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Published: September 29th 2019
Luxembourg to Paris: AFL Grand Final
Not so grand but very final. Comfortable trains, large tables, and this is economy.
Gee, looks like someone has had a good trip. Luckily you don’t trip over a cake shop every 5 metres in Australia.
Well let’s get the Grand Final thing out of the way first.
My team wasn’t in it, so the care factor was very low, but we still watched it at breakfast at 6.30 in Luxembourg, and continued on the train to Paris until the end. I have mixed feelings about the hiding that was served up to Greater Western Sydney, but they were beaten fairly and soundly, they are from NSW, so it’s a good result. And a close friend is a Tigers tragic, so I’m thrilled for her. Our train travelled at 308kph, and I think the Tigers would have beaten it today. The debutant starred and his was a great story of redemption from a chequered past.
It’ll have to be the Hawks next year.
Our train ride to Paris was uneventful. As I said, the footy consumed most of it, but from memory, the French countryside is a lush green patchwork of brown ploughed fields, and low crops for animal fodder. It was mainly farmland, but small French towns and villages broke the monotony of a long train ride.
We arrived at Gare du EST and stepped from the train onto the longest platform
A Melbourne institution in Sacré Coeur Paris. A 40 minute wait is enough to test anyone’s patience. It was good but hardly worth the wait.
I’ve ever seen. I think it was a 10 minute walk just to leave the station. The crowds were solid and our Uber driver later in the day said Paris never slows down.
The walk to the Grand Magenta Hôtel was easily negotiated and involved one turn over a 15 minute walk; 25 if you include the train platform.Tim had been ribbing us that I had booked a room in a seedy part of Paris so it was with interest that I walked through the nondescript doorway to the reception desk. Actually, calling it a desk is a bit generous. It was more like a few sheets of ply joined together, with what looked like an old door as a desktop; hey, recycling is a good thing, right? We did get a friendly reception, had our bags stored away for checkin later, and the girls had use of the first floor toilets, a little worse for wear I heard, that we later learned were directly opposite our bedroom door.
We keep our door locked. It doesn’t completely open anyway, as it hits the heater at the half open stage.
There’s nothing to be concerned about here. As
Sacré Coeur, Montmartre
It had to be done. It is a landmark of Paris, looking down over most of the city. Its pa minor Basilica and an important church of the Catholic faith, built in 1879.
I write this, we have a man slumped on the footpath across the street eating fries from a paper wrapper. His pointy Rasputin beard points to the ground from under his hoody, and I know he’s keeping an eye on things, so its no worries for us.
We’re meeting Tim and Natalia at a quite unique Brassiere about 20 minutes away, and the walk there is through very loud crowds lining predominantly Turkish and Lebanese businesses, and a flourishing bar network, with people spilling out into the streets, drinking the first of many for the night.
Mr Google Maps predicted a 16 minute walk and 2turns to arrive at the Brassiere Julien, , a restaurant with a formal 19th Century French decor, serving fresh interesting meals - yes, you could get your snails here - at very low prices. The waiter was helpful, as he attended to his allocated tables, and I was surprised how quickly the meals came out. We were seated near the rear, and had an unobstructed view of this ‘out of place in this neighbourhood ‘ establishment.
The walk to Julien passed through a very Turkish/Lebanese ares, up a long street full of
bars, restaurants, Indian cheap electronics accessory shops, and a constant wave of people lining up, bumping passed us, yelling, laughing, or just touting for customers. Sue hates this sort of congestion but I don’t care. Something is always happening.
The walk back was more interesting, starting with a scammer trying out his, ’My wife lost her purse with everything in it, I have 4 kids, and we have no way to get back to Canada.
Well, he wasn’t Canadian for starters, and when I told him, before he asked, that he wasn’t getting money, he then accused Sue of tapping me to leave. ‘The women always do this. Are you happy now?’ Mmmm, ‘always?’, Sounds like he let his business model out then. We weren’t his first targets.With him gone, we made our way back through even heavier crowds until we came to the building site at the end of the street. Here a narrow fenced off path wound around the back of the building site towards a dark diversion back from the main street.
Normally I would have walked along the barrier on the road, as some others did, but took the path in deference to
Sue. At the end of the path there was a group of youths gathered, they were mainly of Africa appearance, leaning up against both sides of our path, and standing outside, and I put my hands on my pockets and kept going. Just as I passed the first couple of these , a tall muscular guy yelled and leapt into my path, and the others, girls and boys, began laughing. I didn’t stop, and although it was confronting, walked straight at him and he stepped aside.
Oh, it was hilarious, apparently.
We continued to walk at a brisk pace, Sue thought we were followed for a while, and we reached the main road that our hotel is in. This side of Paris, near two major railway lines, a large market, and dirty smelly sidewalks, is a far cry from the Montparnasse district, with it’s magnificent gardens, wide spacious footpaths, and the safe feeling of being able to wander around at all hours, with only dogs shit to look out for.
We ain’t in Kansas now.
Still, it’s an experience. Tomorrow we fly out late, so we’ll enjoy a day in the rain, I think, with Tim
and Natalia, Sue will cry as they leave, and we’ll back to the hot bed of life we call Paris.
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