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After a full day of sightseeing in Paris

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


we boarded our overnight train to find our coach cots.

We couldn't afford a private car and never stopped to think how this sleeping thing was going to work. Our usual thought process to just go with it always works out, I thought.

As we walked down the tight aisle with all of the couchettes to our right and seeing how full they were made us a bit nervous. Was there going to be any space for us together? Most of them were smoke filled which gave me visions of having a massive migraine because of my high sensitivity to cigarette smoke. At each car we quickly turned our heads to look in and continued to walk. When I looked behind me I realized that we were the only ones still looking for a room so there was no pressure to hurry anymore. We decided to keep walking the length of the train and came upon an empty sleeping car.

We settled in on that one and I closed the sliding door behind me to keep out the smoke that was now wafting into the hall. I heard the click of the door and turned to Jon who, standing, held out a bottle of water and was waiting for me to sit. Always the gentleman.

I still had my baguette tucked safely under my arm.

Because of the small paper wrapped around it, giving just enough space to hold onto, there was no place to set it down without it touching the table.

Smiling, Jon asked, "Are you going to hang on to that all night?"

Pointing the baguette into the air I said, "Yep, it took me two days to figure out where to buy this. The kids are going to say, 'My parents went to France and all I got was a piece of bread.' How sad. But oh, so good" and I took a bite of the best tasting bread ever.

We sat down and waited to see who would join us and began talking about all we did and saw. I was still smitten by the petit dejeuner we had earlier that day in a textbook charming cafe. It was just like in a movie, sitting in those famous French bistro chairs, having breakfast served to us on individual silver platters donned with a fresh flower and pretty carafes filled with fresh orange juice. In a corner, aged club chairs begged you to sit and read the paper. Needing some protein for the long day, we made it an American breakfast and ordered eggs. Even they tasted better there somehow.

"I don't care what people say, the French know how to do things right." I said

"They don't know how to do everything right." quipped Jon. We both laughed knowing what he meant.

"True. But I'm talking about the pretty things. Some other stuff, yeah, they could use a little help with but that's ok."

"How about that guy who gave us a ride to the metro in the pouring rain?"

"I know. I can't believe we did that. Remember how we all laughed when he finally deciphered our poor French and took us to the right station? That was funny. He was the nicest French person."

"What's funny is that he wasn't even French." Jon said.

"What about the horrified looks on people's faces on the bus when we missed our stop at midnight and jumped off at the wrong place? It's a good thing we can run fast."

"Or how about the girl who threw a firecracker at me? Good times... I can't wait to go back! Next time we'll know better what to do and where to go and where not to."

Just then the door rattled. We looked up to see who would be joining us. It rattled again and we heard someone talking to another person. Looking puzzled, Jon asked if I had locked the door but I knew I hadn't. Jon got up to go to the door and I tiptoed behind him. He tried to open it but it didn't move. Giving the door a firm tug, it finally gave. He leaned his head into the hall and saw that no one was there. He closed the door and tried it again but it was jammed. "The door's stuck! They probably thought the car was full with the door locked and kept going."

We heard a voice from the hall yell something every so often. It was official sounding, announcing something as they walked down the aisle. We assumed it was an attendant checking off all the rooms. A minute later the train began to slowly pull away from the station. We did a happy dance as we realized we had a private car after all and high fived each other.

Taking our water bottles, we toasted to our little, albeit unplanned, coup as the train began to gently sway. It gained speed as I rested my head on Jon's shoulder and watched Paris fade into the distance.

Ten hours to Rome and the adventure would begin again.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely! I finally got around to reading this and it just makes me that much more excited about my trip to Germany. No, it isn't France, but it is somewhere "exotic" where people do things differently for inexplicable reasons. Your post made me smile.

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