Planes, Trains, Automobiles and Now Boats - The Graduation Adventure Day 12

Monday, June 2nd
I think the hotel knows we're plotting against it.  Not the workers in the hotel.  The actual hotel.  Not only are we foregoing the free breakfast for something insanely more tasty, but we've been joking about the mattresses actually being a door with a sheet on it.  So I think the hotel is fighting back.  This is the first night in a long while that I have had an awful night of sleep. 

We didn't dawdle this morning.  French pastries were calling and we needed to pick up the phone.  And that phone was ringing at Lacombe Cafe.  Had I known then what I know now, we would have eaten here for dinner last night.  And we would have foregone breakfast every day.  Because, pastries.  And the place itself was really lovely.  It's kind of how I'd like to decorate my life.  Pink ceiling.  Black mirrors on the ceiling.  Well.  Wait now.  If I was decorating my house like this, the ceiling mirrors would be white.  Let's not be too weird.


The only thing missing was some milk in my tea.  But I lived without.
Happily, we were close to the hotel, so we went back, left our luggage at the front desk and checked out of the hotel.  Now I know it sounds like I'm giving the hotel crap.  And honestly, I am.  But...I would 100% stay here again.  The location is ideal.  The bathrooms are lovely.  The service was perfectly fine.  The price was right.  Sure, the breakfast was not good.  But that's just one part.  Whatever.  I know about the Lacombe Cafe now.  Just go eat there.


Elias was the one who came up with the idea of doing a boat tour.  A few months before we hit the road for travel and adventure, he made a mention of a tour.  And I was all for it.  Honestly, that was the best way to start our trip in Amsterdam.  Why wouldn't it work for Paris as well??  Though maybe we should have planned to do this on our first day versus our last.  Who knows??  It worked out.


Our research landed us at the Bateaux-Mouches boats.  We had walked by the port on Saturday, so we knew how to get where we were going.  The original goal was to make the first boat at 1015a.  We didn't quite make it there for that one, but the next sailing was 1115a.  This was perfect for us.  For nearly 14 Euros (each...no deal for an 18 year old on this ride), we had a seat on a cruise along the Seine.

 
And no...this flower really doesn't have anything to do with the boats.  I just liked the picture.
 
The boats hold a lot of tourists.  Around 900 of them.  Luckily, we were there early and on a Monday.  So it was busy, but not overwhelmingly so.  I mean, there were a bunch of kids on a school trip.  Which was adorable at times, but also...kids.  I mean, come on.
 
We moved to the back of the boat, on the upper level.  Cause if we were going to do this, we were going to do our best to have a massive sunburn incident.  Well...and to take lovely pictures as well.  I mean, that was the biggest reason.  (Spoiler Alert - no sunburn!!)  We happened to sit right in front (and in back) of a couple from another land.  Yes.  You totally read that right.  Elias and I were the PB&J of the couple's sandwich.
 
At first, the couple sat behind us.  This was fine.  It's an open air boat.  There shouldn't be an issue with seeing the sights.  But we knew something would be amiss as the boat was filling up.  We didn't have to worry about vast crowds.  It was definitely an off-season departure.  But then the guy decided to start taking pictures.  He had a big camera (no judgement) and he was a stander.  Dude stood nearly the entire time.  Which, not an issue, cause he was behind us.  Until the wife decided she needed her picture taken in front of every  monument we were passing by.  Then he was in front of us, taking pictures over our heads of the wife behind us.
 

This camera game went on for the entire hour we were on the boat.  And being my usual passive-aggressive self (or just passive self), I didn't make a fuss for most of the time.  Because it didn't matter.  But as we were passing by Notre Dame on the way back up the Seine (down the Seine??  Whatever way we needed to go in order to get back to the dock), he started up again.  And this time, he was a bit more in my way.  Which is when I reached higher with my camera (while still sitting) to make sure I was in the way of his pictures.  I know, real mature, right??  He eventually moved.  We had a lovely ride on the river.

I have been waiting to do one thing in France for two years now.  It's something simple.  But it's something so quintesentially "France" that it annoys me I haven't done this.  I wanted to eat crepes from a stand.  I know, right??  The fact that this is something I haven't done in two previous visits to the country is something that is almost unacceptable.  Which is why I told Elias we had HAD to do this today.

