These four photos are a representation of my trip to France... beautiful gardens and blue sky, cafes, ancient buildings, vineyards for as far as the eye can see, and picnics by the river. It was a great trip... although, it didn't start out so smoothly.
The reason I went to France was for a good friend's wedding at Île d'Oléron (island on the west coast about 2 hours northwest of Bordeaux). The wedding was amazing. The ceremony took place on top of a Citadelle in Oléron and had a ridiculous French tasting menu for dinner (with great wine). The party lasted until 5 in the morning. However, my luggage (with my new custom tailored suit and Italian dress shoes) did not arrive... and I had nothing to wear except what I had been in for the last 30+ hours. I looked and felt like a mess. Luckily, a new friend let me borrow a nice button down shirt and tie for the wedding (thanks Stephen!)... and it all kind of worked out.
The main lessons I learned are:
1. Do not connect through London Heathrow (3rd time my luggage has gotten delayed there).
2. If it is absolutely necessary to connect through London Heathrow, do not check luggage.
3. London Heathrow has an annoying security/transfer system (need the "fast pass").
4. Try to avoid London Heathrow at all costs (unless your final destination is London).
More photos from this trip to come later....