Having gotten as far as Roissy-en-France, our next task was to make our way to Chartres. At about noon, all our baggage in hand, we navigated the shuttle back to the airport's train terminal into the Metro, very much akin to the NYC subway. From the Metro we bought tickets and took a train to the Montparnasse station, from which it was an hour's train ride to Chartres. In retrospect, I should have spent the year previous to the trip in weight-training to prepare for the hefting of luggage: up and down staircases that avoid train tracks, across gaps between the platforms and the trains, above seats to luggage racks and back down, and negotiating hairpin turns in small spaces with a train of four daisy-chained valises. I'll know better next time. Maybe. I'll drag a sherpa along.
In Montparnasse station, we lugged our stuff up and down on stairs around two sets of train tracks and three flights of escalators and waited for the train to appear on platform 19. Here again, the time one has to wait is not quite enough to do anything genuinely constructive, not even to down a smidgen of lunch. James was able to find and purchase bottles of "Coke light", which, if you think about just the words, without knowing that it is something to drink, you might think it is coal to burn to see by. Notice, too, that both words, here in the cradle of all that is French, are English. English! Who said they failed at invading France; Joan of Arc notwithstanding?
The interiors of intra-city train cars are interesting, though. Unlike the row on row we've got at home, there are also seats that face the aisles, surround little coffee tables, fold up or down to accommodate luggage, bicycles, or seating as necessary. They are examples of the kind of innovation I would have thought Americans would have come up with first. Huh.
Once we got to the hotel, an adequate but small room awaited us just outside of town. We stowed our bags, then took a walk hoping to find a solution to the problem of the lack of grounding to the North American/Continental European electricity adapters we had brought. I had thought--sight unseen -- that the adapters James brought would suffice for my grounded-plug computer. I was wrong. Despite having visited a very well stocked computer/electronics establishment, we came away empty handed, resulting in the first delay of getting these Europe pages up in a timely manner. If it's not one thing, it's another.
Returning to the lodgings, we decided to eat at the table d'hôte, where I supped on côte de boeuf and pommes de terre Anna, which sound very chic until you realize it's just meat and potatoes, served with a little flair. We also had a little wine. Then it was lights out with the "Buffalo Grill" marquee shining brightly just beyond our curtain, and its Friday night crowd whooping it up. Tipsy people sound the same in any language.
This page was last edited on November 08, 2010