It’s Sunday in July and I was just woken up by church bells here in the Hotel Alsace Lorraine in Amiens, France. This is a very pleasant French place. I was hoping my foot would feel better, but no such luck. The weight of the backpack is causing the irritation in my ankle, I’m pretty sure. I’m not terribly concerned, just in a lot of pain. Once I lose the pack I should feel better.
The pain got to be so bad that I just made my way to the train station saying, “This is it, Paris, here I come!”
I bought my ticket, sat around waiting for the train for a bit, and then I called our friend in Paris who will put me up for the next week, good ol’ Jean-Marie. (Eric worked with Jean-Marie in Paris when they were both at Sun Microsystems about 22 years ago, and he and his former girlfriend have come to stay at our home in Mountain View, California a few times.)
What a lovely gentleman! Jean-Marie asked me to give him a ring when I arrived at the main central train station in Paris “Gare du Nord.” (It’s like Grand Central Station in New York City.
So I got off the train in lovely Paris and called Jean-Marie. He directed me to the Paris Metro station (their underground subway system, very comprehensive, organized, and civilized). Jean-Marie told me to get off the train at Line 4 stop Alesia. (Eric and I stayed at the Hotel Alesia about a year-and-a-half ago when we visited Paris for my first time.)
Jean-Marie greeted me at the top of the escalator with a big grin. He was joined by his eight-year-old son Gabriel, a quiet intelligent young boy. We stopped for apple juice and wine at a typical outdoor French café nearby. I told Jean-Marie that I needed to eat something since all I had eaten at that point was some French bread.
We left the café after about 20 minutes and went across the street to a bakery. I ordered some bruschetta, basically bread, cheese, and tomato slices. It’s like pizza but different somehow. Anyway it was the perfect food for the moment. I picked up a croissant for young Gabriel and fresh bread for the morning.
I also called Eric to let him know I made it to Paris safely. Wow.
Everything here in Paris is beautiful, even the gray skies. I picked up some flowers for Jean-Marie’ brother’s girlfriend, Maéva. Maéva and Fred (Jean-Marie’s brother) will be giving me a bed for the week.