Day 12: Paris/Reims

Turns out the national strike didn’t effect me at all; it was mostly in southern France. There were two TGV (high speed) trains leaving for Reims this morning so I woke up at 6:30am to catch the earlier one. I checked out of my hostel and then took the metro to Gare d’Est (east train station). Once I got there, I waited in line for about 10 minutes to purchase my ticket. Even though I have a Eurail pass, I still need to make reservations on some trains (especially the high speed ones). I got my Eurail pass validated with a stamp through the English speaking ticket agent, and then paid the 3 Euros for my 8:57am reservation.

The train station was pretty big, with over 25 platforms, but is pretty easy to figure out. The platform number is announced on departure TV screens about 30 minutes before the train leaves and the doors close 2 minutes prior to the scheduled departure.

The actual train ride went pretty smoothly, but had trouble finding my seat. I couldn’t read the French on my ticket so I didn’t know which car to get into.

I asked three different people who gave me directions in French, but finally found a nice French woman who took me to the right car and showed me my seat.

The trip only took 45 minutes and when the train arrived in Reims, it was raining (good thing I bought that umbrella two days prior). I walked south and found my hostel about 15 minutes later. I left my bags in the luggage room and then walked around Reims. I found the Notre Dame de Reims and luckily the tourism office was right next to it. I got a map of the city (it’s probably about the size of Greenville) and then got lunch in a covered shopping area.

After lunch, I went back to the hostel and checked in. I’m staying in a five person room (the largest one they have) but I’m the only one in it. I guess it’s still a little bit early for backpackers since most of them are probably still in school. Because it was still raining outside, I decided to go to sleep for a few hours. I woke up around 7:00pm, and left to go get some dinner. I found a Kebab shop about a block from my hostel and did my best to pronounce what I wanted in English, but ended up just pointing.

Once I finished eating, I went outside to take a picture of the store from the outside. Some of the workers saw me taking a photo, so they told me to wait and then hopped in the windows to pose for a picture. They said something else to me in French (I have no idea what), but I said thank you and walked off.

The weather for tomorrow is expected to be sunny (High of 69°F) so I’ll probably start off by going to Notre Dame de Reims and then stop by the tourism office to book a champagne tour. I leave on Sunday so anything I don’t get done tomorrow, I can do on Saturday.

Oh, and I wanted to let everyone know that I miss Reed’s company especially. I had a wonderful night’s sleep with him on the Clemson trip, but now that he’s gone, I have been sleeping restlessly every night.

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