Sitting on board a very comfy first class seat on a fast train in France makes me appreciate modern life. I was nervous when I left Nic behind at the subway station primarily because I don’t speak French. Not that Nic does either but two heads are better than one, right?
The subway was exciting because I had to change at one stop and I had to try to find my platform in the midst of a whole lot of fast moving French people and I couldn’t spot my direction of the line I was supposed to take. After some urine smelling passages I found it and waited for the train with relief. I have learned to observe things when it comes to opening strange doors so I held back and watched when the train pulled in.
A rather full train opened up to a standing position and I started to relax now that I was on my last section. One of my pet hates appeared, just remind me that I hate a banal saxophone and a begging one at that. He reluctantly left the train empty handed at the next stop when he realised this was a carriage of silence appreciators .
My stop appeared and I was spat out into the main station where after checking in, I was able to reassure on free WiFi Nic that I had made it. The platform only opened 20 minutes before departure which saw a crazy stampede for the very popular train. An official staff guy shouted instructions in French and I stood still in my ignorance. A French lady chatted to me with much tutting and I realised that she was talking to me. I blinked, shrugged, shook my head and smiled. She shrugged in return.
Eventually I reached my carriage where I sat across an elderly gent who looked like he had stepped from the movies. I swear all that was missing was his cravat.
I was amazed by people traveling with their dogs and on this fancy train of which I had seen 2. A Jack Russell was lying quietly in this compartment under his owners legs and only seemed to stir when the second, a larger dog walked past with its owner. My trip was five hours long so the owners must know how long dogs can hold in their need to call nature, and I was impressed.
The luxury trip ended with us being spat out at a very small station in Bayonne where it became obvious which onward train was mine. Backpackers everywhere , young and old, as many of us solo walkers stood staring ahead contemplating the trip ahead. A two compartment train chugged into the station to collect us and I was surprised by how new it was, once I climbed on. Panoramic windows and enough shelf space to hold our backpacks made for a pleasant journey. At the last minute a class of tiny kids bundled onto the train and some brave teachers sat them down. They made the journey amusing with their ‘oohs and aahs’ every time we went through a tunnel. One small stop on the line saw the entrance of a chicken which delighted some of the kids and some Asian backpackers. I didn’t actually see it but heard the clucking, I kid you not, as well as the shrieks when the aforementioned tried to touch it.
All too soon our trained pulled into my final destination and we all piled out eager to find our beds for the night. The end of the line for my French train travel- for now!