Paris Evaporates

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July 25th 2019
Published: July 26th 2019
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Today we travel to France’s Loire Valley.

We wait in long lines of traffic as we try to get to Amsterdam airport to catch our train. Our taxi driver tells us that this is due to “the incident” yesterday. We’ve given up watching the news, so we don’t know what he’s referring to. He makes it sound very sinister, and our minds immediately jump to terrorist attack. Fortunately it’s nothing quite so dramatic. It seems instead that someone at the airport petrol station inadvertently pushed the wrong button, which meant that 50 flights couldn’t take off because they didn’t have any fuel. The chaos that we see here this morning is apparently the flow on from this.

Our train to Paris leaves twenty minutes late. It then crawls across Belgium, but as soon as we cross the French border it speeds up again. An announcement then comes over the PA system to tell us that the train had to slow down because the overhead wires in the whole of Belgium had become overloaded. The announcer has a heavy French accent, and proudly explains that everything will be alright from here on in “because we are now in France”. This is good news, but the bad news is that the train’s now nearly two hours late and any chance we might have had of making our connection in Paris has evaporated. We arrive in Paris to find that that’s not the only thing here that’s evaporated. It feels ridiculously hot. The taxi driver who takes us across town from Gare du Nord to Montparnasse station tells us that it’s now 43 degrees here. The train company has decided that too many of its patrons are at risk of dying in the heat, so it’s bought thousands of cartons of bottled water which it’s handing out for free to anyone who happens to be in the station; passengers or not. We are put on a later train to Tours and arrive at the hire car office minutes before it was due to close for the evening.

We drive along the south bank of the Loire River from Tours to our hotel in the very cute village of Amboise. The hotel is a large old house and it feels like we’ve driven into an oasis as we come in off a narrow cobbled street to its large and very green garden surrounded by huge trees. I have a very welcome dip in the pool at the back of the garden. We have arranged to meet our friends Mark and Carol from Melbourne here. Carol is English and they have a house at Augerolles which is about three hours south of here. We share a very pleasant meal in a cafe on the edge of a square in the shadows of the Chateau d'Amboise.


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