After a nine-hour journey door-to-door from our hotel in Paris to our hotel in Ascot, we were finally here for what we were here for -- the wedding of Ben Rose and Jo Lister.

Ben and Jo Rose and family

As for the journey, my wife was able to experience first-hand why I consider CDG and LHR the two worst airports in the world.  The inefficient Air France bus ran 75 minutes late from Gare de Lyon out to the airport -- we eventually gave up and took a taxi.  But there was no hurry -- our 9:55 PM flight was delayed, we were told, "about 20 minutes".  We cleared immigration and went to the British Airways lounge -- only to find out that, at CDG, British Airways' lounge is NOT open to flyers with status on other oneworld airlines.  It made no sense to go to the gate -- we would have to clear security, and beyond that was only a seating corral.  Still, when the delay became 11:20 instead of 10:20, the rest of the airport closed up, and we went in.  Very shortly thereafter was the announcement -- the inbound aircraft had a problem, and we would likely depart around midnight.  When another BA flight arrived, one would have thought we would be all set -- but instead, it was unloaded and put to sleep for the night.  (It was, horror of horrors, an A320 instead of a A321, so I suppose they couldn't substitute it cleanly).  We finally departed around 1:15 AM...more than three hours late for a 40 minute flight.

For what it is worth, both ways we've passed through Heathrow Terminal 5, and it is a delight.  Everything flows well for humans, and our baggage came out quickly.  The arrivals area has exactly the kinds of facilities an arriving passenger needs, in a clean, logical flowing terminal area.  There are great restaurants and shops, and BA really did well on the lounges.  For all its initial heat, T5 is highly recommended -- shame about the airport it is connected to, though.

I wish we could have taken the Chunnel train, but our destination made that somewhat impractical.  Ben and Jo's Saturday wedding was at Sunningdale Park in Ascot, and getting out this way from the Chunnel terminus would have been a long series of steps.  In the end, it probably would have been faster and more reliable, and I can see why neither BA nor Air France fly the Paris-London route much anymore.  Most of the passengers were in transit or foreigners who went with air travel over trains.  

Ah well.  It was only important that we were here.  Ben and Jo had a beautiful small wedding, with about 75 family and friends in attendance.  We enjoyed meeting their families, and talking with friends who were previously only known by name.

This trip was built around attending Ben and Jo's wedding, which I wouldn't have missed for the world.  Ben has been a good friend for several years, after we initially met in-person at a conference in 2003.  In those five years, he has helped me through many life transitions, and we've developed some very good shared memories.  Jo and Ben have known each other since 1997.  She is a wonderful woman and I've enjoyed meeting her at several occasions over the years.

It is one of the fortunate side effects of the Lotus community that many of us have developed close, deep, and lasting friendships after having met online or in some other way connected to our work.  Over the last few years, I've attended weddings, visited homes, met for coffee/drink, or just grabbed a meal with dozens of customers/partners/industry figures/blog readers.  This is, to me, one of the most fulfilling aspects to being in the community -- the human connections.  My wife and I were honoured to have been guests at Ben and Jo's lovely wedding, and wish them the best for their future.

Three more days of vacation, starting with a trip to Windsor Palace this morning.  Even that has a story related to Lotus.

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