Sunday, October 9, 2011

Au Revoir France, Hello London

Rising early we head for Tours this morning to drop of the car.  We are supposed to return it full of gas and spend a little time driving around searching for a petrol station.  When we picked-up the car they provided us a hand-drawn, photocopied map with how to get to the major roadways—of course there is not a single street name on it—wouldn’t it be fantastic if they included the nearest petrol station on the map?  Oh well, I guess it is in their best interest for you to return the car without filling up, that way they can charge you a fee for filling it up for you.  We finally find a self-serve station and after a little confustion, figure out how to use it.

We drop the car, and as we are earlier than we anticipated, grab a cup of coffee as we wait for our train platform to be announced.  There is a young man out front kicking a soccer ball around.  He somehow gets the ball stuck on the canopy of the front entrance and decides to climb up to retrieve it.  He manages to scale one of the poles supporting the canopy and swings both of his legs over so that he is dangling from his knees with is head toward the cement walkway.  We watch as he begins to swing his torso back and forth in an effort to sit upright.  Several of us in the cafe are watching with a mixture of awe and fear on our faces; no one wants to watch him fall on his head.  This tactic doesn’t work and he pulls his legs off the canopy and hangs from his hands, trying to pull himself up, which he miraculously manages to do.  We almost feel we should stand and applaud.  Ball retrieved, he casually goes back to kicking it around.

Our train arrives and we take our seats for the short ride to Paris.  In Paris we have to catch a taxi to the Nord Station to take the Eurostar to London.  Mike and Mari have arrived before us and are sending us messages to hurry up to our beautiful flat.  We grab a cab and head for Winchester Wharf.  The flat is lovely, modern, and in a great location right on the Thames.  We are fortunate to have Mike and Mari join us;  I had booked the flat, which has 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, without knowing if we would be able to convinence someone to share it.  There is a balcony overlooking the Thames with doors that fold open to let in the breeze.  Mike and Mari already have wine and beer in the refrigerator, and we relax and catch up before heading out to dinner.  

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