In case you were wondering, my legs, buttocks and feet aren’t suffering any ill effects from the previous day’s walkathon with Pierre and Isabelle. To be honest, I was a little worried last night because today, the baby girl and I are going to leave Paris for the Normandy countryside by train and the Gare Saint Lazare wasn’t quite next door to Pierre’s house and that meant more walking and carrying our bags that we hadn’t really carried around for a few days. Did I mention that Pierre and Isabelle were lovely people and such gracious hosts? They, after we all ate brunch together as a family; (brunch was slices of melon from the Charantais region, beefsteak tomato, buffalo mozzarella and basil salad, an omelette and an assortment of cheeses, amongst which was a lovely Morbier cheese),Pierre and Isabelle not only escorted us by metro to the Gare Saint Lazar, but carried our bags. I tell you, they made our visit very special. Once at the Gare, I thought that claiming the tickets that I had purchased over the Internet was going to be as easy as swiping my card in the automatic machine and getting my tickets printed out, just like I have done a dozen times with Amtrak. But when in life is anything really that easy, especially when you are on a timetable? The machine wouldn’t recognize my American card, so off to find train people and a ticket counter. The four of us are rushing because we have twenty mintues until boarding, we ask the gentleman, at the information desk, if he could print out my tickets because, I explained to him, they were purchased online but can’t be accessed with an American card. He says no, you have to go on that long line or else no ticket. Frustrated but what choice did we have, Isabelle, the baby girl and I went to the line. Pierre, at this point, said that he was going to purchase our tickets, I couldn’t have that happen. That set my mind in motion, I spied out of the corner of my eye, ticket agents handling international ticket sales, I’m from abroad, so I ran to Pierre and said that I was going to try something. I went over to the ticket counter, the gentleman was quite nice, I quickly explained my predicament of purchased tickets but an unreadable card and in two minutes, I was holding my two tickets. Needless to say, I was relieved because I had my other cousin Francoise waiting for me at the train station in Normandy. This could have been a setback in my plans, but in the end it all worked out.
Pierre and Isabelle walked us to the train, we said our goodbyes and I was sad to say good bye, the baby girl and I had such a wonderful time, I hope to return the favor sometime soon.
Another transportation homerun for France. The baby girl was very impressed by the second class accommodations of the SNCF. She said that it felt like first class when compared to Amtrak, she wanted to know why our railroad couldn’t be like the one we were on. I couldn’t answer. In an hour and ten minutes, Paris was a nicedistance away and we were newly arrived in Rouen. The famous cathedral was immediately seen by me and minutes later we were off the train and kissing Francoise hello. I’ll tell you more about Rouen tomorrow.