Thursday, June 3, 2010

Basel -> Paris by Train


After picking up some snacks at Aldi and packing things frantically, Andreas drove us to the train station in Basel, called Basel S.B.B. I took a couple pictures in the station of the other trains while Andreas told me from what country each had originated. Then I boarded the train with Isabelle and her mom. Once the train got moving I got up from my seat to explore the other cars.


We were riding the French TGV - the fastest train on wheels in the world! The ride was so smooth you could hardly tell we were moving at all. It was also dark outside so we could not see the scenery flying by. I walked to the cafe car where there were tables and a small bar that served snacks, coffee, beer, and wine. I opted for an Alsatian Riesling and enjoyed it with a stick of landjäeger - a German smoked meat snack. Isabelle and I spent the rest of the ride looking at the photos I had taken in Australia the month before.

We arrived in Paris at 9:35 and made our way to the commuter train that would take us out to Christéle and Papito's apartment. This was a quick ride but at first I thought that I had lost my train ticket and the conductors were coming through the car to check! After frantically searching all my pockets, it turned out to be with Isabelle and we were relieved that I would not be fined by the train conductor on my first night in Paris.

We arrived at the Vaires-sur-Marne station and met Papito waiting for us on the other side of the turnstile. I was excited to finally reach a destination, and when I pushed my bag through the turnstile it came back up and hit me in the knee -- hard! This would leave me sore and limping for the rest of the trip...

It was Christmas Eve in Paris and all the decorative holiday lights were on. We walked a few minutes to the apartment and met Christele and baby Sohane and a HUGE meal already prepared! We had some Champaign and Desiree had prepared a platter of toasted bread with foie gras, lox, and a pink spread made with caviar. For the main course, we had roasted chicken, goat, and fried plantains. I was stuffed by the end of the meal! I sat back and listened to the family members catch up in Ewondo - not understanding a word. Every now and then Isabelle would try to explain what was going on.


We watched the Christmas Eve mass in Rome on the TV and finally we were ready to sleep. We inflated an air mattress and got the earplugs ready for a noisy night of crying Sohane. I slept well dreaming of all the things we would see the next day in Paris... my first visit to the City of Lights!

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