Bretagne…The Arrival

We took the minimalist approach traveling with Wow airline. No checking in luggage, no food, no water, no onboard entertainment. Nada. They charge money for any and everything. I played by the rules, traveling with just a backpack and a small tote, spending only on seat selection that were later discovered unnecessary because seats were plentiful and roomy. I filled up empty water bottle from drinking faucet after passing security and bought food from home. I signed up for free trial with Amazon Prime which allowed free downloading of movies into my Kindle Fire. Matthew Mcconaughey was showing me his “Intergalactic”,  then on the trip back, it was Blake Lively in “The Age of Adeline.”  Wow is NOT making extra money off me!

Online reviews warned us about charges for oversize carry-on /luggages and offer tips so we paid attention to pack light. Some complaint about punctuality but we experienced no delay. It would be helpful to do check-in on line 24hour ahead to avoid waiting in long line. There was shorter line for those already did web check-in.

Stopover in Iceland was at 4am…dark and rainy outside, inside Keflavik airport was deserted and only the café was opened. Bathroom faucet was so cool with the built- in air dryer for wet hands! Immigration was quickly over in 15 minutes. Hooray for pre-dawn arrival ! The plane ride  from Iceland to Paris was only half full. We all sat towards the back to save legwork for the stewardess.

Keflavik International Airport (Iceland)

Traveling solo for the first time overseas, I was full of trepidation. Naysayers were plenty but I put trust that Google would deliver me safely to meet friends in Guingamp. Everything I needed to know was at my fingertips. God bless the Internet for showing me the way- from landing in CDG terminal 1 and following sign for CDGVAL shuttle to Terminal 2 where SNCF train station is located, to obtaining train tickets, that were bought  ahead on-line via Trainline, from SNCF yellow kiosk, to waiting until just 20 minutes– exactly–to see from the computer screen which platform the train arrived, then checking the screen down by the platform for the location of my particular train carriage –composition de tren.

All went smoothly except for while waiting for the train at CDG  airport, someone discovered unattended luggage so the police ushered EVERYONE outside.. to the COLD secure the area . I didn’t know at first how long it would take or  if I would ever be allowed on the train, so all sorts of worst case scenarios wreaked havoc in my head. Would Uber drive all the way to Guingamp? Would the battery in my phone last long enough for Google to translate or I have to mime? Perhaps spend the whole time alone in Paris! To hell with Bretagne!

Luckily, terrorists spared me and after an hour long wait, we were allowed back in. I stamped the ticket (by the yellow compost device ) and boarded the train on time. Alas, I sat in the wrong seat one car over, a polite lady asked for her  seat back without much aggravation. Settled in my chair, started to feel lonely without anyone to share  the view from the window. Everyone focused in his her electronics and it was a quiet ride. My seatmate boarded the train a bit later, alas..he’s no Jason Bourne, just a young boy from nearby school. We communicated via Google Translate, with me asking him if there was a restroom in the train. “La bàs, madame!” was my first stimulating interaction with the local in French.

Arrived in Rennes after 3h+ I hurried up to view the computer to check for my train to Guingamp. The station was crowded with commuters waiting for the train. There was standing room only as we piled into the train, luckily doors opened where I stood in line allowing me to grab seat quickly. Automated announcement of stops on the train was in French so Scotty mobile app in my phone was  helpful prompting me of arrival times and name of stations in between. After 1 hour, Guingamp was announced and I joyfully stood up. It was a long travel day, I managed not to get lost or stranded, so I was happy to meet a familiar face finally!

Hugs and pleasantry exchanged, we dashed to our first airBnb in Ploumagoar 10 minutes ride away. What a spacious house! Four bedrooms and a great room perfect for group gathering! It was a bit modern without country charm but a terrific value at $60 per night. First dinner together was  prepared by QN, consisted of pork chops with rice and asparagus, followed by decaf coffee and Breton galette cookies. We retired early with a promise of pre-dawn travel to Ploumanac’h to explore Pink Granite Coast. I know I will travel well with this bunch when QN announced that we would start at 6am! Swooned…


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