While we walked along the Champs Elysees the other day, I noticed a few stands selling crepes.  It was going to happen.  It was going to happen here.  We left the boats and decided to walk to this area for crepes.  As we walked to the counter, I asked Elias if he wanted to share.  He was not remotely interested in sharing with me.  Ok.  Two Nutella Crepes, please.

Mine.  All mine!!
The crepe wasn't handmade in front of me.  The Nutella was slapped out of a jar.  But I didn't care.  This elusive Street Crepe was being consumed.  It was everything I wanted it to be.

At a certain point, I had looked into the cost of a taxi from our current hotel to our new hotel in Disneyland Paris.  And it was waaaay too much to seriously consider.  We were thrilled to find that our hotel was a block away from the RER line which would take us directly to Marnee-la-Valley.  All we had to do was lug our bags down the stairs and on the train.  Well, all I had to do...

Honestly, it was so much easier than I'd expected.  I was worried about getting tickets.  We got them this morning when I said to the guy behind the counter "we need to get to Marnee-la-Valley".  I was worried about getting our bags through the turnstiles.  There was a wheelchair/stroller/luggage aisle that worked perfectly.  I was worried about having to get down esclators with two bags and a kid with balance issues.  There was a lift around the corner.  I was worried about our luggage on the train.  That...well, that was a little harder.

The train was a double decker one.  Kind of like a split-level home (I hate those, btw).  You step off of the platform on to the train and there's a landing.  Then, you choose to go up stairs or down stairs.  Elias knows the drill by now.  He gets on and makes a beeline directly to an open seat.  Any open seat.  He does not need to be standing up as the train starts along its merry way.  So he found a spot.  I had to do some scoping out.  There was room on the upper level...on the other side of the train.  I lugged these bags up the stairs, then motioned to Elias to come to my side when he could.  He really couldn't.  And it probably wasn't the worst thing for the two of us to be traveling separately for a few stops.  As the train made its way closer to our final stop (and the final stop for the train), I positioned myself for the dismount.  The very good news was how the train was nearly empty by the time we pulled into the stop.  Then again, we took the RER during the off hours.  What yahoo was traveling to Disneyland Paris at 2p on a Monday??  I mean, except for us??

Last night, I'd looked online to see where our hotel was once we made our way out of the train station.  Supposedly it was close.  Close enough to walk.  And it ended up being close enough to walk, but we did jump on a shuttle for this first step.  Just take us to the front desk.  I was tired.  And I was tired of dragging the bags.  Plus, the shuttle is free.  It was a 5 or 10 minute ride where I didn't have to think about how to get somewhere.

I chose the Sequoia Lodge on a whim after doing a bunch of research on one of the other Disney hotels.  The other hotel seemed fine, but for a few extra dollars, we could stay in a newly renovated one.  The check-in process was easy.  The hotel was lovely.  We were given the our keys and sent on our way.

Two Big Beds!!
And this is the moment where we went completely off of the rails.

Issue #1 - Our room was in the Monterey Lodge.  This is the building furthest from the main lobby.  I guess it's fine, but it just took us so long to get anywhere if we were in our room.  Things seemed to move quicker as we spent more time in the hotel, but still, we were far away.

Issue #2 - The Monterey Lodge has no elevator.  And we were on the 2nd floor.  I had already lifted both suitcases up and down the stairs a few times today.  My arms were tired.  And it's not great to have a hotel with no elevator.

Issue #3 - As we walked into the room, we were in love.  The room was bigger than anything else we'd seen so far.  The beds were large and very separated.  There was space for all of our luggage.  We had a desk to write postcards home (if we wanted, which we wanted).  The room was lovely.  Just lovely.  And then, we walked into the bathroom.  No towels.  No toilet paper.  Which...after a long day of traveling, the lack of toilet paper was a huge issue.  I called down to the front desk and said we were missing towels and toilet paper.  There was a pause on the other end of the line.  Apparently "toilet paper" is not a term used in France.  I may have tried "toilet tissue" as a backup option.  And I was getting ready to say "the stuff you use to wipe your butt after..." but I think the person wanted me off of the phone.  I didn't entirely expect there would be toilet paper or towels when we returned to the room, but one could dream.

