every journey is an adventure.
mine always seem to be more adventurous than most…
also, france likes to test my patience.
yesterday i had a fabulous day. i woke up early, talked with alex. then i visited with cait, josh and brianna in the kitchen drinking coffee while caitlin baked banana bread. cait and i then went in to town to do some errands, and she left around 2 to go pick up her boyfriend, naz, from the airport. i got a tonne of administrative things done, which is an epic accomplishment if you’ve ever spent any time in france, and i was feeling great. although my bike got a flat tire, i got in a great ride beforehand, and managed to check off nearly everything on my to-do list. it was hot, beautiful, and i had finished my exams (hopefully successfully). in the evening, everyone went in to town and got crèpes, then we wandered around, got icecream, and then we got sushi.
i should have known it was too good to be true.
i started packing after a good chat with mom, and then i got a message from caitlin informing me that the french rail company was on strike – again – starting that day and going until the 28th of may. as in, encompassing exactly the day we need to leave on a french train to get to milan, from where we’d be flying the next day to athens, from where we’d be taking a ferry to the island of skiathos for a post-exam-pre-2nd-try-exam-period vacation. curse you, SNCF, and charles de gaulle, for conditioning the french people to strike ALL THE TIME! (just wait, it gets better).
we left as planned, and our first train was merely delayed 25 min. no problem, except the ticket stations were all closed, due to the strike, so we couldn’t print our tickets out because foreign cards don’t work in the auto-machines. not even the conductor knew what to do about it, so he essentially ignored us on the first train. we got to nice, and the next train was delayed an hour. still couldn’t print tickets. and we find out claire’s flight to athens is cancelled because the air traffic controllers are on strike. so we hung around in nice for a couple hours. and what did we watch on the street at the café while we waited for our train, that was “perturbé” by the strike? we watched a parade of strikers. not just one group, but many groups. there was even a union of unioners group striking. ONLY in france could this be possible. un.be.lievable. (incidentally, many of the groups were chanting “an-ti sar-ko, an-ti sar-ko” – anti sarkozy. elections coming up you know…)
we finally made it to the small italian town of ventimiglia, just across the french border, from nice. and because of the french strike and us not having tickets yet, we missed the connecting train while we waited in line to get them printed. so then we had another two hours to kill until the next train left, onward to milan. let me note, also, that this train left on time and we have pretty tickets in our hands. and only a couple hours later than planned.
in the end, the strike has actually mildly worked in our favour, and i can’t say it put us out too much. it’s hard to say you’re being inconvenienced when you’re killing time at a café in nice, or eating snacks on the mediterranean coast, or drinking apéros on a patio in a small italian beach-town. particularly when you’re not actually missing a flight due to the delays.
so now i am sitting on the last train-leg of this journey, 4 hours to milan. once again extremely blessed to be travelling along the breathtaking mediterranean coast and through the italian countryside, eating candy and hanging out with two really cool people. we’re in a hotel overnight near the airport and fly to athens in the morning. from there we have to figure out how to get to the island, but i’m on vacation baby. no worries. though i think i shall take a nap, seeing as i am running on two hours of sleep and have been up travelling since 6am.
it’s a hard-knock life…
cait and naz
clairey and josh
cait and naz ❤
la rotonde, late afternoon sun
cathedral tower at sunset, aix
waiting in nice
watching the strikers
beach in ventimiglia