Saturday, June 04, 2005

Homeward bound

Early up again, breakfast, and another walk, taking photos in bright morning light, with the sun already hot. Check out at 09:30, though this takes them a while to figure out how much I owe for eating à la carte when I'm booked demi-pension.

I'm at the station at 10:00, and am not best please to find that I'll be on a perfectly good TGV to Paris and have to get off it to kick my heels in Poitiers for two hours. That town is built around a steep river valley, so getting far from the station is too much climb in the hot and sticky. The station loo eats my 40c and fails to open, so when I reach the nearest bit of shade in the Solferino gardens, I pay appropriate respects at the back of the war memorial.

Lunch of tabouleh and strawberries; walk a circuit, and wait where the coach is supposed to pull in.

Of course the train is back to front compared with the map, so everyone has to trudge; and the coach I'm booked into is full of 8-10 year olds with only one adult (teacher?) in control. Having manfully struggled to keep awake on the first train, now I have trouble dozing, and when I do, that's the cue for the ticket inspector.

Hike from Montparnasse, down the Rue de Rennes where there are girls promoting the Smart forfour; and I have to repeatedly tell them I've already got one of the originals.

There are sprinkles of rain, but nothing major, and I get to the Trappiste at 16:30. Late lunch on salade Italienne (today's special) and a bottle of Rodenbach. Walk to Sebastopol and metro the rest, because it's there. It's also very hot and humid.

Eurostar has the usual problems of folk with infeasible amounts of luggage; and I have a monstrous hike to the front of the train. Emerging from Paris, there's a monster thunderhead off the to right, but by the time we reach the Somme it's now fair weather clouds.

Usual mystery tour of S. London, plus 15 minute wait for points problems near Battersea power station, ending up 1/2 hour late. Just miss the 21:06 at King's Cross, have to catch the 21:51 medium-slow train. And so home, beer, bath, bed.

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