Time passes so quickly when you travel. I have come to think of this travelling business more like a full time job then a relaxing holiday. Planning where you will stay, how you will get there, what you will see/do and most importantly eat consumes a lot more time then I you can imagine! So basically this means there is are only limited opportunities to down and write about it!
From the beautiful sunny and warm weather of Salzburg I headed to Stassbourg for a night with the French family and then onto Villars Cot for a week with Steph and David and sometime to explore Paris. My point form summary (if only I was a good writer)
1. Food is France: For someone who doesn’t particularly like cheese and butter the French food can prove to be a challenge. I honestly don’t know how everyone’s cholesterol isn’t through the roof (although Steph’s is high and she is a skinny 30 year old)!
2. Cooking: Steph and I enjoyed a few nights in the kitchen cooking together, interesting to observe how other people prepare food! By far the highlight would have been making savoury crossiants! I made my favourite, Hummingbird cake, which both and Steph and David adored
3. Castles and Merlin: A day trip to a near by Castle …. With Steph provided extra entertainment when we stumbled upon the filming of an episode of Merlin. After watching for about 30mons we both concluded that it looked like on of the most tedious jobs in the world, so much standing around!!
4. Paris: 3 day trips into Paris on the train. It took a little while to figure out the ticket situation with the metro but I soon mastered this! Now it was time to play tourist as I visited all the typical sights – Arc De Trumph, Champs Elysees, Lourve, Eiffel tower, Norte Dame, Sacre Couer, Miltary musean.
5. Check the weather: My first day into Paris it was wet and cold and I was underdressed. The following day I decided to rug up a little more. It was a fatal error not to check the weather forecast, a humid muggy 28 degree day presented its self to me. My climbing up the Eiffel tower was breath taking not only by the stunning views but also by the clinginess of my jeans and top! You can even see a bead of sweet running down my neck in the picture at the top!
6. I didn’t fall in love with Paris as some people do! Was it the language, was it the weather, or maybe it was because I was by myself I do not know. But it is for this reason that I must go back to create my own relationship with the city beyond the ‘tourist ‘ stuff!
The most important lesson learnt
7. Paris traffic is terrible and be organised at customs: My eurostair train ticket was a non-refundable ticket booked for 1.13pm. Steph and David drove me to the train station and we left at 11am, giving us just over 2hrs to make the 1hr drive. As I watch the time tick past and ask steph how much further we were as we sat in stationary traffic I begin to stress a little. After asking a policeman for directions we ended up driving down a street hosting a Saturday market, it was 12.45! Steph and out jumped out of the car and started running down the street to the train station, 15mins later we arrived and finally found the terminal. My poor planter fascia didn’t like running with a 20kg pack! After pushing to the front of the line I get my ticket and then push to the front of the customs line. I thought I would clear customs in London but apparently not! I was greeted by a ‘lovely’ customs lady who wasn’t happy that I didn’t have Ali’s exact address. She was enjoying her power trip and insulting me ‘you’re a physio so how do you expect to be able to afford to travel for 6 months without working.’ She was interrogating me about my travel plans and wanted to see all my travel plans, in my fluster panic I couldn’t find my return ticket nor could I think clearly enough to step aside and message Aldo for her address because I was still trying to make the 1.13pm train. After I was told she could refuse me entry, she finally let me through after putting a ‘naughty’ stamp in my passport. At this stage I had missed the train! But apparently this happens all the time, so it wasn’t an issue for me to go on the next one, 30 mins later. If only I had known this from the start! That won’t happen again!