July 15, 2009

To Confess

In the end, there was no hitchhiking involved.

We were all ready. We had our big, thick black sharpie and white cardboard sign. We packed almost nothing. We had a plan (Xavier hides in the bushes and I stick out my thumb and when a car stops, we both jump in).

The train was approaching Aix-en-Provence (after only three hours and 800 km - those high-speed TGV trains and French infrastructure are mightily impressive) and we were ready to execute.

Then we heard the announcement: the train was going to Saint-Raphael. The very train we were on was going directly where we wanted to go (one little town away). We looked at each other and plunked back down in our seats. Way too easy. (Not sure why this wasn't in the original plan).

It even turned out that Xavier's cousin Elsa's friend was on the same train from Paris and Elsa was waiting for her at the station in Saint-Raphael. Oh wow. We never anticipated such easy luck. Anticlimactic. Despite this blow, we were off for other adventures.


About traveling by train in France. There is one step in the process that cracks me up. Perhaps it is everywhere trains are and I just don't know about it: Composting. Well, that is the verb in French: composter, the translation, I suppose is "to punch." There are composting machines and one must compost her ticket before boarding the train. Like this:


Jill said...

What an adventure! The beach looks amazing. You really have someone pee on you if you get stung by a jellyfish? Never heard of the remedy. Also, I'm shocked that people would even think about eating their lunch on the beach. How awful!!!

Starman said...

I've never understood the purpose of having to verify your ticket in these machines. Oh wait.....I forgot, it's France.

erin said...

oh i love following this trip. i'm in a similar but very different kind of beach town on the coast of italy. similar looking... rocky beaches, some sandy, small, funny locals with closed minds and strong opinions, pizza... different in that if one of the italians here heard me saying the beach is like one in france they would protest and start listing all the ways they are in fact very different (as any self respecting frenchman would i imagine!). you and your hubby's adventures crack me up. don't you just pinch yourself somedays that this can't all be real? enjoy!

Anne said...

Dang...was so waiting for a crazy story. But how are you getting back to Paris?!

Emilie said...

back in paris, tgv baby. all the way...(disappointingly - on the story front).

italian beach town, french beach town. yes, yes - i do think we could see some real similarities, but you are absolutely right that both parties would contradict us immediately...and yes, it is true, most of the time i feel really really lucky.

Isabelle said...

You need to "composter" your ticket each time you take the train and there are no turnstiles.
I live near Versailles and when I take the Transilien to Paris, I need to "composter" my ticket. The machines are much smaller than the one you're showing though!

I don't know if Starman will read this, but the reason why we need to "composter" the train tickets when taking the TGV for example is that if you don't do so, and if no "controleur" punches your ticket during the train ride, you can always claim that you didn't use your ticket and have it reimbursed!

So this is to avoid people from cheating...

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