The work year draws to a close and Jay and I find ourselves at NAIA, ready to embark on our ultimate European Christmas. Last year, I promised Jay that it would be our last time to spend the holiday season in Paris but as early as February this year, I found myself breaking my word. What would a third straight Christmas in Paris feel like? And yes, I told myself it would really be the last.
I mustn't be greedy --
I booked the airline tickets in February. The early bird gets the business class seats at a great price! As in previous years, we would Fly Blue. We find KLM to be very efficient (they're Dutch after all) and they have proven to be very reliable during uncertain winter conditions, as we had experienced during our first Christmas in Paris three years ago.
Unfortunately, due to certain Philippine tax regulations, KLM has ditched its non stop to Europe service and now flies out of Manila with a stop over in Taipei. It adds a couple of hours to an already long flight. We got to a quiet and deserted Taipei airport at nearly midnight and everything was closed for the day.
After 14 hours of flying, we finally landed in Amsterdam - where we had a 5 hour lay over before catching the plane for Paris. The lounge is nice and well stocked although at 7 in the morning, it's full of travelers, all flying home for the holidays.
It has been a tiring and hectic year and as in the past few years, I find myself exhausted and spent come the holiday season. The promise of this trip had kept me sane these last few months.
Sitting beside this festive tree, I could finally exhale and relax -- in a few more hours, Paris would welcome us again ... would it be particularly poignant or even bittersweet -- knowing that it may be the last time I would ever spend the holidays in my favorite city in the world.
One thing I do know, I will forever be grateful to have had 4 straight years of Paris .. and yes, it will always be in my heart!