Saturday morning we were all packed up and ready by 8:30. Our landlady was to come by at 9:15 to collect keys, and then we’d be off by metro to the train station. Our train was scheduled to leave at 10:14, and they say you can set your watch by these French trains, so I wanted plenty of time in the station to figure things out!

We said fond farewells to our landlady. What a lovely person – so easy to work with, helpful, and fun! We really feel we had a stroke of luck finding her and the fabulous Paris apartment.

This trip would be the last time we had to schlep our bags around up and down steps in the metro, and that was fine by us! Definitely not built for lugging baggage! But we squeezed through the turnstiles and hauled up and down stairs, and made it to the train station by about 9:20.

What a busy place! I think that it was partly due to it being Saturday, and partly due to the weather. It was still incredibly cold, and snow had fallen in unaccustomed places causing muddying up of some works, I think. Anyway, we parked ourselves where we could see the board and waited for our track to be posted.

Finally, about 20 minutes before departure (which is when they say they’ll do it) the track number was posted. We immediately headed in and located our car and seats. We had funky, printed-on-the-computer tickets that I’d purchased exactly 90 days before, and as a result had gotten the most fantastic seats at the most fantastic prices! But when the conductor checked our tickets he really studied them. Guess he doesn’t see many of those…

Anyway, we were First Class, on the lower level (so as not to have to schlep bags up…), and easily found room for our bags on the way into the car. Our seats were VERY comfortable, and we settled in for the ride!

The train left exactly on time, and we could completely relax for the next 4 hours. We really enjoyed seeing the countryside fly by (this was one of the TGV trains, rocketing through the countryside at about 140mph!!) – except that lots of it was covered with snow! Not a welcome sight!! But really, the French countryside is beautiful!

In order to get to Toulon, where we were picking up our rental car, the train went  through Marseille, where we’ll be picking up several of our visitors, and Bandol, to which we bit à bientôt! Felt kind of funny to be speeding by!

We got off in Toulon, and easily found the Hertz counter – where there was a sign on the door that he’d be back in 5 minutes. All the other rental car counters in the little building had staff, but our guy was MIA. So we waited. At least we were able to be inside, where it was warm! Yes, it was still bitterly cold here in Toulon!

Well, our guy finally came, after I’d called Carole, who was waiting for us at the apartment in Bandol, and told her we’d be late. “No problem”, she said, “I am just here waiting for you!” She sounded just lovely.

We set our latest Jeeves on the dashboard of our car, and started our ride to Bandol! Easy getting out of the city, and a short, easy ride (except for missing the exit for Bandol…). But Jeeves got us back on track, and, with only a little “zone patrol”, as Roy likes to call it, we found the apartment.

The apartment is absolutely lovely! It’s light, and bright, and spacious, and beautifully furnished, with all the comforts one could want – well, except for a clothes dryer (which was listed as one of the amenities on the website, but we’ll live without it…). There is a lovely balcony, from which one can peek between some buildings and see the sea. And if it ever warms up, I’m sure we’ll spend lots of time doing just that!

Carole showed us all around the apartment, and explained how all the appliances and electronics work, and then showed us the short walk to the beach (my goodness, it’s a lovely beach, with the most beautifully blue water!), and then we drove to the garage, since we can’t park at the apartment.

The garage is amazing! We’re on level -3, which is actually about 6 levels below ground. It’s a wonder of security and engineering – if there’s a nuclear attack, we’ll know where to hide out!! Anyway, from the garage, it’s a 30 second walk to a set of outside steps that lead up to our road. Very cool. With views of the harbor the whole way!

We’re very happy with the whole arrangement, and have a wonderful friend and source of help in Carole. It’s supposed to start getting warmer, too, so life is really good, and getting better all the time!!!