So I planned a rather last minute trip to Paris. I booked my ticket a week in advance and found a decent hostel, which surprised me given the short notice. Friday rolled around and I jumped out of bed wide awake. I still had to make it through class, but I packed my bag and headed out, not intending to return to the flat until Monday. Today was also the day of the final exam for the first Latin session, so I had to go to class, even if I wanted to skip…
After we were dismissed, I ran up to the computer lab to print out my boarding passes. It was at this point that I realized I had accidentally booked my return ticket for Tuesday morning instead of Monday morning. I was fretting about it for a bit, but my friend Christine and I went on to Borough Market where she and the good food calmed me down. An extra day in Paris? Score! So I went along with it.
We perused the stalls of the market, feasting our eyes on the deliciousness that assaulted us from all sides. It was difficult to decide what to eat. In the end we settled on meat pies with a side of chips and we split a meringue for dessert. Completely satiated, we wandered around for a bit more, until we decided to get a pint, at which point we made a bee-line for the nearest pub. Christine had yet to taste cider, so I ordered a cider for her and a scrumpy for myself. Ciders can range from sweet to dry and Strongbow, the one I ordered for her, strikes a fair balance between the two. It’s also rather inexpensive and quite good, in my humble opinion. A scrumpy, on the other hand, is easiest to describe as a cross between a cider and a beer. We enjoyed sipping our pints until it was time for me to head on up to St. Pancras to catch my train to the airport.
I caught the Tube to the train station, a train to the airport car park, and a shuttle to get from the car park to the actual airport. So much public transport… But I made it with plenty of time to spare. As I had no bag to check and I already had my boarding pass, I headed straight for security, which I passed through rather quickly as well. As it would be quite some time until I would be able to eat again, I grabbed a sandwich and waited for my flight to be called. Unlike in US airports, the three airports I’ve been to in the UK require passengers to stay in large, central waiting areas until their flight is called. So I plopped down into one of the few empty seats, ate my sandwich and continued to reread Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on my iPhone. I was about halfway through. Little did I know that I would finish it during the massive amounts of time I would be spending in transit.
My flight was called and I headed to the gate to continue waiting in line. The flight was slightly late in departing, but fairly decent overall. I arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport, made my way through customs, and headed for the train that would take me into the city. I’m going to go off on a tangent here and comment on the security levels of various countries. When I arrived in Rome, the officers scanned my passport, stamped it, and sent me on my way. France was similar, but the US is ridiculous. When I came back from England last year, they questioned me for fifteen minutes before letting me, a citizen, back into the country. I was offended. The UK manages to toe the line between severe and lax and I’ve never been asked more than, “How long will you be staying?” But I digress.
So I walked through the airport and made it to the train station. Taking the train through the rather seedy outskirts of Paris, I made it to Gare du Nord. From there I took the metro north, transferred to another line, went south for a bit, got off and walked to the hostel. By the time I arrived, it was 23:30 and I was done with public transportation. I crashed early so I could get up in the morning and make my way through the City of Lights.