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On the road and rail – part 3

September 23, 2012

Well off from Cologne, the inter-city train went through Belgium almost too quickly and after a few hours we ended down in Paris at Gare du Nord, as we came from the North. The interesting thing with Paris is that there is not ONE Central station, but a number of major stations directing towards the North, Gare du Nord, East, Gare de l’Est, somehow towards west, Gare St. Lazare and Montparnasse, and down south, Gare D’Austerlitz, Lyon and Paris-Bercy. Paris is an old BIG city, and I love it ! I lived in Paris in 79-80 as research student and got my local café etc. so every time I come, it is a sort of coming home. It is also nice to come to a city with some style ! You may laugh when I say that, being a guy wearing old worn out overalls, but it is matter of taking yourself serious and walk with pride, no matter what you wear ! Well, we went with the metro from Gare du Nord, down to Gare d’Austerlitz, where we should later the same day continue down south to Cahors and the Lot Valley. We should continue with regional trains, since we cannot use the high speed trains when we are inter-railers and good for that. If we took the fast trains, we would not see anything but high grey sound walls, so luckily we had to take the TER-train, the inter-regional train running slow and stopping a lot of times, showing us the French countryside and some of the smaller cities. Before we left Paris, we did a short visit to the Botanical garden, not only to look at the flowers, but also to get a little bit of food, and then of course, we had our first, but not last !!, café-visit, a kind of must-do, and so we could start our journey down south, a first stop in Orleans and then stop in Chateauroux, never heard about that city before, I must admit, but a really nice town, not that big, but with a number of nice squares, some of them almost roofed by trees, where one could sit and get a little bit of coffee and tea and cookies, since we had to leave too early with the next train in order to dine. In Norway, you dine around 4-5pm, in Denmark 6-7pm, but in France not before 7:30, and one has to follow the schedule, otherwise no food ! but luckily we had some food in our backpack ! so we went well off again with a new train, heading Cahors and hotel Terminus ! more on this tomorrow.

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