20 June 2008

Foutu en France

In Europe, trains are never late. Except when I'm on one. So my train from Milan to Lyons, my high-speed pride-of-France TGV train, had engine trouble and was quite a bit late, and I missed my connected to Avignon. The SNCF staff were courteous and professional about it, though, and arranged for we who missed the connection, first a ride on a different train to Valence, then a shuttle bus from the Valence TGV station to the central station, then after a considerable wait during which I found a Turkish snack stall still open at midnight, a charter bus to Avignon, where I arrived at around 2:30 am with no clue what to do, my hosts there having had already to go, understandably, to bed. So I walked across the city to a hostel listed in my Lonely Planet. It was closed. I walked back to the train station. It too was closed. So I dropped my backpack to the ground, dropped my ass down next to it, and attempted to sleep on the pavement while the deafening chatter of construction work went on only 50 meters away. Luckily (luckily?), the station finally did open after 4 am, so I was able to park myself on an uncomfortable seat and sleep for a few hours with my face planted in my bag. At around 6 am, I roused myself and went out in search of coffee, for which I wounded up paying, in my delirium, 6.75VCU. I will say more about the sights and whatnot later after I've seen more of them. So far, I've only managed to tour the Palais du Papes, but Avignon is quite beautiful, and I imagine the rest of my time here will more than make up for last night's misfortune, which I should have expected after my "evil eye" bracelet from Turkey broke in the train. And I was really hoping last Friday the 13th would be the end of my misadventures. But this is traveling for real, my friends. No last minute 89 euro hotels for me when a nice, comfy parking lot is available for free. Funny that a beggar still asked me for money. How could I possibly have looked as though I actually had any? Pardon, mais je ne comprend pas le Fran├žais!

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