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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Travelog Europe: Arrival to France

Travel to France included a 7 hour overnight flight to Paris. Though it was only 12:30 am my local time in St. Louis, MO, I arrived in Paris, France at 7:30 am. The sun was bright and it was warm outside – quite unlike the temperature on the 777 plane jet. I departed the plan and followed the lines of people to the international exit – Customs. I was mightily surprised that the flight attendants hadn’t passed out slips of declaration papers which I had experienced in my other international travels (to Canada, Guyana, and Brazil). I kept waiting for the papers and nothing ever happened. I showed my passport to the friendly EU Customs guard and passed without a single inquiry of why I was visiting Europe – for business or holiday, where I was staying, and who did I know.

I next caught the train – the TGV or the European Super Train. First, I had to figure out how to convert my electronic ticket to a real ticket to use on the train. I stood in one wrong line after next and eventually found the correct one – the longest, slowest one. I got my tickets, then I exchanged my money. (I should have traded money in the States, either with my bank or the currency exchanges in the Airport. I gave the European Currency exchangers $120 US dollars and she gave me 65.38 Euros. What?!! Glad I packed half a dozen granola bars and cheese crackers because I ain’t buying anything! Not even food.)

The correct train car

The Super train is large. Very large. I stepped on the wrong car several times before I finally found my seat, by which time the car began moving smoothly away. Whew!

I had to transfer trains in Le Mans, France…The Pontiac car is named after this town. I walked outside briefly and snapped some shorts of the quaint European town, including its local Metro train.

Me at the Le Mans station waiting for my connecting train to Rennes

Pictures of Le Mans, France

I finally arrived in Rennes, France around 2:30 pm local French time. I had to take the local metro train to the University and the ticket machines are in French only. My list of French terms for tourists did me no good. Thankfully another conference attendee and native French women came to my (and two more Americans rescue).

By this time I was only working approximately 6 hrs of sleep in the last 24 hours and I was dog tired and confused. When I checked into the dorm room, they couldn’t find me because they were expecting me the following day. This time change just got the better of me. But after a little nap and a badly needed shower, I went to the opening ceremony to get my registration packet and enjoyed some light French cuisine, which included…stinky cheese.

The open air cafes in Rennes, France.

Frommage (cheese) and salad

stinky cheese dishes

Chocolat mousse
creme brulee


David said...

I want to go!! You'll have to tell me which spots to hit.

Darcella said...

I am working very very hard to be happy for you and not so freaking incredibly jealous that my eyes are literally, yes literally turning green. Everything I see has an odd jade glow.

Have fun!

Keana said...

I agree,I am so jealous, I could have finally spoken French in a French speaking country!!

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