Tour de France

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May 9th 2008
Published: May 11th 2008
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Hello people, it's Kristoffer here.

This is my part of the France adventures. I was passed out when Peter left early for Luxembourg. I took it easy in Bruges and chilled with a fellow backpacker Molly from Guelph. We're having amazing luck with the weather still, only 1 day of rain! That good fortune continued for me in France
I took the TGV down to Lyon, through Brussels and Disney World Paris (didn't go, just the train stops) and finished in Lyon. I got in in the afternoon thanks to my late departure from Bruges. But when I met a nice businessman on the train from Minneapolis who lives and works in Lyon. He helped me with directions to my hostel.

It was on a hilltop looking over Lyon. It had an amazing view! Stunning, I could see all of Lyon and more. Sadly my camera is broken so I have no pictures, only memories. But I took it easy during that evening and geared up for the following day. I basically just walked up and down Lyon's busy quarters which is the bit of land that is smushed between the Saone and the Rhone rivers. I went to an Art Gallery/Museum which for the life of me I can't remember at the moment but it was very cool. It had a lot of old relics from ancient Egypt, Greece and local french art work and many many statues. Best part of it all was that I got in free!

After a quick lunch and a lot of walking I found this beautfiul park where it seemed half of Lyon went to since it was sunny, I didn't blame them, it was a great day. I also walked a bit passed my hostel higher up and found 2 roman ampitheaters and a beautiful church which were also pretty sweet. After that though, my legs were getting tired and so I decided to walk back to the hostel, sit with my book, a bottle of wine and that stunning view till the sun set.

Then it was an early bedtime (borking I know, but I didnt want to sleep in and miss my train....and Peter in Geneva!)

Things kif learned in France:
- Water Polo is a violent, violent sport
- French keyboards suck
- Their women are gorgeous
- Lonely Planet decided not to lie as much in Lyon as previous places

As Kristoffer mentioned, I woke up at the crack of dawn, specifically 445 in the morning in order to make all of my connections. The train transferring went and I arrived in Luxembourg without any issues. The fun didn't really start until I tried to get to Paris. I had reservations on the 319 arriving in Paris and Gare d'Est where I was supposed to meet Val (a friend from Vancouver for those of you keeping score at home). The train left Luxembourg, started getting up to speed, and abruptly stopped before it had even entered France! The Frecnh, being known for their openness, announced that there would be a slight delay and to not get off the train. That was all fine and good because there is only so much one can do in the middle of a wheat field. Ijust chucked in my headphones and waited. And waited. And waited. And, you guessed it, waited. The train didn start moving again until 245pm so I knew there would ne no way in hell that the train would arrive in Paris on time. I started to get a little worried at this point. Worry snowballed into panic when the train arrived in Metz, and they announced that the train would terminate there. That's it. No reasoning, no advice, just get off the train. So I did. And I ran. And I caught the next TGV leaving for Paris which left Metz at 4pm. By this point, I was getting quite worried that I would not have a welcoming commitee once I arrived in Paris, and thus no where to stay. I spoke to a nice Frenchman on the train who was learning English in Metz and wanted to come to Vancouver to practice law. I talked to him until we arrived in Paris at 510pm, two hours after I was supposed to. Val was a trooper though and was still there to meet me so it all worked out.

Val, much like Paula did in Hamburg, played tour guide for me while I was in Paris. We went throught Monmarte and saw the Sacre Couer, which is located at the top of one of the lpngest staircases that I have been on in some time. and then wandered around the backstreets to the Moulin Rouge. No, I did not see Nicole Kidman there. The next day, I wanted to go to the Ile de la Cite. We went up to Sainte Chappelle, which you are now finally allowed to take photos in but I couldn't get very detailed ones because someone else had the telephoto zoom lens that is mandatory for that kind of photography... We went to Notre Dame, which is just as dark as I remember, and then we walked along the Seine to get some photos back of the Cathedral. We wandered to Place de la Bastille, and the through the streets to the Place de Vosges which is a lot more picturesque than I remembered from when I last visited it. The walking didn't there though as we continued back past St. Eustache, all the way to the Louvre and the Tuileries. At the entrance to the Tuileries, there was a large art exhibit (think two sheets of rusted sheet metal). Two questions: first, how do two pieces of rusted sheet metal constitute art? Second, why would anyone spoil the view from the Place de la Concorde to the Louvre by outting something in between them? For dinner, I had escargot, which is actually quite good.

Things Peter learned in France:
-Do not buy Moroccan wine.
-Parisians are like drivers in Toronto: if there is space, regardless of whether it is awkward or inconvenient towards anyone else, they will fill it.

Don't you kids worry, Peter didn't lose me, we found each other in Geneva (track 1 at 11 am) and carried on our european adventure to Switzerland!!!


21st May 2008

Hehe...Sainte Chappelle is really pretty spectacular especially if it is sunny outside - soooo much stained glass. Did you actually go into the Louvre? Yeah - I won't recommend Moroccan wine. Wines from the Loire Valley (if you like white), Bordeaux (if you like red...though Sauternes is pretty awesome), or Burgundy (red or white) all come highly recommended.

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