TRAVEL with pat and lew

* Key West to Collioure – May 2009

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 28, 2009

Getting there was more of an adventure than we wanted, but it worked out OK in the end.

On Monday morning, we were accompanied down our lane to the taxi by our great Key West neighbors Bill and Lane who helped with the 8 bags we were taking. This includes 4 bags to check (with 100 pounds of book) plus our carry-ons.

Checking in at the new Key West airport was a snap. The expanded facility is clean and functional, if not as “charming” as the old, and there was almost no one in the security line with us. We had loads of time, since I always leave earlier than necessary. This time, we had even more time. The plane coming in to take us to Tampa was late.

Continental AirlinesFirst, Continental announced it would be 24 minutes late and that all connections were still safe. That soon changed, and it became obvious that we could not make the connection from Tampa to Newark and then on to Barcelona.

I worked with the Continental gate agent (Norm Maxson) and he could not have been more helpful. We worked through any available options – there were not many – and ended up re-scheduling the last two legs of our trip for Tuesday instead of Monday. Continental provided both hotel and food vouchers in Tampa. Delayed flights happen, and in this case, Norm and Continental responded beautifully, including re-tagging our luggage to stay in Tampa and not fly on without us to Barcelona.

In Tampa, our room was in the Marriott at the airport. No shuttles, easy in and out.

However, we did have an adventure. Pat and I got CARDED! Should we be flattered or indignant?

We went to dinner at an Italian restaurant in the airport, ordered wine and our meals, and were all set for a pleasant and leisurely experience. Until the waiter re-appeared, saying we needed to show ID. We are both in our late 60s; I think we both look younger than our years, but this was ridiculous!

There was no visible sign stating this policy, nothing on the menu itself. I had ID with me, but Pat didn’t. I asked to see the manager, but he refused to make an exception. I told him I thought that was a bad decision, but he was unmoved.

We went back to our room for Pat’s ID and then went to Friday’s. Same policy, no visible signs, but we were told immediately when we ordered our wine. We were also told it was an airport-wide policy to deal with underage drinking. Stupid! But we were prepared and had our meal. Probably not as good as the Italian restaurant we had first chosen, but I refused to go back there. By the way, the Marriott restaurant in the same Tampa airport has no such carding policy.

The next morning, we watched President Obama nominate Judge Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, then flew to Newark and on to Barcelona. Before leaving, I called Hertz to push our reservation back a day. No problem.

The drive from Barcelona to Collioure was uneventful. I took a 15 minute “rest my eyes” break, not having slept much on the plane, and we arrived before 1:00 pm. It was exciting to return to our home in the south of France for our fourth summer.

Mostly unpacked now. Tomorrow, we’ll do our “setup the apartment shopping.”

For now, we sleep.


2 Responses to “* Key West to Collioure – May 2009”

  1. Kate said

    Just a thought for you- there are various second hand english bookshops in France. I don’t know if they would do for what you are taking with you (maybe it was specialist stuff) but it might help reduce the luggage weight a bit. I don’t know your area so well (although I have often cycled up in the Pyrenees and the foothills) however here are some places to try on the Cote d’Azur.

    • Lew Weinstein said


      Thanks for your suggestion and welcome to our blog. We will buy some books in Paris this summer, but for the most part the books we want are not available in French book stores, especially those books which are part of my novel-writing research. We have also explored shipping the books, but this is more expensive and less reliable than bringing them with us. Since this is our 4th summer in Collioure, we don’t have nearly as much clothes and other things to bring, so there is room in our suitcases.


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