May 27th 2014 Day 7
Went to bed last night after midnight after packing and paring down one more time, alarm set for 03:30, train leaves at 06:00, be there 45 minutes early. Special cab is scheduled for pickup at 04:30 for 25 E. Walk out the door at 04:29 cab pulls up ready. Things seem to be running on time here. Get to the station and wait by the train until 05:40 when a porter comes up with a portable elevator, coolest thing. Deb barely fits though, he rolls the whole thing over by the door and hand cranks it level with the train, lowers a front ramp and voila we are aboard. Train travel is my favorite way to travel usually, but I must have jet lag or something, headache and general feeling of maliase, thats my three dollar word, hopefully used it correctly. Every one catches a nap on the ride to Paris after taking tons of photos and videos. We saw locks on streams, castles on hills, and a lift up a mountain. Every house we saw has terre cotte roofs and much of it looks like it is out of a fairy tale. There were some pretty sketchy areas too though, just not very many.
Pulled into Paris at 13:30 right on time, train had left at precisely 06:00, just as they said it would. Got off the train waked about a block to the station, lots of trains, lots of tracks, lots of station. Went into the help desk and a very nice lady helped us get a cab and look for a hotel. Cheapest hotel close enough to walk in the morning at 07:30 would be about 260 E. This trip just got real, real expensive that is. We needed the cab because in Paris there are at least four stations, a lady explained it to me that whichever direction you are coming in from or going out to, decides your station. Gare Nord is North, Gare de Lyon is South, that is what we came in from Milan to. Gare Montparnesse is the West station I think that is the direction we are going. It is about a 20 minute cab ride for 35 E, cabbie was friendly and very fast. Worked on my French a little, now I can say more than rouge crayon et stylo (red pencil and pen).
When we arrived at Montparnesse I went to the help desk and found one English speaker there, he was extremely helpful. He said to go to tickets see about getting one out tonight and changing our reservation. Even if it cost 200 E still cheaper than staying in Paris for the night with cabs and hotel and food especially. We went to the Billet counter and everyone was very helpful there also. The French seem to be anything but rude, they all seemed very gracious.
There was a problem with our ticket that we had bought in Milan. It said Deb was blind not handicapped. No tickets for the 07:30 train but could get us on the 12:30 to Bayonne. Cool little more time in the morning. “Hold on let us check something, if you can leave in an hour with a train change in Bordeaux we can get you all on there for a little extra.” We didn’t really want to stay in Paris overnight so sure. At 199 E with a 90 minute train change, sure no problem. Make the train with time to spare, we should be in Bayonne tonight. I had tried to cancel my reservation there last night but don’t think it did, we’ll see when we get there. Oh yeah the 90 minute train change is a 19 min. train change, but the conductor says no problem. Train is just a couple of lanes over.
We are now sitting on the train halfway between Paris and Bordeaux. What I understand is there was a bad accident ahead and we’ll be here about 1 hour, conductor came and wrote down our information to assist with connecting. They passed out little boxes with a cookie, applesauce, and water as an apology. Amtrak just lets you get a drink from the fountain. I do really like Amtrak though this line seems to be run a little better.
Back up to speed at 19:30 might have missed our connection. We will see.
May 27th 2014 Day 7