Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Paris - Last Day on to..... ??!?!?!?!?
A rocky start to the morning with the evil little alarm waking us up at 6:30am. Something must have shifted from warm summer nights to fall in Paris, we both froze in our sleep. A cold shower was really no help but did the trick of waking us up. Heather stashed as much bread, butter and cherry jam from our last free Paris breakfast as she could in a ziplock bag and we were off to catch a taxi to the train station and Berlin, Germany.
Neither of us were looking forward really to an 8 hour train ride to Berlin. Be careful what you wish for. We got to the ticket window to find all trains to Berlin booked, the best they could give us was an over night which would get us into Berlin the next morning at 4am. Ummm no thanks, over night trains were a HUGE extra fee because you needed to book a sleeping cabin plus pay an additional fee to cross countries. But this didn't get us down. We knew this trip was about flexibility. We went off to do some internet research of where can we go ASAP. The ticket people at the train station must love us. We went back about an hour later with the question "where can we go ASAP?" ... the answer.... Bern, Switzerland! We had planned to travel to Bern (pronounced more like a mix of Barn and Burn) but not till about 9 days later. So good buy-bye Berlin... perhaps another trip.
Really not much to report from today. We got our tickets which did not leave Paris till 5pm and headed to the south train station on yet ANOTHER taxi. After lugging our bags a few blocks we both broke down and decided to get a locker at the station (no bargain there). With our 358 lb backpacks safely stowed we could explore a new region of Paris.
Ok let's be honest, all we did was eat great food, try amazing french wine and count the hours down till we headed out. So a few bottles of wine, a cappuccino, a plate of spaghetti Bolognese, tomato tar-tar and shrimp, creme brule and many baskets of french bread later it's time to head out. Heather got an impromptu french lesson when she tried to order another beer in 1/2 french and 1/2 english. They two waiters were nice enough coach her and make her say it 3 times before they would let her order!!
By the way, we've both done very well with our limited language skills... thank God most of Europe speaks very very good English!!
First class never felt so fine!! We had facing seats with a table between us. Heather napped away the better part of the trip. But of course we were smart and brought our own snacks from the grocery store not to mention a bottle of nice french wine that we paid a little under 2 euros for.
It is NOT a lie when they say that wine/beer is cheaper than water and soda in Europe. And big congrats to anyone who has success ordering regular "free" tap water at a restaurant... it's only happened once for us.
A four hour train ride wasn't long enough, we both were tired and could have used a bit more sleep. We got outside at the train station in Bern, Switzerland and found it to be quite chilly. The walk to the hostel was a bit more challenging in the dark. We found it in about 10 minutes and were happy this place didn't have 5-7 floors. We got checked in and then checked ourselves into bed for a long long night of sleep!