TRAVEL with pat and lew

where’s the car?

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 22, 2007

We disembark in Perpignan and find ourselves on the middle platform. There are steps down and an elevator up into the station, but no carts and no porters. We’re unwilling to let our luggage or boxes out of our sight, so we set up a relay.

Pat guards the remaining suitcases and boxes while I carry and drag one at a time about fifty yards to the top of the stairs, leaving them in sight as I return for the next. Same process down the stairs and along the underground corridor to the escalator.

Thank goodness for the up escalator. What’s this? They’re shutting down the elevator. Pat pleads. I plead. Someone takes pity and keeps the elevator running. We get the bags up.

We’ve arranged to pick up a rental car in Perpignan. The in-town Budget car rental office closes at 5:00 pm, and it’s now 4:30, which is why we were so anxious to get the early train.

I find the office, just down the street from the train station. It’s closed!

Now we’re stranded in Perpignan, with more luggage and boxes than we can possibly manage, and no car.

Next to the closed Budget office is a Hertz office, open. As happens so often in France, the young woman at the counter is as helpful as can be. She calls Budget’s other office at the Perpignan airport, and within 10 minutes, they’ve returned to get us.

We drive 37 kilometers (22 miles) and arrive at our apartment in Collioure. I put the key in the lock and turn it. Nothing happens.

I can’t unlock the door. I remember vaguely that there is something different about this lock, but I can’t remember what. We stand in the hallway, frustrated by our long trip, not knowing what to do.

Then suddenly, there is our neighbor Brigitte, an angel from heaven, walking down the hall to greet us. She opens the door and we’re home in Collioure. We raise the electric gate and stare at the magnificent mountain view.

For about five minutes.

Then we collapse into bed and sleep until mid-morning the next day.

LEW

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