perfectly modulated voice as I ignored her “recalculation” attempts to redirect. Eventually we managed to find another entry and joined the very heavy lunchtime traffic going around the city.
At least we were not going the other way, because the drivers there weren’t going anywhere as we passed kilometre after kilometre of static traffic. For Irene, the traffic jam on the opposite side of the road justified our early start because that “could have been us!”
To facilitate our return I had, rather intelligently I thought, marked our starting point when we hired the car as one of the “favourites” on the GPS. This brought us to the airport with relatively few problems except we needed to top up the petrol to avoid being penalized. Finding the airport petrol station was difficult but once found we had to get back to the drop off point. One missed turning and suddenly we were directed another 9 kilometres to turn around!
It seemed as if we would have to fill up again to ensure that the pointer was still at the full point of the dial. It was particularly galling that to turn around we had to leave the motorway and pay a toll and then pay another toll at the other end of the roundabout to get back on to the motorway!
We finally made it back to the airport and the drop off point for the car by ignoring the advice of the GPS and going on signs and intelligence to get us there.
The walk to our terminal from the drop off point was absurdly long and it felt as though we had been condemned to another version of Jean Paul Sartre’s existential vision of damnation where hell certainly was other people.
To pass the hours of time before the check in opened we decided to have lunch. A three-course lunch was €25: poached eggs with chopped chives and mayonnaise and salad; braised salmon with tarragon sauce and basmati rice – and the highlight of the meal a raspberry tart with cream. For an airport, the meal was good; for a restaurant only the tart would have been truly acceptable.
The flight was entirely without incident with the exception of my finding a free seat over the wing with consequent legroom for the journey.
We arrived back in Barcelona to floods of sunshine which have been abruptly cut off this morning by sullen skies. I hold fast to my belief that Spanish weather does not deny sunshine for an entire day to the faithful.
Now, off to Terrassa to pick up Toni and his mother to bring them down to the positively Parisian gloom of Castelldefels.
But it is a Tuesday and I am on holiday. So who cares?