And so it begins…

“When you enter airport life, you forget about other life.” C. N. Maierhofer 5:50 a.m.

We made it! (through security, that is). 

Chris and I shared the merriest of Christmases for the past several days. After a packing/ Christmas present buying, wrapping, and opening marathon, we spend a spectacular day and a half with the Randall/Maierhofer family. I watched Home Alone for the first time, and ate a spectacular breakfast before heading over to my parent’s house. Last year Chris and I had it easy because we were not yet married, so there was less pressure to “be there” at the important moments of the holidays, and also because our families live less than a mile away from each other. This year, however, was go, go, go. We traveled to The Eau Claire Carlson household, then shortly thereafter drove to Monona for a perfect Christmas dinner of Swedish Meatballs, and finally traveled to the Carlson/Hauser house, then shopping, dinner and a movie at the Carlson/Grittner household (which included the best ever Christmas ham, and a 3D movie on a brand new 3D television). Finally, we were dropped off with our dear friend Briana, went to bed early, woke up at 1:30 a.m., ate some steamed broccoli (Briana suggested we eat veggies while we could since traveling food often makes one’s tummy grumble), and hit the road.

Emilie’s carry-on backpack was searched, and Chris set off  the whirly-hands-in-the-air metal detector so he got a friendly pat down. It was decided that both of us are fit to fly, and that brings us here, sitting next to each other, each on their own touch screen device, and soaking in the first moments of our 24+ hour journey.

We will have plenty of time, so you may be getting the step-by-step of this whole thing.

Coming up next, a shuffle on the shuttle between Laguardia and JFK…

It turns out that you have to pay for wifi at the airport, so we lost interest in posting. The transit was fairly benign anyway. At security in JFK, we saw Brian Williams of NBC, which was quite exciting. Other than that, Chris closed his eyes a lot, and Emilie had her first solid sleeping experience on an airplane. It involved a neck roll, pillow, ear plugs, blanket, and an eye mask. Turbulence merely rocked her deeper into dreamland.

With five hours in Barcelona, we realized that we didn’t know adequate Spanish. We managed to buy some food at a nearby cafe, and make it onto our first train with only slight discomfort, not before lounging in a lovely nearby park, however, observing the local canine culture, talking over the merits of Bocce Ball, and living in the moment.

We had to switch trains at the border of Spain and France. Our hosts tell us that this is because the size of the rails differ between the two countries. They say that this is because the Spanish think that everyone else is crazy, and they especially do not trust the French banking system.

Upon departure from the train station, Emilie felt much more comfortable, knowing at least some language, but she still managed to become a bit rosey-cheeked while attempting to buy a calling card, and then later an esspresso and apple tarte for Chris.


Sunset over the Pyrenees as seen from the road leading up to our new home

Needless to say, everything looks better, and tastes better in France, and even the dogs are better behaved. After a delicious dinner of Stilton and Broccoli soup, (and baguette of course) followed by a Christmas pudding (you may be thinking that this dinner sounds more British than French, and that is because it is, though we would not ask for anything different– it and our hosts are wonderful). We slept more deeply than any time in recent history.


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