Helen and Earl on the TGV
Yesterdayâ€™s predictions for rain hit in full force this morning. Since we had a 7:19 train, we had to leave the hotel before breakfast was served so we sloshed the short distance in the rain, then had breakfast at Le Train Bleu Express in the station. We had tickets on the TGV or high speed train to Narbonne in southern France with a number of stops along the way. We boarded our train and had just gotten settled in when someone came in saying that there was something wrong with the train and we had to switch to another. So, having lugged our baggage back out, we waited on the platform until they brought in a replacement train. Fortunately, the new train came in on the other side of the same platform and all the cars were aligned with their corresponding numbers so the transfer was an easy one.
As a result of all this, we were 19 minutes late out of the station. Interestingly, at every subsequent station they announced how late we were. The train picked up some but not all of the loss by the time we got to Narbonne. The TGV was GREAT! Of course, itâ€™s fast above all but is also remarkably smooth and quiet. Not only is there little mechanical noise but passengers are asked to put cell phones on vibrate mode and to talk on them only on the platform between cars. Whatâ€™s more, people were amazingly respectful of the silence; there was little talking and that which occurred was done very quietly. This is a double-decker train and we were on the lower level. While that meant the visibility was less than it might have been, it also meant we didnâ€™t have to schlep the bags upstairs. To get from one car to another, one has to go to the upper level first. There was a bar on the upper level about 2 cars forward of ours so Lin and I went up for a coffee (me) and Coke (her). Like a fool, I neglected to take any pictures up there. Seating in the cars was two on one side of the aisle and 1 on the other. The 4 of us were seated at a table in the center of the car. Just opposite us was a couple slightly younger than us. The man was extremely helpful in telling us what was going on since the announcements, like those on public transportation everywhere, were difficult to understand. All in all, the 4+ hours spent on the TGV were among the best of the trip.
Jack & Linda on the TGV