Travels: En France

8 05 2011

Gare Du Nord

Yup that’s the front entrance of Gare Du Nord in Paris, just to show I was there. Unfortunately that’s the only picture I took as, to be honest, it aint that picturesque coming into Paris.Well… strictly speaking it’s very picturesque coming into Paris, it’s just that the scenery is dominated by graffiti, good graffiti, but graffiti nonetheless.

Anyway, I couldn’t see a great deal of the place because I had to go via Metro to another station to catch a train. If you’ve ever caught the Underground in London then Paris Metro is a whole other world. Seriously, they got it right, we brits got it wrong. Big stations, large platforms, travellators between sections in big open halls, ok the trains are not new but they are spacious, and it’s not run by people who have serious issues with the rest of the world.

Another thing travelling in France that surprised me was the proliferation of bins. Loads of them in a major train station (Montparnasse this time). You’d be hard pressed to find one in a major UK one like St Pancras, I know, I’ve tried. The french in their typical galic way have solved the security issues of bins by having regular patrols by the army. Kinda puts many bad people off when that happens, and is a surprise to see for the first time. Yes I know that we have armed police at airports but carrying a semi automatic 9mm submachinegun with an effective range of 100 metres pales into comparisson with fully automatic 5.56mm assault rifles with an effective range of 500 metres that these guys were carrying.

So after a few train rides, I finally met with my hosts, nice couple with a frankly epic bit of property, and the adventure begins.

Now, of course this wouldn’t be my blog without a little someting extra. So read on.

I knew when I started on this that I was basically going out on a limb, that I was subjecting myself to experiences with no way of knowing how I was going to react. Here I am with a couple I’d only spoken to via email, going to a country I’d last visited 10 years ago. So many variables, so many unknowns, so how am I doing?

Honestly? My comfort zone is smaller than it used to be but then I’m older and much has changed in my life to make me… less confident compared to my younger self. My mind also goes into things very analytically, yes I know this isn’t unusual for me but it seems to be more than usual. However, me being me, I kinda bluff my way through it until I’m feeling a bit more comfortable with things. I’ll save the analysis of this for another post, it probably needs it.

So. Am I happy? Umm, not yet, I’m not comfortable with things… but I’ll survive I guess. Perhaps I’m too messed up to stay places. Hmm, either way I’ve made my bed and I’m too stubborn (or stupid) to do anything but sleep in it. Ah well, all part of the adventure.




2 responses

8 05 2011
Zoe Smith

Glad you got there in one piece. Paris travel infrastructure is second to none in my opinion.

On the “am I happy” front, maybe you can get a bit of happiness from reflecting on the achievement of having the balls to pack a bag and just do it?

Keep us updated Xxx

8 05 2011

good to hear you’re on the way. travel won’t answer the question about happiness, so don’t beat yourself up trying to find out answers- you just need to travel in yourself as you travel in reality.

enjoy some wine, cheese, & patisserie. if you can’t be happy, at least you can pretend!

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