Wednesday, July 26, 2023

A day in Paris

 So I have decided not to prebook anything for this trip. I'm sure that decision will cause me some angst along the way and will likely cost a bit more money. And you know what? I'm OK with that! As I've heard m any times, the Camino will provide and it'll be good to take me right out of my comfort zone of having everything prepped. OK-- so that is NOT my comfort zoone - Iˋm usually winging things, but NOT where I'm going to sleep each night. 

So flying to Paris was "easy" and then I had to book the TGV (train) to Bayonne and then bus or train to Saint Jean Pied de Port. Yes - I decided to start right back at the beginning. Was there any other choice? I refuse to let the Pyranees defeat me!!!!

I wasn't able to get the morning train, so had to settle with the 4 PM. That means I could get to SJPdP to night, but it woul be late. So I'm staying in Bayonne Since the train was at 4 PM, I decided to take a walking tour of Paris. 

I swear the ONLY thing they eat for breakfast here is pastries!!! What happened to oatmeal. Sorry -- I can always use the question mark on the keyboard! 

The hotel I was staying at was so small, that the desk guy sleeps on a bench in the lobby! Which is on the second floor. So I woke him up when I left and then when I returned to get my bag. Oops, but it was almost 8 AM when I came back. I grabbed my bag and took it to the train statio  I left it in a locker that I had scouted out the day before. 

I have to say that dealing with the train station was so much easier this year than last. Last year, there was NO ONE to ask questions, yesterday, there were oddles of people. The platforms and the train number appeared way earlier on the screens so it was easier to navigate or perhaps it was all there last year and I never saw any of it!

The locker area was pretty secure. Everything, including me, had to go through scanner. Then I paid 5.50 E to store the bag which was way better than carrying it all day. 

Then I was off -- I was at Gare Montparnasse which isn't that far from the river and I wanted to do an Adventure Lab. It gives one some thing to do, not that there isn't loads to do in Paris! I chose an adventure which would take me to five brights and let's say there are loads of bridges in Paris. Some are just for pedestrians but most are for traffix - in whatever form that will take. 

It is totally insane -- there are men in business suits riding their bikes and taking on the same time. HUGE boxes on the back of motorcycles for courriers, scooters, cars, vans, buses, but not many trucks and they are small. Imagine a Canadian moving with the small Frenh moving vans! It would take a week.

So I walked to the first bridge which was several KM away from where I ended up at the river. I happened upon the Jardin de Luxombourg which is STUNNING. More on that in a bit. 

As I was walking to the furthest bridge, guess what I spotted poking out of the trees . Yes -- it was the Eifel Tower. Well, since I was that close, I decided to walk to it. I've been up the tower about nine years ago and had no desire to do so again. However, I was taken by surprise because the entire base of the tower is now fenced in, so you can't even walk underneath it unless you have a ticket! Nothing is free any more!!

I walked around the perimeter and got some great shots and then I went to the bridge and answered the question and then worked my way back towards Nortre Dame along the river. It was a beautiful. 

I'm not sure where the idea came from to put locks on the bridges or fences, but I saw a couple of guys cutting them off. Then I spotted some on some statues on the bridges. What is with people that they HAVE to leave that crap around for someone else to clean up.

Anyway, after the fifth bridge (in the adventure lab), I was close to Notre Dame Cathedral so I went to take a look. Despite the fire, the cathedral is still stunning. There is a display along the front, since itˋs under renovation and you canˋt get near it. M and I visited the Cathedral years ago and we managed to take a walk up the towers in the front. 

I had lunch in a street cafe, which is cool for people watching. I walked back along the way so I could walk through the Jardin again. This place is huge and its stunning. What a treasure for the Paris people. There are plenty of chairs that you can move around so you can sit in the sun or the shade. I was getting tired and needed a nap, so I found a bench in a shady area and had a nap!! I know -- I have no shame! Thatˋs going to be my motto on this trip - no shame!

Back to the Gare and I got my backpack from the storage and then waited about 40 minutes. The track number was announced about 20 minutes before the train left and I was in tne line. You are assigned a seat by Car number and then seat. It's amazing how many people ended up in the WRONG car. 

The train ride was long -  four hours, so I entertained myself by texting some people back home. I decided I had better check hotels because I would arrive at 8 PM and didn't want to walk around. Yikes, not a lot of options and not a lot of availability. This is one of those more expensive nights. I'm paying MORE here than in Paris. But the room is much nicer and includes breakfast  - as much as I can eat!

But I had to chuckle because as I entered the hotel, the owner said he didn't have any rooms, but becuse I looked like a nice person, he would find me something. That always sounds sketchy and I have visions of sleeping on the floor in the owner's living room. But he checked with his wife and I got a nice room on the fourth (actually the fifth floor). 

And did I mention that there is a massive festival going on. The streets are filled wtih people in red and white. Not sure what the occasion, but then the French donˋt need any excuse to party!!!

I spotted a couple of Camino markers down near the Cathedral. Was that a good luck sign? I'll take it. So I'll find a way to St Jean Pied de Port tomorrow and then we'll see what happens. As I said, I'm taking this one day at a time, but I'll be happy to get into a routine! 

I walked 26 KM today, in my new bigger shoes, with the same socks as last year. No issues. My feet are hot and sweaty, but so far so good. 

Well I do NOT feel like joining the revelers down below. Iˋll just listen to them as I fall asleep. 

One thing Iˋm very happy I brought are my reading glasses. Itˋs dark most places and hard to make out small print. Iˋm also happy that I bought a six-foot charing cord for my phone. So far, so good. 

And even if it isnˋt, itˋs all about makin due with what and then finding a plan B if that doesnˋt work. I'm counting on the Camino to find a way for me!!!!

And here's my sentence of the day:

Walked around Paris, did an Adventure Lab, walked around the base of the Eiffel Tower and then walked to the Notre Dame Cathedral. Took the TGV to Bayonne. Walked 26 KM wih no issues. 

Have a super day!!!




No comments:

Post a Comment