We stopped for a moment in the lobby of the hotel.  Why??  Cause they had a restroom WITH toilet paper.  And then we made our way to the Disney Village.  We hadn't eaten since the crepe on the Champs Elysee.  Food was needed.  Quickly.

And this may have been a bit of a cheat.  But we went to Earl of Sandwich.  Honestly, I just needed a sandwich.  And they had free WiFi.  And WINE!!  God, I love that little bottles of wine are just there.  There's no judgment.  Drink when you want to!!  The toilet paper thing kind of sent me over the edge, so...wine.

Don't judge me.
There is an outlet mall near Disneyland Paris.  We knew this.  We just didn't know where it would be.  As we walked through the Disney Village, we didn't see any signs directing us to a shopping mecca.  We didn't see anything.  So neither one of us was sure what was up.  As we walked through the main building of our hotel, I walked up to the Concierge.  Maxium helped us, once we were able to communicate what a Mall was.

Honestly, it didn't even occur to me that Mall is not a word that can translate.  Although, at this point, neither is toilet paper.  So he assured us if we went one stop on the RER, we would fine the shopping center.  Perfect.  We took the shuttle to the train station (pretty sure that was the last time we used the shuttle, cause WOW, everything is just so close together) and took the RER to find shopping.

Here's where the plan went off the rails.  We had no map.  Maxim said "it's right there!!"  So why would we need a map??  Dude.  Seriously, we must have walked for 30 minutes to figure out where this flipping mall was.  There was a sign/arrow one way.  It wasn't there.  It looked like there was something this way.  It wasn't there.  We found a non-outlet mall.  It wasn't there.  We went back to the train station to find maps there.  We found it on a map, but couldn't find it in reality.  I know I have troubles at times with maps, but god dammit.  And seriously, at this point we were GOING to find this freaking place.  The last step was to go back to the non-outlet mall.  Inside the mall, on the map of the mall (notice how I'm going to make "mall" a thing now in Paris??) there was an arrow to the outlet.  Sure, you had to walk through the entire mall to get to this separate outlet mall, but you could get there.  Oh, we were gonna get there.

La Valley Village was our final stop.  This outlet mall had many of the big names.  We wandered.  Did some window shopping.  And Elias did make a purchase at the Ted Baker shop.  We love Ted Baker.  He found a great shirt for the fall.  I didn't find anything, cause even at a size 12 (10 on a good day or when I really stick to the Weight Watchers thing), his stuff is a liiiiiittle too snug for me.  I didn't really need to spend money on clothes anyway, right?? 

All you had to do to get back to the train was to walk through the entire outlet mall, the entire non-outlet mall and back down the street to the station.  Good lord.  By this time though, my blood pressure had decreased substantially.  It didn't matter what time it was.  We were fine. 

Now normally, you'd think we'd have gone back to the room immediately.  But no.  We had had an oddly rough day.  It wasn't supposed to be this hard.  Really.  All we were supposed to do was get on a boat, then a train, then we would be basking in the pixie dust of Disney.  The Sequoia Lodge had a bar.  It was open until 1a.  And we needed a drink.  I needed a drink.  Elias was along for the ride.


Elias learned tonight that he is a fan of Guinness.  I don't know if most 18 year olds are fans of Guinness, cause I've never polled any of them.  But according to my Facebook feed full of adults, it seemed to be a surprising development.  He had some Guinness.  I had some Magners.  Because when in France, drink cider??  Maybe I was longing for the easier days of the UK??  Who knows??  But it was glorious.

We were finally back to the hotel, and in large, separate beds, sprawled out as much as humanly possible.  The mattresses themselves were fine, I guess.  I mean, we had basically slept on a door the few nights before.  And even as late as it was and as tired as we were (look at the steps...we were tired), we couldn't sleep.  Why??  We're too excited to sleep!!  We are going to Disneyland tomorrow.  No one can sleep well the night before going to Disneyland.  It's impossible.  So we counted sheep until the sweet, sweet sleep was able to overtake us.  Two dummies, dreaming about Disney memories that will happen the next day...

6/2 - 31,500 steps, 13.5 miles

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