Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Monday, November 3, 2008

The longest five hours ever

5:15am - wake up, cautiously stretch muscles. *wince* Still sore but better than yesterday. Sit up - no immediate urge to puke (always a good sign).

6:00am - get on the RER B. Everything's fine for two stops, but then you get stuck at the third one because of an "incident". Finally get to the Gare du Nord and leg it to the train. Get to the track just as the train is pulling away. There goes your 26€ first class train ticket. Feel like you are going to puke. Go buy new 2nd class ticket for 55€. Decide you should eat something after all that exertion, so you buy an orange juice and a croissant.

7:30 - get on new train. The OJ and the croissant decide to make a second appearance.

8:30 - arrive in Lille. Every single escalator and elevator going up to the track is broken. Lug suitcase up the stairs and feel exhausted. Find ticket agent and try to buy a ticket to client's town in Belgium. Shake your fist at Lille when you find out there are two train stations, and for whatever reason, this one cannot sell you a ticket to Belgium. Lug suitcase back down stairs and over to the other gare.

9:00am - (time you were supposed to have arrived at your client's place of business). Wait in line again, only to find out this time that the computers are down and they can't sell you a ticket either. Stand there and say to the lady "well how the hell am I supposed to get to Belgium then?" as she shrugs her shoulders. Leave the line and go sit down for a while. Decide to get back in line. This time am able to get a ticket, but the ticket agent cannot tell you the train times - you must go ask at the "accueil". Curse Lille again. Go wait in line at the accueil. Lady refuses to tell you the exact train time, and will only say you need to book it over to track 15 ASAP. Oh, and by the way, you'll need to change trains in *says something that sounds like Courtrai*.

9:30am- get on train. Realize all of the sudden that you don't have your passport. Hope that won't be a problem. Watch the stops go by and decide to get off at a town marked "Kortrijk". Lug your suitcase down and up another flight of stairs and try to ask several people if this is the right stop. Not a single person speaks French or English. Wonder how this is possible since you are literally just across the border.

10am- use google maps to determine the town you need to be in is on the line to Gent, so you cross your fingers and get on the next train going there.

And that's where we leave our heroine for the day....

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile



Blogger Greg said...

Don't know about you, but I'm exhausted after reading that!

November 3, 2008 at 12:15 PM  
Blogger Leah said...

Sounds like Lille may be up there with Nantes in the cities you "unheart." Hope everything turns out ok with the client!

PS-My word verif. was "go peche"...lovin the franglais!

November 3, 2008 at 1:11 PM  
Blogger Susan in Lille said...

Oh mon amiee!! I wish I could have run to the train station to bring you some comfort! Maybe not much help...but I'm good with comfort...hope your trip gets better and you feel better quickly. The two station thing is a pain in the ass here if you don't know which one you need to be at (master of the obvious I am). Let me know if you have a layover in Lille. I'm 3 stops from Gare Europe and 4 from Flanders. Will bring yummy things to train station. Either one!

Good vibes going your way right now...

November 3, 2008 at 3:07 PM  
Blogger Justin said...

Jeppers Sam! I hope the day ended up better in the end... good luck with all of that! It does sound close to how everything seems to go for me whenever I have a business trip... well never that bad, but close ;-)

November 3, 2008 at 8:15 PM  
Blogger Crystal said...

wow that sucks...I can't believe you had such bad luck trying to get to Belgium. I've never had any problems (or unhelpful sncf workers) when taking the train from Lille...guess you just got there on an off day. Hope you got to Gent ok...and good luck for the return trip!

November 3, 2008 at 10:00 PM  
Blogger Astrid said...

That sounds like a really bad day! I hope you feel better now :)

November 4, 2008 at 12:10 AM  
OpenID pinklea said...

On a European trip with the Ex many years ago, we got STUCK in Belgium. We couldn't find a single train to get us out of the country, and kept hopping on and off various trains with vain hopes. We ended up spending the night in Tournai, but we had no Belgian francs to pay (that's another story). Still, two years ago, I gave Belgium another chance, and Darling Daughter and I had no train issues whatsoever and had a terrific holiday. So I feel your pain! (and I hope all goes well on the return journey, too)

November 4, 2008 at 1:39 AM  
Blogger Leesa said...

Holy Shit!!!! That just "sounds" awful reading it, I cannot imagine "living" it!!! Sorry you had such a bad trip up, esp. when you weren't feeling well.. I hope that on the way back you can get to visit with Susan! She's a doll and at least you will get to meet someone whose very nice!!

Take good care and hope the rest of the trip is a lot better... Feel better, too!!

November 4, 2008 at 7:34 AM  
Blogger Rochelle said...

Oh god, how awful! Your experiences seem to prove that everything outside of Paris is batshit crazy...

November 4, 2008 at 12:01 PM  

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