Thursday, May 12, 2011

Stuck in Narbonne!

Graham and I left Bathmen yesterday morning to make our way back to Amsterdam. Anne drove us to Deventer where we caught a train into Amsterdam. We walked around Amsterdam for a few hours befaore we started making our way to Spain. We walked through the red light district which wasn't quite the same because there was no red lights on and all the windows had curtains in them rather then women. Just before we left we ate a smoked Herring sandwich. It wasnt very good at all. We hopped on a train in Amsterdam at 2:53 which was supposed to get us to Spain for 11:48 the next morning because of the tranfers and such. We made our first few trains no problem and then it was time for the sleeper train which we excited for because we were totally beat. The sleeper train had about 30 cars and while we were walking to our car to get on we saw that every car was made up of rooms with 4-6 beds. At this point we couldn't wait to get on the train to fall asleep and wake up with only one more train to be in Barcelona by the beaches. As we approached our car, number 19, we then realized that we were stuck with normal chairs that recline just a bit more then usual. It was a huge downer because those chairs suck to sleep in. Of course sitting beside us was a drunk guy who was mumbling to himself in french the whole time. Not to mention the fact that he some how found the light switch to our car and was playing with them for a good few minutes before he moved on to the next car to play with there lights. Next he was picking his scabs and looking at them. It was probably the most discusting guy we've ever seen. Thankfully after he finished his mickey of Vodka he passed out. We both probably only got an hour of sleep in total on the train. We caught our next train that was taking us to Gare De Narbonne. Unfortunately the train showed up late and we ended up missing our train to Barcelona. We asked at the information desk when the next train to Barcelona was and she told us it was at 4PM. That left us with 7.5 hours to kill. We found a round about with a bunch of grass that we layed on for about an hour before deciding to go find some food and a nicer spot to lay down. We found a decent little park that we layed down in for a while before wondering around some more to kill time. W found a pretty cool cathedral from 1272 that we went in and wondered around before going to get some food. There wasn't a lot of options for food because the lazy french people shut down everything for a couple hours every afternoon. How they make money is beyond me. We met the "leader of le resistance" while making our way back through a back alley towards the train station. She was a pretty cool old lady. She travelled the world and has lived in many different countries including Vancouver for a few years. She was on welfare because she couldn't find work over here but she justified it to herself because her dad payed taxes for 50 plus years. Her views and beliefs were like that of a hippie (very open minded, not into T.V. or internet and loved to read because she believed knowledge is freedom). We must of talked to her for a good 45 minutes while keeping an eye on her cat that she was taking for a walk.

We arrived at the train station around 330 to make sure we caught our 4:15 train to Barcelona to find out that there was no 4:15 train to Barcelona. We asked at the information desk about catching the next train to Barcelona and we were told there was onlly connecting trains to Barcelona now. It wasn't too bad up until this point but then I asked if our previous train ticket was still valid and she said that it wasn't. Now there was a problem! We were stuck in Narbonne with a wasted train ticket because our connecting train arrived late and no apparent way of getting to Spain tonight unless we bought new train tickets. After a slow argument due to the language barrier of me not speaking french and her not speaking english we managed to get everything sorted out. She wrote a note on the back of our expired train ticket saying that we missed our connecting train because the ticket exchange people were on strike (which they are) so we are currently waiting till 7:45 to catch a train to Figueras. which we will then transfer to a train to Barcelona. Our 15 hour trip from Amsterdam to Spain turned into a 36 hour trip with about 1 hour of sleep. Not a big fan of the Eurorail Pass right now. Hopefully the next post will be from Spain and not here in Narbonne!