Sunday, 16 May 2010

The Traveller's Tale

 And our trip went like this:

Rome-Milan (3.5 hours)

An hour wait in Milano for the connecting train to depart (lucky we could wait on the train!), then Milano-Ventimiglia (4 hours)

A 45 minute wait in Ventimiglia for the connecting train, spent entirely in the Ventimiglia ticket office, and I was so rushed I forgot to validate the tickets (Come & get me, Mr Train Police!) which were sold by a lovely man with excellent English... and why do I mention this?  Ah, patience, patience.  

Ventimiglia-Nice Ville (50 mins).  The suburban trains that run between Ventimiglia and Nice are amazing, with glass doors, fabric covered seats and entire sections set aside for travellers with other needs, such as, old people, mums with babies, and other niceties that wouldn't last a day on the Sydney train system.  Clean, shiny and no graffiti, either.

In Nice, we tried to sort out the problem caused by Mr G's wallet being stolen in Rome, which was the fact that the Credit Card used to buy the train tickets from Paris to Dieppe, had been stolen, and so we couldn't get them out of the vending machine (which had been our intention during our nice 3 hour wait in Nice).  Mr G likes to be prepared, doncha know. 

An incredibly rude man in the information window handled our request for information, in my extremely limited French, by pointing to the ticket window, then lowering his head and ignoring every other word that came out of my mouth.  Luckily, the woman at the ticket window was incredibly nice, and she cancelled our original tickets and replaced them with two new ones, at very short notice.  Talk about the sublime to the ridiculous!
The rest of the 3 hour wait in Nice was spent in the bar devouring our meal of the day, two panino with ham, mozarella & tomato, and coffee, and beer for Mr G.  The Nice Ville-Paris (5 hours odd) trip was on a 300kph TGV, and it was amazingly comfortable.  I fell asleep on the train, with my feet up on Mr Golightly's seat, and my raincoat for a blanket.  Smooth as... and quick - we traversed the entire 900km in five hours. 

We didn't see a lot of Paris, but I took some photos from the taxi which took us from Gare De Lyon to Gare Du Nord, and yes, I know you're going to say "why didn't you take the famous Paris Metro?"  Well, gentle reader, I'd had an 18 hour day, about 7 hours sleep (which is definitely not enough, trust me), and the sure and certain knowledge of another long day travelling) was enough to make me forgo the experience of yet another metro, in a language with which I have no absolutely no facility... apart from "please" and "thank you"... so, we took a taxi.

The train to Dieppe was fairly full until Rouen, and then we had the whole carriage to ourselves - nearly as bizarre an experience as the time we went to see the latest Star Trek movie in our local cinema and we were the only people in there...

And then, we got to Dieppe.  It is apparently a nice town, with some good restaurants, and some interesting buildings.  But, as we couldn't find anywhere to leave our suitcases, we had to sit in the Ferry Terminal for five stinking hours, waiting for the boat to Newhaven. What an absolute waste of a day.  However, it was unavoidable - frustratingly unavoidable - how hard would it be to offer a secure facility at the Ferry Terminal so that people could  dump their bags & go back to town for a few hours?  Too hard, apparently.  

We did have a rather nice Croque-Monsieur each, at Dieppe, and Mr G played a couple of games of pool and learned some Greek swear words from a nice Cypriot boy who was going back to Brighton to study... then we got on the boat, and sailed, and sailed, and sailed:

and then, finally, we were there!


  1. Man, was I ever glad to fall into that bed!

  2. You didn'tstay in Paris? Interesting about the TGV, we were thinking of wondering down to Nice then crawling back up to Paris via the slow route in september. It's much quicker than I thought.


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