The plane ride was long, and weird, and squishy… 100% disorientating and just weird.
Luckily enough on the first leg – Melbourne to Dubai – the plane was only something like half full so I jumped at the chance to head downstairs and grab a whole aisle to myself to get some zzz’s.
The second half was 20 times more uncomfortable, having just my little window seat to deal with. When the man beside me got up I thought I’d do another sneaky and go hunting for any spare aisles, alas, I had no such luck. And when I returned he said, disappointedly, “Aww I thought you weren’t coming back” *glare*
The flight from England to France was extremely short in comparison, but with much more turbulence. I got a heads up about which phone companies are best in France from a lady on the plane (kudos to you!) and I had my last ever *bad* croissant for what I hope is a long time.
Airport Charles De Gualle seemed so quiet and small in comparison to all the others I have seen in the past day, either way it was still an extremely long walk to the train station.
And that is where the real adventure begins…. I was fairly sure I could find my way to the hotel – catch the RER, switch at Gare du Norde to the Metro and then get off at Place de Clichy. But first I had to buy a ticket, I asked the girls with the Information tshirts who happily informed me that the ticket machines are not working, so you just have to get on the train… okay, I can do that, if you say so… Getting on was fine, but getting off proved difficult. The barriers are like a turnstyle with another gate attached to them, I had to manoeuvre my suitcase and bags around them in an uneasy and somewhat delirious state at the time. Then, switching to the Met I got on the wrong train. It’s never happened before in my life so of course it happens on my first day in another country. You see the stops on the train have little lights next to them, and I figured the stops that were lit would be the ones that have already passed, not the ones that are yet to be stopped at. But that’s okay, I have all the time in the world to get to my hotel. All I needed to do was get off at the next stop (Stalingrad for the record) and change to the other platform. Exiting the barrier was not an issue this time but THE STAIRS, oh so many stairs. No-one told me this. Where are the escalators and the lifts? Lugging that suitcase around is not something I am keen to do again. So much so that I am booking a taxi to take me to Gare de Lyon for the trip on the TGV.
Hot and sweaty, tired and delirious I arrived at Place de Clichy. Disorientated by everything that Europe is and Australia isn’t; cars, on the wrong side of the road! bikes, everywhere, so much scaffolding and zebra crossings that actually have traffic lights attached – so no, it’s actually not a give way to pedestrians situation…. All I had was a little map and I was not sure where to go at all. The map told me it was near the cimetière de Monmatre, and in my state of exhaustion somehow I translated that as the cinema (?! fourteen years of FFrench say whaaat??!!) but it wasn’t. So I walked, I still had time, I was just exhausted. I found some kind of bridge thing with some stairs and in my head I’m going oh no, not more stairs, just please not more stairs but it was down like 20 steps I found the little hotel.
And finally a shower and sleeeep.
Flying has to be one of the most strangest things, they treat you like you are some kind of koala or bear type animal. You get on the plane, you get fed, then you go to sleep. You wake up, you get fed, you sleep some more…next flight, you get fed, you sleep. They don’t operate on any real time schedule (or at least it was neither Melbourne time, Dubai time, or London time). It’s probably why I’m so messed up now.
But at least there are movies!