Now that my French and Italian Jellymoon was at a close, I felt spending an afternoon shopping in Paris would be the perfect sendoff.
I drove myself to the Tours railway station, lugged my suitcase full of wine (I also had my laptop/backpack with three bottles of wine), dropped off the car (and ran really fast in case we had speeding tickets), bought my ticket and hopped on the first train out.
I decided to splurge on the TGV as not only did I want to get to Paris in less than an hour, but I wanted to see what a big deal this fast train was. Let's just note here that the train I got from this rail station was only 6 minutes and it was taking me to the station where the TGV was.
Seated comfortably next to a window, with my arm slung around my wine-filled backpack, I congratulated myself on doing such a good job without the Engineer. I didn't get lost, I didn't have to pay for unknown speeding tickets, and I had arrived in plenty of time. I wanted to reflect on my journey so I decided to look at the pictures on my camera.
And that's when the problems started.
I had left the camera in the car. With 30-seconds to spare I jumped out of the train (with 70lb suitcase and backpack), ran to Hertz and hurriedly explained problem. If I could retrieve my camera, jump in a cab, I could still make the TGV for which I held a non-refundable ticket. Only problem being that the car was already at the car wash.
Luckily for me, I had seen the car wash the day before and it was on the way to the train! Woohoo!
Dashing outside, I grabbed the first cab, explained where I needed to get and that there was a stop and we had to vite vite! He clearly understood as he whipped my suitcase in the trunk (and when I say 'whipped' I mean he picked it up, said 'oeff' and with my help pushed it over the lip of the trunk). Speeding down the street, he honked, swerved and came to a halt as I pointed out the car wash where Mr. Hertz was standing with my camera.
I then kept my eyes on the clock as we sped through Tours. Seven minutes, 5 minutes -Vite Vite! My pulse was racing and I could feel the sweat dripping down my back. I chucked 10 Euros at him (4 of which were a tip for speeding) and, with super human strength, yanked the suitcase out and ran through the station.
Staring at the screens I found my platform, ran as fast as my aching legs could carry me and sprang up the 10 steps to the platform. Again, when you read 'sprang' think more like I dragged a dead elephant while making 'ugh ugh' noises as French people stared on.
But I had made it! ON TIME! With 30 seconds to spare. So much so that the train hadn't even pulled in yet.
It did arrive, and on it I got, throwing my back out as I lifted my case up the steps. Some very nice French men behind me watched the whole display, never once offering to help. I am using the term 'nice' loosely.
I was so freaking relieved that I plopped down in my seat with a great sigh. The guy across from me moved.
So much for arriving in Paris dressed beautifully, relaxed and sweat free. Instead, I had to remove my shirt, let my back dry, and clip my hair back because it was plastered to my neck.
Then, to add insult to injury, when we arrived in Paris, I once again had an all-out battle with the suitcase that had become my enemy (again while two able-bodied French men watched me), dropped it on my foot and broke my shoe! Well, the floral jewels broke off my shoe. The French guys said 'oeff' and picked up the scattered jewels. Thanks guys, now is the time to be helpful.
So that was my arrival in Paris. If it was any indication of the day ahead I refused to believe it. I was in Paris, and everything was going to be perfect.