For the first time, we seemed to finally get some decent sleep. Although most of us still got up early, it was not the 4:00 am awakening that prompts you to roll your eyes at the clock while your body tells you that you have no shot at going back to sleep. Karol and Keane went on their morning fitness routine, and rested, everyone gathered themselves up and our morning quickly turned quite busy.
Karol, Keane, and Lena headed out to a print shop to print out our boarding passes for RyanAir – printing them at the airport would cost an additional €20 per person! Bowe took on breakfast duty and took on concocting the perfect French toast. Naomi went to get coffee for everyone, and Michał dove into the dark and murky waters of online banking to figure out how to make an international wire to the Madeleine – a donation requested by our concert venue in Paris.
Thanks to Bowe’s culinary talents we all ate like kings – or queens - as we were treated to a wonderful spread of toasts, fresh fruit, vanilla glaze, and whipped cream. During breakfast we discussed some logistics – we decided on the two performances in Paris and talked about the travel details ahead.
Before we knew it, it was 10:30 am and time to hit the road! We said goodbye to our apartment and headed to the red underground line, transferring to the express train to Stansted airport at the Liverpool Street station. We had to buy separate tickets to the train, as our Oyster cards were only good for the underground and bus.
At Stansted airport, we had to get our visa checks and then head through security. The lines of HUNDREDS of people were moving surprisingly fast, with tight queue management and automated bins cycling through conveyor belts. Karol got a juicy pat-down, while the rest of us had our luggage checked. There was some confusion about what is considered liquid (some deodorant sticks and hair pommade are) and how much liquid can we have with us (exactly ONE 5 oz ziplock bag per person). How everyone ended up with some of Lena’s hair product in their ziplock bag is a story for its own blog...
Fortunately our flight was pushed back 40 minutes and we were able to make it to our gate with ample time to spare. We were only allowed one personal item on the plane and our carry-ons were checked at the gate (we could have brought our carry-on with us for an additional €40, but we thought that was excessive). We walked onto the tarmac and entered the plane through two sets of doors. Karol, Keane, Lena, and Naomi boarded at the front, while Bowe entered from the back. The plane ride itself was about 2.5 hours and was pretty smooth – Karol and I dozed off for most of it.
At the airport we were picked up by a driver and took a Mercedes minivan straight to the doorstep of our AirBnb. The service cost us a total of €70, but was worth the peace of mind and convenience. We were greeted by the host of our new apartment – a 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom, high-ceiling flat with view of the Vatican!
We dropped off our bags, and headed out to a small Italian (duh) restaurant right next door to us. The thin-crust pizzas, gnocchi with cheese, and pasta were all delicious. The house wine was quite watery, but nothing that a second serving from a proper bottle could not fix. Content and full, we headed home to shower and finally go to bed.