But first we (as in me) have to do some serious rearranging of poundage in luggage. Yes, there are some airlines in Europe that offer CRAZY cheap flights. These cheap prices come at a price, however... haha... There are a lot of extra fees, checked baggage can't weigh nearly as much as it can on US flights, and if your checked baggage is over it's something like 15€/kg over... this adds up pretty quickly.
I manage to work it out somehow with much blood, sweat, tears, and throwing away of toiletries... We are glad we arrived at the airport so early.
[Ok, this next story has no accompanying photos because we were both freaking out so much that the last thing either of us wanted to do while it was happening was pull out a camera.]
So, we go through customs (very surprised at how little they care after the absolute GRILLING we received at UK customs in Heathrow), find the shuttle to the train station (excitedly nervous to be dealing all in French suddenly), and arrive at the train station with time to spare before our train to Paris departs. We are pretty happy--I'm absolutely euphoric. Brianne is trying to force me to handle as many of the transactions as she can to prepare me for when I'm here alone. I hate her for a few seconds but soon feel pretty good! On the drive from the airport through downtown Brest towards the train station I am overwhelmed by a sense of familiarity and belonging that I hadn't felt since landing in Heathrow. France is familiar. France is welcoming. I kind of feel like I can understand French better than I understood British English...
[Here's where things go down hill.] We are told at the Espace de Vente (place of sales) by the very unhelpful "English speaking" clerk that there is no way are getting to Paris tonight. Ok. Not much we can do about that. Long story short, after waiting in line several more times with more questions, working with many different clerks of varying levels of friendliness, we set out for a hotel which is hopefully nearby and hopefully cheap... We find it. We check-in.
The official/very unofficial use of our amazing French count is at about 5! (For those keeping track...)
Now that we're resigned to not be in Paris by tonight--we have our tickets for the train tomorrow afternoon in hand--we decide that seeing a little of Brittany might be kind of fun and cool. We are not wrong.
First bit of fun: this is the elevator in our hotel! We have to use it because we're up several floors of a spiral staircase and I have my huge suitcase. So Brianne and I decide we may as well shove everything in!
Hahahaha!!! It was quite a squeeze... We had to remove our backpacks and stack things vertically once the door closed. We were more than a little concerned that we wouldn't make it up the four floors...
As we are spending unexpected monies on a hotel and other such delays, we decide to find something a little less spendy for our first dinner... so, not this place. But the display is too gorgeous to not snap a quick photo with.
We really enjoy ourselves wandering around Brest that evening. Being right on the northwestern point of the country the air is salty, moist, and cool. It is lovely. We eat and head back to our hotel, check in with family and loved ones, and get to bed later than was perhaps wise...