Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sweaty creeper train ninja

Wrote this yesterday...

Holy cow!  I’m on a train to Normandy that I was THIS close to missing completely.  Long story short…I was supposed to be in Sweden this weekend for the Midsummer’s festival hanging out at this amazing summer home:

Right???!!  Bah!!

Alas, I had to cancel.  Sadness, dismay, travesty, forelorn-ness, you get the picture. 

So here I am with 4 days off work…4 unpaid days off work…feeling like I need to do SOMETHING to justify going almost a full work week without pay.  This morning, I sat at the computer trying to find a place to go.  I looked at various train tickets, plane tickets, b&bs, hotels…what to do, what to do.  It was already approaching 1pm, and I’m thinking I should just stay in Paris because it’s not going to be worth it at this point.   

I came across an adorable-looking B&B that’s attached to a bakery in Rouen, in Normandy. 

I called but the woman said they were full.  Forget it, I’ll just stay.  Nothing is going to be available this late in my price range.  Oh, well.  I tried. 

Two minutes later, the phone rings, and it’s the B&B lady saying that she has one room, the guest room in her home, that she doesn’t advertise but sometimes rents on weekends.  If I want to stay for just tonight, I can have it.  It’s the best room in the house.   NORMANDY, HERE I COME!!  I tell her, Oui! I’ll take it!

It’s 1:30pm at this point, and the next train leaves in an hour.  This means I need to pack my stuff, get to the train station, get a ticket, and get on the train within an hour’s time.  It’s a long shot, but I’m going for it.  I run around like crazy, throw things in bags, and get out the door. 

Realizing I might not make it if I take the metro, I decide to take a taxi.  I call a taxi service…hold…hold…hold…elevator music…no answer.  Thanks for nothing!!  I walk down the street.  No taxis.  10 minutes gone.  AH! 

Finally I find a cab, get to the station, and I have 25 minutes till the train leaves.  Still need a ticket.  When I see machines that sell tickets (rather than the hour long line at the window), I think this is going to be just fine, until the ticket machine decides to NOT accept my credit card.  I try again. And again.  Another card.  Another.  Rejection after rejections.  The train was leaving now in 15 minutes. 

I got in line for the ticket window, about 35 people long, at the rate of 30 minutes per person, which, in case you’re bad at math, guaranteed me missing the train and the next train wouldn’t arrive until evening.  Total waste of a day.  I had almost resigned myself to this option in complete sadness. 

By the way, I’m also sweating profusely because I thought it was still in the 60’s outside like the day before, so I have on leather boots and am carrying a wool jacket.  Today it’s blazing hot.  Surprise!!  And I’m running around like a crazy person.  For nothing, since my day trip to Normandy will now be just an evening of sleep.

Finally, in a stroke of genius, I start stalking random French people using the machines (like a total creeper. Desperate times call for desperate measures).  I hovered creepily next to them to see if their card was working, and then asked if I could pay them in cash for a ticket (even though I don’t have enough euros on me, which meant I would still have to go to an ATM, and also go across the street to the station, find the platform, and get on the train all within 10 minutes).  I was rejected by the first people because their train was leaving in 10 minutes (me too, we’re probably on the same train!!), and then…success!! 

I ran across the street in the opposite direction of the station to get money from the ATM while this guy got my ticket, ran back over, got the ticket, paid him like a swindler of some sort, ran to the station, found the platform, and hopped on.  Sweating like a lady…wait, I mean pig…all the while, and cursing the cute Ann Taylor boots and wool jacket. 

I get on this sweltering, not-even-a-window-to-open-let-alone-AC train, and consider my dignity for about .5 seconds before tearing the boots off and standing there in my green & pink polkadot socks. What. 
So…just to recap…I was about to stay in Paris and do nothing, but instead, within one hour, booked a room at a B&B in Normandy, threw on a dress (and BOOTS, like a moron), packed, got a taxi, accosted complete strangers and begged them to let me use their credit card, ran around like an idiot sweating, and then stood in public in my socks. 


Oh man…I can’t believe that worked out.  I’m so excited!! :)  I shall report soon on my lovely day trip to Normandy!  I feel like a ninja.  A really ungraceful, sweaty, panicky one who creeps on unsuspecting French people and begs for train tickets and stands around in socks.


  1. What a great story. Have fun in Normandy! I fully expect a 'whooping' picture if you go to Point du Hoc, since we are both such hardcore Aggies... :)

  2. Awesome story! How truly exciting!

  3. man, I got hypertension just reading that. If I had a euro for every time I felt like a sweaty ninja, I could have bought your ticket.


  4. Julie, I just re-discovered your blog and loved reading this!! Hilarious...glad you made it and can't wait to hear how the trip was.