Day 1 – To Paris By Bus We Go

Paris Travel Blog

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Sept. 17, 2007:  Day 1 – To Paris By Bus We Go


            Justin and I got on the 9:30am bus from London to Paris, departing from Victoria Station and through National Express.  We paid 15£ each after service fees.  Not bad for a 7 hour bus ride to a different country and over the English Channel on a ferry.

            We caught the ferry in Dover and as the huge boat was departing shore we got a good view of The White Cliffs of Dover which are similar to The Cliffs of Moher in Ireland but all white from the chalk-like substance.


            The ferry was huge and reminded us of a cruise ship even though neither of us has ever been on one.  There was an arcade, bars, restaurants, viewing areas, and lots of storage space for the hundreds of cars and buses.  It took about an hour and a half and then we were in France.

            Today was the first rainy day of my trip, and Justin and I commented about how lucky we’ve been with the weather thus far.  We didn’t mind it being nasty since we were just traveling all day anyway.

            There weren’t many people on our bus, but we could tell there were a few French, including the driver.

While listening to music on my laptop while typing blogs I heard ‘Porcelain’ by ‘Better Than Ezra’; another song that reminds me of Steph and a time in my life that I’ll never forget.  The first cut truly is the deepest.  The love I had for Steph is easy to remember, but brings a damp feeling to my heart, like a cold cloth had just been placed over it.

I love listening to music that reminds me of times in my life.  Take for example the band ‘Sublime’, which reminds me of sophomore year in college and the summer of 1999.  It reminds me of partying, studying, working, no worries, no life deadlines or shattered dreams

I heard another song that brings up strong emotions and vivid memories, but not pleasant ones; ‘Hate Me’ by ‘Blue October’.  There are days when I don’t think about Kitt, but the past two days have not been of those type.  Yesterday I was reminded of her during a conversation with Justin about how if one can go on a two week vacation with his girlfriend then they should get married  Kitt and I made it two days before she took the train back to her parents in Missouri.

I was working in Kansas shortly after Kitt and I broke up.  It was good to be away from Boston, the house, and all that reminded me of her.  But when I heard this song on the radio while driving back to my hotel one night during a thunderstorm, I almost had to stop the car due to how emotional it made me.

And another song heard; ‘Landslide’ by ‘Fleetwood Mac.’  It reminds me of driving north to Copper Harbor from Houghton, Michigan after spring hit in the Upper Peninsula.  Driving and missing Steph.  We had just started dating, and she was nine hours away in lower Michigan.  The greens of spring were everywhere and were gladly welcomed after many months of white.  Driving always calms me, and gives me time to reflect and analyze whatever is on my mind. 

The bus got into Paris around 5pm; two hours ahead of schedule.  We got off and took a few minutes to gather ourselves and get our bearings.  It was my first non-English speaking country since the start of my trip, and only the second ever non-English speaking country I had been in (Mexico is the other).

We found our way to a hostel near the River Seine.  Justin’s ‘Lonely Planet’ guidebook said it was the cheapest hostel in Paris with Internet.  It turned out to be 27€ instead of 25€ like ‘Lonely Planet’ said. 

I knew some French since I took two years of it in high school, but it had been thirteen years since then and I had forgotten most of it.  I still knew “Parlez-vous Anglais?”  This came in handy quite a bit.  The hostel receptionist said “Why do you want me to speak English when you can speak French?”  We had heard the French do not like to speak English and were realizing that there is truth to it.

She placed us in a room on the top floor with five French university students.  There was no elevator and when we got to our room we found out the students were probably the equivalent of freshmen and could not speak much English at all.  My limited French did not come in handy and so we just did our own thing.

We ventured out for a bit and only had to walk a short distance to Pont Neuf where we could see the Eiffel Tower and the River Seine.  The city was stunning at night with a bright spotlight revolving from the Eiffel Tower and highlighting the low lying clouds that scattered the sky.

We went to bed around 11pm and I was awoken at about 12:15am to the French students barging in.  They did not even try to be quiet as they laughed and talked in normal voices.  After about thirty minutes I was quite close to jumping out of bed and strangling the loudest of them all who had a very annoying and loud laugh.  Instead I suffered through it a little more and eventually they went to sleep.

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photo by: Sweetski