Saturday, 28 November 2009

The Voyage: Wednesday November 11

Position: 49° 0'14.40"N 2°34'15.96"E

Kjell, Liz and I met at Gardermoen airport to fly to Paris Charles de Gaulle. There we would meet the other 5 passengers. As we got to Paris quite early, and Kjell and Liz had never been to Paris before, we decided to take a train into town and have a late lunch by the Seine. As you do.
Easier said than done, though, as it seemed near impossible to leave our luggage at Charles de Gaulle. After almost an hour of searching two of the three airport terminals, we finally found a small desk that had an even smaller sign next to it which read: 'Baggage du Monde'. A woman came from behind a door behind the desk and showed us the rates per item per hour.
She didn't look like she belonged there. As it was the 11th of November, we thought that maybe she was taking the place of her father or boyfriend while they were having a day off. There was just something about her that seemed entirely out of place behind the counter of Baggage du Monde in Charles de Gaulle airport.
Ah well, at least we got rid of our bags.

We took the RER into Paris, arrived at Châtelet les Halles and instantly got stuck inside the shopping centre. Literally. We couldn't find the way out. The good thing about that was that Kjell found a shop that sold the video camera he wanted to buy, and it would have been a shame to go on this mammoth trip without a good camera.

We did eventually find the way out and went for steak near the Seine. After lunch we had about 45 minutes left, in which we managed to cross Le Pont Neuf, see the Eiffel Tower and the Notre Dame.

Back to de Gaulle was not as easy as it should have been due to a 'socialist movement' and limited train service.

We were at Gare du Nord at the same time as Alex and Kieran, but managed to miss them and get a different train. Getting on the train was slightly confusing: the people on it couldn't seem to agree whether or not it was an airport-bound train. But it was.

We got back to de Gaulle at 7pm and found Alex, Kieran, David and Margit.
Dave had managed to spot Margit immediately, even though they'd never met before.
So then there were 7. Tom travelled a day later because he had a show in Prague that night.

After a bit of hassle (the ticket machines refused to print our tickets), we settled in on the train from Paris to Le Havre. It was a TGV (Train de Grande Vélocité), but its velocity was not so great. It was a three hour trip, and when we ventured into the restaurant carriage for a beer, we found a young man who didn't seem to belong there either. He didn't know which beers he sold, nor what the price was.
It must have been the French day of doing someone else's job.

We got to Le Havre at 22.40 and took a taxi to Hotel Celtic, a hotel that was used by sailors docking in le Havre (we found that out later).

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