Travel travails continued


Arc de Triomphe, commissioned by Napoleon in 1806, and new symbol of our goal to get to Paris. Will we triumph? In a side note: We have several Spanish coins dated to 1802 with a Napoleonic visage on them. Must remember to get them appraised.

As I made my way through throngs of commuter passengers at Biel’s train station, a middle-aged man in a tan jacket and faded denims unzipped in the train square and let’er rip.

I’ve lived in Spain, so I’ve seen public urination before – usually on the side of the highway where the Spanish men do not give passersby the courtesy of turning their backs to the road as they empty their bladders.

A location for public urination? According to one fellow, it is. Yuk.

This fellow, who stared straight ahead and otherwise appeared sober, had opted for what must be Biel’s  most public venue for such a private act. It was only 6:30 p.m., still broad daylight and the square was jammed.

Maybe he had just come off a day of dealing with a cantankerous travel website, or perhaps he had just discovered his train ticket cost double what he expected.

So I walked on by, noticing that no one else seemed to notice or care much about Mr. Public Urination.

A few minutes later, after meeting Dave inside, we/I learned our train costs will be over $500, according to a different booking agent than the one who earlier in the week had quoted $260. The agents had a good belly laugh when we mentioned the $260 quote.

Because we are Canadians, we did not shout or make any display. We simply groaned inwardly as we felt our stomach ulcers dig in deeper.

At that point, we were still in recovery from the lastminute.com fiasco and it seemed that as Tuscany was for Seinfeld, so Paris would be for us (click here to find out what I’m talking about). It has become our “white whale.” We must get there, and so we ponied up the cash, realizing that we are already at over $1,000 for two days in that famed city.

It goes a little over budget for we frugal types, but we are rapidly losing the ability to care … at least about that. I’d still rather men chose more discreet locations to relieve themselves.  After all, this isn’t Spain.

Postscript: And now a well-traveled friend warns us to stay away from Paris over Easter.  Cue the Jaws theme music.

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6 thoughts on “Travel travails continued

  1. There is a reason why there is a photo in his Paris guidebook of Rick Steeves passed out on the floor of the main gallery in the Louvre. It is sure to give you an art hangover. I suggest going over the two evenings it is open late. We went at first during the day and it was elbows up, every man for himself. We were quite surprised to discover that cameras are allowed. We found it odd that people would just walk up to a painting, snap a photo and move on to the next one without seeming to have looked at the painting at all. Were they going to examine the photos at home? But because you’re a gal who loves trouble I suspect you may want to check out just how bizarre it can be during regular hours. Also, do not have a spat with your husband in the Louvre. I did and parted ways for what I thought would be a few minutes. Ended up losing him, getting lost, and having a kind attendant lead me tearfully back to my husband who had figured that underneath the pyramid would be the best lost and found location. Pick a rendezvous ahead of time in case you do get separated, make sure you have change to take the metro back to your hotel in case you really get separated, and that you both have room keys. Just a thought.

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