August 15, 2005

August 13 -- Paraza France to Barcelona Spain, to London England

We actually almost got away on time and left the gite at 9:09. A little bit of traffic on the Autoroute near intersections with highways headed for the beaches. It took about 4 1/2 hours to get to the airport in Barcelona.

Of course it could have been quicker if we didn't have a border incident involving Julie. Before you assume that she was strip searched and thrown into a cell like the main charachter in Midnight Express, I need to explain what happened.

Right at the border there is a rest stop with a gas station, convenience store and small restaurant. It was also time to use the facilities. Prior to our trip we had read that there is a lot of theft in the parking areas of these places so we choose to go individually. I went first and took the car key, leaving Julie in the car with the kids. I was back in a couple of minutes, then Julie went.

After about 5 minutes my phone rang. It was Julie -- "Brian, I am locked in the stall of the womens room. You need to get help". (Prior to calling Julie was yelling in French ' help please' over and over but no one could hear her.)
So we are literally on the border of France and Spain--which language do I use, French, Spanish, English, pantomime?)

There are only two workers in the entire building, so I go up to one of them. "Pardon, ecluse la femme toilette" (French for "excuse me, lock woman toilet"). The woman led me into the womens room with a butter knife to rescue Julie.

Julie didn't know why she grabbed her phone just to go to the bathroom, but she's glad she did. She actually was reminded of the Italian movie Bread and Tulips in which the family leaves the mom at a rest stop near Venice when she gets locked in a stall.

The rest of the trip to Barcelona was uneventful. We just forgot to get gas before returning the rental car.

We cleared security at the airport pretty quickly and found a place to eat lunch. We are glad that we did because our plane took off about 3 1/2 hours late. (Acutally we had to leave our first plane, take a bus to a new one with an A/C problem which left us hot and sweaty. Perhaps Julie should have locked herself in the lavatory to spice things up a little more.)

We finally got into London and to our hotel. Room service was the popular choice for dinner that night, and then quickly off to bed.


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