My host drove me down to the train station on his way to work. Fantastic. I bought a new bottle of orange juice for the trip and I spotted my 10am Blablacar ride at about 9:45. We had to wait for one person who was stuck, I think she missed her bus, but she made it coat tails flying and off we sped towards gai Paris. No one spoke more than a little English, and My Spanish dialect of French wasn’t remarkably helpful. A few french phases are coming back to me, but I cant always remember what they mean. It took me 20 minutes just to remember how to say “eat”. I could remember I’m hungry, but I still haven’t remembered the word “food!” I can only say la comida, which will probably get me a commode or something in France.
It was fun though. They figured out though our French/English/Spanish/Sign Language/Pictonary drawing game and Theatrix, that I was going to sail back to the USA and they were really interested in that. I slept part way and relaxed in my leather seat and watched the Luxembourg, and Belgian and French countryside slip past.
The driver was so amazingly nice. Instead of dropping me at the outskirts of town, at the closest metro station to the highway, he dropped me at the place I was supposed to meet my next ride. I mean he looked it up on his GPS and drove me around the Plaza du Republique until he found the address. I thanked him profusely. I dragged my backpack out and realized that it was already after 1:30, and I wanted to be waiting at 4pm, so I didn't actually have so much time. I ate a lovely sandwich with Belgian Gouda cheese and Luxembourg/German bread sitting around the statue in the middle of the park, taking in the Parisian atmosphere. Then, I gave in and walked across the street to the MacDonalds, ordered a cappuccino and sat overlooking the square, and following up on my Blablacar and airbnb reservations and reviews.
I guess I should tell you what Blablacar is. It is a ride sharing site, where you can book rides with people to other cities. it is really well used and well received over here. We need this in Canada.
I went back to the address at 4pm, and only got lost once on the way. It is amazing how disoriented a person can get the first time they visit a place. But I was there, and so was the driver at 4:30 as we agreed. I did get someone to call him at 4:20 because I was getting nervous, but he arrived while the guy was still talking to him and he pointed him out to me:)
They are a 19 year old boyfriend and girlfriend from the University at La Rochelle. There is one other passenger. This trip was quieter as the couple talked to each other mostly of course. But Tristan told me that he actually has Canadian citizenship because his dad is from Calgary. He visited Quebec a few years ago.
He looked at my little map of where I am staying and said he could drop me right there. it is far out of town, but I can get a city bus in or ride a bicycle in about 20 or 30 minutes.
I thought this was really cool - so I snapped a fast moving picture of it - the train tracks for the tram cars are in the grass. The paved part you see is a walking path, but on the farthest side, what looks like grass has tracks running through it. It really adds green space.
coming into Paris - always something ostentatious (and beautiful) to greet you!
Ah the streets of Paris!
Ah the Metro stations of Paris
Charlie signs are a sad reminder.