Thursday, December 27, 2012

Farewell to the Emerald Isle and Paris in the Spring Time

Yes, it is spring. We are past the midwinter solstice, so I am classing late December as spring.

I had a lovely Christmas in Northern Ireland with lots of wee bairns running/crawling around (hmm. Bairns is Scottish, isn't it.) and wonderful traditional Christmas dinner. There were brussels sprouts (apparently these are essential), turkey with cranberry sauce, potatoes, roast carrots and parsnips, ham, soup, warm avocado-bacon-mushroom salad and Christmas pudding for dessert. Literally a feast.

But all things must come to an end and now I am in Paris! I have much planned for tomorrow, which will be my only full day before moving on to Amsterdam. Well, much planned meaning many ideas and not much thought as to how it might all work out. I shall report back, probably in a few days when I've had time to write it all down on my bus trip to Amsterdam.

French passport control was probably the quickest I've ever been through passport control - as I remember, it went 'bonjour', 'bonjour', 'merci'. I did not even get a stamp (where was my stamp?). Doormen have looked at my ID for longer. This incredibly quick customs was offset, however, by the interminable wait for the luggage to come through. Finally, all set with everything, I found a bus that might take me into the city and smugly paid my 5.70€, knowing it cost 17€ on the cushy buses.

This non-direct bus did take an awfully long time struggling through the choked streets of Paris, though, with honking horns and every intersection filled with stopped cars. It was like one of those puzzle games where you have to move the cars and trucks around until you can get off the board. We passed warehouses and what looked to be another airport, business parks, residential tower blocks, and then tall white buildings with French doors. Finally it stopped at Place de la Chapelle, and the driver said something that included 'Gare de l'Est' (our destination) and everyone got off. You could tell the non-French speaked by their looks of confusion. I managed to figure out what the bus driver was saying (he was going no further, and to get the 35) and followed everyone else onto the number 65, which turned out to be going much closer to my hostel anyway, which worked out well.

I'm settling in for the night and trying to figure out what time I can face getting up - 6.30 is probably pushing it, considering I'm still on Ireland time and it will be 5.30 for me. I'm already a bit tired - I've been telling people ’danke' instead of 'merci' so I should probably get an early night...

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