If all else fails, read the instructions. I read the first two words "Gare de....." And immediately got Gare de Nord in my head.
So Gare de Nord is a big train station in Paris just a 40 min walk from where I was staying but I had decided to get an Uber which would be about 5 minutes as I had all my worldly belongings to carry and was still suffering from the flue.
So the Uber arrived at 1120am to get me to Gare de Nord for my 1155am train. I got in the cab and checked my ticket and said to the driver "oh shit, I need to go to Gare de Lyon not Gar de Nord, desole (sorry)", a 40min drive on a good day.
So with normal (heavy) Paris traffic we arrived at 12:07, I missed my train.
So I went to the office to rebook/transfer my ticket and then got in a queue with 15 other people! Lucky they went through the queue quickly and the lady said they could transfer my ticket..... Yay...... For €30, not so yay. OK had no choice if I rebook it would be €60!
She then said "your train leaves in 5 minutes from platform 11, you need to run 😯
So me (who doesn't run) at far too many kgs plus my pack at 19kgs plus my small pack at 8kgs ran. I just hope there wasn't any cctv capturing that!
I made the train. Pheww.
So now on high speed train to Dijon and I’m knackered! Goodnight!
So I thought I'd go to Rouen (ruuwaan) to see the Cathedral and maybe look around to see what history there was on vikings etc. I had planned 2 nights to give me a good day and half to explore this little town 2 hours north of Paris by train.
However! I got a head cold the day I left Paris and by the time I got to Rouen its was full blown yuk! I managed to drag myself around the town, which like Cambridge on a Sunday, not much open, just the touristy things and saw most of the cathedrals and narrow medieval streets.
It's a busy city. There are 2.2 million people plus half a million tourists (actually over 32m per annum or 90k per day) and maybe a million scooters.
It smells funny, a cross between the local public toilet, the smells from a 5 star kitchen, the aromas of a purfumery and the smell of damp.
There is dog poo everywhere, be aware! (touch wood….)
The food is terrible.... Like what is a piece of bread roll with tomatoe puree and ham with a simple beer from Belgium like.... Bloody fantastic is what it is like. There is something about French Baguettes, they have a taste all of their own nothing compares in NZ.
The French drive like crazy people, you even have to look both ways on one way streets, yet few serious accidents (although most cars have dents). Be careful of the electric scooters, listen for the beep beep, they sneak up on you and they are everywhere. And the french can parallel park like demons! They have to there is no space anywhere.
Everyone dresses funny, the current trend or style is… Whatever I put on it’s style!! Everyone including the beggers have their own style .... and they all look great.
There are beggers everywhere, purely begging for money or trying to sell you crap. You just have to ignore and say NO (non merci), against our kiwi way, but if you don't, you'll be broke in a week.
There are lots of French people but there are also lots of people from North Africa, the eastern block, the middle East, India, China, Philippines, Italy.... The list goes on. Very cosmopolitan and multicultural. Adds to the flavour.
It can be expensive and it can be cheap, you just have to hunt around
Also where else do you have a Tesla or a brand new Jag as a taxi?
There's lots to hate, but more to love.
I love Paris.
The thing with Paris, is there is soo much to see and do you walk forever and at the end of the day, your feet get sore. After 4 days of traipsing all around the place today was rest day to put my feet up and relax, except I decided to go pay Jim Morrison a visit!
Any-who.... in the last few days I have been to the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Centre Georges Pompidou, the Louvre, Dali Gallery Montmatre and of course Cimetière du Père Lachaise to see Jim Morrison.
The great thing with Paris is the Metro underground trains, easy way to see the whole city, however there is lots of walking between trains and lines and also lots of bloody stairs. Plus Montmartre where I am staying is great but it is on the side of a hill, so lots of up and down. And lots of bloody stairs.
Here are some images for your viewing pleasure.
Todays B-Log (as one of my dinosaur friends call's it) is all about the photos. Some images of the Montmartre streets for your viewing pleasure.
She’s a long drag to Paris from little old NZ. 17 hours direct to Dubai, 3.5 hours waiting in the transit lounge with 6 million other travellers from all nations (ran into and chatted with 2 Jarpies (South Africans) of course (‘don’t mention the rugby'). Then 7 hours to Paris, train from CDG to Gard du Nord and then a 20 minute walk (after 20 minutes of being lost) up the hill to my digs for the week in Montmartre.
Travel learning tips 101
There will be more, keep watching.
Well actually I did. My girl wrote a beautiful card, my family were there to see me go, my beautiful people made sure I left with love. And I did!
I thought the leaving would be OK, a little sad but all good. But I was wrong, it was hard. Partially driven by my own insecurities about “what the fuck have I done” and also the surrealism of it all? But mainly because I was leaving my family for the longest I've been away from them since ever.
From the day to day of work/life that I’ve been living since I started work (for real) over 23 years ago (I actually started doing holiday and weekend 'work' when I was 10) to now hoping on a jet plane to travel across the other side of the world and go exploring in a country with a whole different language (which I can’t speak, “un carfee sil view plays?") and a significant cultural shift (I was the only person of non African descent in the street at one stage). It’s OK Jim, I haven’t started crying for the tent in Sparrow Farm Road yet??
I know I’m going to miss all my family and friends (don’t cry fool), but thanks to this internets thingy I can keep in touch and have the feelings and comfort of home just a wifi password away!
So make sure you all keep in touch too please!
Love you all.
Well actually I'm going exploring in autumn and winter in France and the UK. A bit of me time and time to find myself (yeah I know a bit ...woteva ya call it) and take truck loads of photos!
This is where you can follow my travels and hopefully get inspired to go travel yourself, get out and see what the world has to offer.
Feel free to comment and get in touch via email or skype or carrier pigeon, all options on my contact page.
Carcassonne Castle, South of France.