Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ahhh Paris

Well... it's been a rough couple of days, people.

I'm not playing the blame game here, but I made the first mistake when I accidentally booked us on a flight at 7am this morning from Glasgow to Paris, instead of around 4pm this afternoon. Then, irritated about that, Matt and I both failed to even so much as consider that Glasgow, for the love of Pete, had two mother-freakin' airports, when there's an airport in Edinburgh--the two towns are a 50-minute train ride apart, that's closer than Chicago and Milwaukee--until it was too late to change / cancel the hotel reservation. The Tourist Info office in Glasgow sucked; I've been in a lot, and I can say with great authority that they sucked--they didn't even have bus timetables to look at! I wouldn't have minded if the girl had said, So sorry I can show you the timetable but it's my only copy. But she didn't have one, told us we'd have to go to the bus station; the bus station said that the airport itself, not a public transportation service, offers the bus to Glasgow and we'd have to book it online; and the website for the service said you have to book more than twelve hours in advance.

So yeah. The only upside about Glasgow? We ate a Pizza Hut--yeah, yeah, yeah, but it was actually delicious, a real restaurant WITH FREE REFILLS and a nice waitress. I had mastacoli (however you spell that) with alfredo sauce that had a nice little pepper bite to it and garlic ciabbatta and Matt had a sausage and ham pizza and stuffed mushroom, plus Pepsi. Too full for the fried cookie dough dessert they had. They had a salad bar! Then we went back to the hotel, Matt read for two seconds and conked out, and I read for a while and went to bed.

We woke up at 3:30 this morning, were out of bed by 3:45, out of the hotel by 4:00, at the bus stop by 4:20, on the bus at 4:25, and at Glasgow Prestwick (not Glasgow Airport) by 5:15. We'd checked our luggage by 5:25 and then when we went through security, I was MAD GROPED impersonally by a lady security guard, including making sure the underwire of my bra wasn't a dangerous weapon and that my butt is all real, because the gate thing beeped at me. By 5:50 we were having a little breakfast, and then we were on the plane, nice flight (we napped).

And Paris! I love Paris! I was here for two days the first time I was here (June, 1999), two days the second time I was here (summer, 2000), for an hour between Luxembourg and Bordeaux (fall, 2005), for a day one weekend in Luxembourg (winter, 2005), and that was it. And Matt's kind of like, "So, Zoe--what do we do?" As if I know! I haven't bought a Metro ticket myself EVER, it's not like I have the system memorized, and I was tired, dazed and cranky as hell. And he was cranky too and I wanted to smack him and he wanted to smack me. Fine. It takes a few minutes, but we get it all sorted out, including probably way overpaying for two limitless number of ride tickets for the Metro and intracity trains. Whatever. We get to the hostel at long last--and by that, I mean like 11am local time (Paris is an hour later, so I'm now seven hours ahead), and it's STIIICKY in Paris. We stashed our luggage, walked around, saw a church, the Pantheon (the French one...), Notre Dame and the Ile de la Cite, the Bastille monument in the middle of a roundabout, a long walk to Pere-Lachaise Cemetaire. Then we took a very long walked on bad cobblestones to see dead people's gravestones; for instance, Balzac, Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde (the best), Gertrude Stein, lots of very sad World War II and Holocaust memorials, and a couple of painters, plus other just nifty ones with art. We had our first real gelato and a lot of water, now we're at the hostel.

And so, tonight we shall walk around the biggies a bit, to the Louvre complex, the Arc de Triomphe, walk down Champs Elysees back to the Louvre and then Metro it home to sleeep. Tomorrow morning, we don't leave until around 2pm, but we need a train reservation so we'll need to get there a bit early, so we don't know what we'll do. Sit at the train station and write postards, probably.

Still, I love Scottish people and French people, even Parisians, and there's nothing anyone can do about it.

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