Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Travel, and Little Else
Linda just couldn’t leave Les Eyzies with saying goodbye to Cro-Magnon man, especially since we walked right by the discovery site on our way to the train station. So while I watched the bags, she disappeared up this dirt lane and around the corner. She was gone a long time and I sure was relieved to see her finally round the corner. I had also been relieved to see the bags were still there when I had returned from my own little neighborhood excursion. Who knows, maybe Linda was relieved to see me still there when she returned, as she knows my propensity for wandering off.
As the clock on the station shows, we were once more leaving at a rather early hour. We weren’t the only ones, as I counted 14 people at the station when the train finally arrived. Finally arrived being the key phrase here. We were not scheduled to arrive at Toulouse until just a couple minutes before one o’clock, but not on this train. We had two connections as part of this trip, both of about 15 minutes. So, when this train arrived 15 minutes late the level of concern in both of us was, shall we say, in a somewhat elevated condition.
To help alleviate any concern that Linda might have, I joked about there always being a next train, though the way I was scrunched up in this seat probably did more in that line than my words. It also helped that our conductor asked everyone aboard about their connections, then spent most of the remaining time of the trip on the phone. Just before we arrived at Perigueux, our first connection point, we were informed which track we needed to go to in order to make our respective connections. We took that as a hopeful sign that even though our connecting train was scheduled to leave just as we were pulling into the station, there was a good chance we could still make it.
It looked like we weren’t the only ones with a close connection, as the seats emptied of passengers as the train began to slow for the station, with everyone crowding around the exit doors. When those doors opened I don’t think I have never seen a train empty out so quickly, young, old and in between all rushing for the stairs. Down the stairs we went, I carrying both Linda’s and my bag, her trailing somewhere behind. The thought flashed through my mind that it would be funny if I made the train she she didn’t, which I instantly realized wouldn’t be funny at all. I had our bags and train tickets, she had all the information on our hotel in Toulouse, not good at all. That caused me to slow down and wait for her. When we climbed the stairs to the right track the bad news was that there was no train. The good news was that there was a mob of people there, meaning the train was late coming in. Sometimes you just get lucky.
The signs were showing the train was 10 minutes late, which was great because it would still allow us to make our next connection in Bordeaux. That was for a TVG, one of the high speed trains, and it was the kind with seat reservations. As the minutes ticked by, more and more people crowded on the platform, but worse was the fact that we saw those minutes making it impossible to make that next connection.
When the train finally did arrive, it was a repeat of the last one, the conductor coming through and asking everyone for their connections. I kept hoping they would make up a little time during the hour plus journey, but every time I thought that was happening, the train would slow for some unknown reason and those hard earned seconds would disappear.
Once again we were lucky, and the TVG to Toulouse was late arriving in Bordeaux. These are really huge trains, and when it did pull into the station, we were standing within 10 feet of the door to our coach. How far we’ve come from that experience a few years ago that found us in the wrong car going in the wrong direction in Germany.
Another pleasant surprise when we arrived at our hotel, the room was nice and large, plus were on the first floor and right beside the elevator. Out the front of the hotel is the Canal du Midi, and all around are restaurants. Linda sure did another good job of picking a hotel. One thing we don’t do in hotels is book the more expensive rooms with a view. We find those are usually in the front of the hotel over a very busy and noisy street, at least in the hotels we pick. We like the rooms in the back that are quiet. Besides, time spent in our hotel room looking out the window means less to to explore the whole world awaiting outside. Since it was, shall we say, a high stress travel day today, I’ll just sign off here so we can rest up for the next three days in the Toulouse area.
As Linda loves to say, ‘so what if things didn’t go quite the way they were supposed to today. I makes for a good story. May your day have also been as “interesting” as ours. With Calvados nightcap in hand, we bid you Au Revoir.