Day #22: July 20, 2009
Leaving Brussels was “bitter-sweet…” (ok, I promise after this blog I will stop talking about chocolate ;-)!!!). But really, it’s embarrassing how much chocolate we consumed. You know though, I feel like I consumed more than I think (yes, think) I did by simply smelling the sweet air! Amy on the other hand…well the picture speaks louder than words. Yes, we surly had a good “taste” of Belgium and were ready to explore our 8th country of our Walkabout, France!
Our next adventure wasn’t a planned one, but when are they ever?! We went to the train station to head to Paris. What we thought would be our shortest train ride (only two hours), turned into a much longer travel venture. We were the first ones to board our train. Amy had made a comment along the lines, exasperated from the heavy backpacks, “We better not have to move!” Because we were on board first, we had our choice seats and settled right in. Just as Amy and I felt at ease, the train attendant came to us and asked us for our tickets. We show him our Eurail Passes and he then asks for our reservation tickets. Our what?! Reservation tickets?
This was our 9th train ride, and we’ve never needed a reservation ticket! He told us that we would have to purchase them off the train and if we were to buy it on the train, it would cost 90euro in comparison to 15euro. We grudgingly got our bags down from the overhead and trekked to the train information center only to find a DMV “take-a-number” style wait for a solid 30 minutes. Our number is called and we ask the receptionist for a reservation for the next train to Paris. Oh, there aren’t any more spots available, Mr. Train Reception Man!? An alternative route was found though. We had to travel to another train station, have a two hour wait, and then take another train into Paris. We then took a metro, bus, and hiked a bit to go to our next host home. This host home, however, had about 7 fish and 1 cat as our host! The host family was on vacation and so we essentially had the entire house to ourselves for three solid days! Sam, the son of the family, was there to greet us, but left because he has his own place. We settled in by 11:00pm and laughed at our naivety when it comes to estimating travel time. After a solid 7 hours of travel, we sweated…oops I mean slept the night away! (Having no AC and not thinking to open the windows the first night…well ok it’s just the reality of traveling in a foreign country!)