Monday, October 8, 2012

Countdown to Paris

First off, I want to wish everyone a happy, happy Canadian Thanksgiving!!! I had a chat with most of the family last night as they gathered for turkey and the trimmings at my niece Kate's place in Windsor, Ontario. I miss Thanksgiving and all that it stands for and believe Europe and the U.K. would do well to adopt this celebration. I am sad that, except for perhaps Octoberfest in Germany, I am not aware of any longstanding similar celebrations over here -- and Octoberfest seems to be more of a beer fest than a gratitude for the blessings in our lives.

On that note, after my group coach trip to Paris, set to leave October 19, was unexpectedly cancelled last weekend, sending me into an emotional tailspin, I am glad to report that I have been able to put together something at the last minute and that Paris is on the horizon.

After the cancellation, I was determined to spend time in Amsterdam or Paris and not waste my holiday sitting at home, but of course found that with my days off only weeks away, both cities were fully booked and if there were availabilities they were not in my cost range. But, after four straight afternoons online at the library, I have been able to sort out a plan and am now booked for two nights and a day and a bit in Paris!

I had to change my plan from the weekend to the Monday through Wednesday, but that was no big deal. I was looking forward to the coach trip because I would be travelling with and meeting new people, but I was not looking forward to what would probably be two interminably long bus rides. I'll be travelling on my own now, which doesn't prohibit meeting people, and I'm sure the coach time is cut to a quarter. I've also learned a lot about some of the options available out there.

So, on Monday, October 22 I will be catching a very cheap Megabus from Cardiff to London where I will then take the Eurostar train to Paris, arriving in the belle ville early evening. I have booked a single room at a hostel not far from the Eurostar station in the Paris neighbourhood of Montmartre. I know shockingly little of Paris, except for the standard tourist destinations of the Eiffel Tower, the Seine, the Louvre and Notre Dame. I will have all day Tuesday to explore the city and will be praying it doesn't rain!

Montmartre seems to be a good choice, being an old part of Paris and the site of the Moulin Rouge (home of the cancan), the Sacre Coeur Cathedral, and the famous cemetery where so many illustrious people have their last earthly resting place. Now, I just need to scour the charity stores for used travel books on Paris and a handy French-English dictionary.