Autodesk decided to impress the CAD media by inviting them to Paris for its annual Manufacturing Media Summit. Last year, the event was in the manufacturing software division's head office near Portland. This year it's in Paris, head office of Dassault Systemes. Coincidence? Probably.
This should be an easy trip. Autodesk's travel agency books the flight, hotel, and airport limo. Autodesk's pr firm arranges the two days of meetings, meals, and special events. I fly in, take notes, get entertained, fly home. Eight hours there, thee nights in Paris, and then eight hours home again.
If only it were so simple. For one cannot fly to Paris without taking along one's spouse. Who is travelling on points. Whose airline must take the most difficult routes between here and there. Which means I tag along on the same time-consuming routes:
Get up at 4am.
Fly from Vancouver
To Toronto (wait five hours)
Door-to-door travel time: 21.5 hours (est.)
Get up at 3am.
Fly from Lyon
To Frankfurt (wait six hours)
To Montreal (wait two hours)
Door-to-door travel time: 28.5 hours (est.)
It's Not All Awful
While in Europe, we'll visit aging relatives of mine in southern Germany near the French border, and then travel via Switzerland to Lyon to visit the French exchange students we hosted in years past. I'm looking forward to the rail travel, including riding the TGV (tres grand vitesse -- very high speed) train between Paris and Strasbourg. Second class on a European train feels better to me than business class in an airplane.
Seats on the TGV have to be reserved ahead of time, so I did that online through the Deutsche Bahn web site. The translated English wasn't clear, but it seemed to me that DB would mail me the reservation confirmation, and that I would pick up the tickets at the Paris Est train station. Particularly, because the DB Web site was unable to give me a price for the French portion of the trip.
Imagine my surprise when the train tickets arrived in the mail, just two days before we leave. Imagine, I though in horror, if they had arrived after we left.
What is awful is trying to communicate by email with hotels in France. The hotel we picked in Lyon typically takes a week to respond. (When I attach return receipts, I see that the email is opened and read.) At least I have the confirmation of our reservation. I'm still waiting to hear from them how best to get from Lyon Part Dieu train station to the hotel. Sigh.