Howdy all, it’s time for me to flick through my diaries again and see where I was on the 22nd of August, 2011, and what the heck I was doing. And would you believe it, as off two weeks ago, I spent a bit of time on the train going this time from Carcassonne (Southern France) to Paris (also France, you may have known this though…)
Okay so, I had been in Lyon, in a couple of days I was flying off to Japan to see the woman who is now my wife, so it really was the end of the bulk of my ‘touristic’ adventures if you like and my parents had also come to France, so we arranged to meet up for a couple of days, and we stayed in a nice Bed and Breakfast somewhere outside Carcassonne.
The two days had already been punctuated by my father really disliking a restaurant we had been too. It was something to see, I don’t think I’ve ever seen my father so disenchanted with a meal out ever in my life. Hi Dad if you’re reading don’t worry I won’t go into it!
This now left a longish train journey from Carcassonne to Paris by train for me. My parents had a hire car and so they were giving me a lift to the station. The train left at 10.11am, but we had a bit of a way to go. I wouldn’t say I dragged my feet, but I became engrossed in a conversation with the owners of the Bed and Breakfast and this made us late leaving.
Dad tore along the French countryside at speeds rarely reached by someone’s father in his late-60s at the time. We passed more tractors than I could count, and I still remember the tension in the car, the slight abuse of the GPS and so forth. Somehow, we found ourselves at the station just in time. Dad I think just pulled up in front of it. I think I already had my ticket, which was the main issue because I would have struggled to use it on a later train.
I may have ran a little getting out of the car and thankfully made it safely onto the train. I heard later that Dad had actually parked in the wrong place and got fined! Or nearly got fined but did a brilliant ‘dumb tourist’ act and got out of it. I was on my way to Paris, due in a little over seven hours later.
I just had my hands on my laptop, so I used that a lot on the train, very happy to have that with me after travelling six months without it – couldn’t imagine that now! And the train was extremely hot – it had been very hot pushing 40 degrees in Southern France at the time. Well, it was August! There was something broken and it couldn’t be fixed, I found a carriage with windows that opened every so slightly, but that only helped minimally.
We pulled into Paris 30 minutes late, and I noted that on the TGV Bordeaux to Paris takes 2.5 to 3 hours, whereas on this train a comparable distance took over eight hours! Shows you the difference highspeed rail makes!
I stayed at an Ibis Hotel in Paris, not right in the centre, can’t remember exactly where but it was well air-conditioned and comfortable enough. I was soon to fly out to Japan. Some travel days are slow, hot and stressful, and this one certainly was those things. But I got to my destination in one piece, which is the main thing, right? Thanks for popping by today. Where were you on the 22nd of August 2011? Do comment below.
And of course, May the Journey Never End!