Camino minus 1 – Paris to St. Jean Pied de Port

Tired? Yes, we did not get enough sleep last night.

Sad? Yes, I hated to say goodbye to DH on the train platform in Paris.

Anxious? Yes, more than a little. 

Our transition from hotel to train worked out very well. I had packed and repacked last night in the hotel,so this morning was just a quick wash and wear (the same clothes from yesterday). I has been raining for two days so some items are humid, but nothing major. We bought my last set of tickets yesterday, having made a dry run to the train station the night before.

His train leaves in 3 hours for Germany.

On the high speed train to Bordeaux, I know that there is another pilgrim somewhere on this train. She  probably got off the plane last night at CDG, spent the night in Paris, and is more unsure than I am about where she is heading. Although perhaps the other pilgrim has done this before and this is old hat for her. I will recognize her by the big packpack she will have when she gets off the train and rushes to the train from Bordeaux to Bayonne at 1232.

The view outside the train window is as foggy as my thoughts af the future. My pack is so heavy -I know I’ve made packing mistakes but could not see what else to leave with DH to take home. 

I’m hoping for my entourage of Saints to help me get safely through this first day.

Time will tell.

Camino minus 4 – A Wild 48 Hours in Paris

My feet are complaining big time.

In the past 48 hours, we have:

Walked to the Eiffel Tower and seen it at night

Been to Notre Dame

Been to the Louvre

Been to the Musee d’Orsay

Taken off our shoes and recovered at a fountain at theTuileries 

Gone back to the Louvre

Walked along the Seine River

Gone back to the Musee d’Orsay

Gone to the Pompidou Center 

Eaten quiche twice, hamburgers once, duck once, crepes once, wine lots of times

And we celebrated 38 wonderful years together.

The most common language heard is French, of course. The second most common, hands down, is American English. We are shocked at how much American English we are hearing. I would expect British English, since we are just across the channel, but I haven’t heard any yet. After that, it’s a toss up between Italian, Spanish, and Australian English.

Anyone who says that the French are unfriendly is talking about a France that I am not experiencing. To be sure, the people who I meet are mostly people who work in the tourist industry, either at tour sites, restaurants, etc. However, everyone I have met is funny, warm, speaks English better than I speak French, and seems sincerely happy to be asked for help and advice (and shares information graciously). 

Most of the local people I have met are young adults who have traveled outside of France. Last night, our waitress told us that she lived in the mid-west for a year (I can’t remember the city). Our waiter tonight lived in London for a year. 

Whether guards at the Louvre, cashiers at Carrefour, or ticket sellers at the Metro station, I am met with a smile, a polite greeting, and an answer (in charming, French-accented English. How cool is that?)

But my feet are begging me to stop the madness. They are trying to convince me that I have already walked 800 kilometers. What will I do on Tuesday?

Camino minus 8 – Paris bound or The Toilet Strikes Back!

Camino minus 8 – So Long, Stuttgart

Well, I’m off.

Packing last night was surprisingly easy. Everything fit well. My newly revised hip belt situation was repaired (the one that came with the backpack was way too small) and fits very comfortably.

I washed my rain jacket yesterday and sprayed it with waterproofing. It is now a lovely shade of red because it is clean, and I hope it will be waterproof. 

What have I forgotten??

I downloaded some last-minute apps on my iPad, which I plan to use on the trip in order to continue blogging. I spent much of yesterday moving photos off the iPad and onto my computer. Not easy but I may have succeeded. 

I also got an app that should allow me to write off-line for my blog. The blogging program I use, WordPress, is usually connected to the internet. However, since I expect to be out of the net quite a bit, I want to write off-line and transfer the text to WordPress when I do get to the internet. 

If the formatting on this post is a little off, it’s part of my learning curve and I will try to fix it.

We are on the high-speed train to Paris. It is very comfortable and clean. 

However, I had another toilet adventure.

The bathroom on the train stays clean because it has sensors for water and for air drying. Trying to save water for all, I first spritzed a little soap onto my hands, then held my hand under the faucet.

No water.

I waved my back and forth a few times. No water.

There I was in the W.C. with very slimy hands. I waved my hands under the air dryer and now had slightly dry slime on my hands.

Why not use toilet paper to wipe off my hands, you may be thinking?

Another problem. 

The roll dispenser is set up so that several rolls butt up against each other in the dispenser. The roll that was “out” was prevented, because of friction, from rolling freely.  Poking my finger into the tiny slot to create space between the rolls did not work – the hole was too small. 

The toilet paper dispensed one painfully complicated square at a time.

Fortunately I learned this when I was not having a W.C emergency. 

I found another toilet in the same car which had water. Crisis averted.

But what kind of adventures await me in Paris? I don’t want to speculate.

Oh, yes, my backpack weighed a whopping 25 pounds. I must get it down to 20, somehow, in the next four days. 

P. S. Why, oh why, can’t the U.S. build high-speed trains???