Monday, April 30, 2007

Some old photos plus an update on travelling

Here's a few photos that I managed to upload. First of all, the mountain alongside the Coylet and you can see a clear line through the trees which is the forestry road that I used to walk on. And here's just some photos of the loch reflecting that I took the other day when it was nice and sunny.

Anyway, back to what I'm up to now. I managed to sleep a bit in the airport last night but was still quite tired this morning on my flight. When I got to Beauvais airport the simplest thing to do seemed to me to go into Paris and find out information about where I wanted to go, Normandy, from there, as more than likely any trains would connect through Paris anyway. Now, I'm really tired and frustrated as I write this (and that's with having had a nap), so it may be complaining.
Finding information proved more difficult than I ever imagined. I recalled a main tourist office that was quite helpful being on Avenue des Champs-Elysees, and my Lonely Planet guide claimed it was there as well, but it must have just disappeared. So after spending an hour or two dragging myself along to find that and not finding it, I got on the metro to find the only other tourist office I knew of, near the Louvre. Bear in mind that I was looking at every tourist map of Paris that was posted on the street and although they showed me where museums and monuments were, none indicated tourist offices.
So I got to the tourist office to find that it contained about 10 different pamphlets about Paris and when I enquired about getting information on other parts of France the woman at the desk basically laughed at me. She gave me a number that she said might help, but she couldn't even tell me if there were other tourist offices in the city that catered to other regions. Now at one point I walked by Italy's national tourist office so I don't see why France couldn't have one. Anyway, I grabbed a booklet on accomodation and a map of the city.
I think the Paris authorities want you to tell them years in advance before you come here. For example, in my map of the city, under the heading of "internet cafes", I was directed to a website where I could find a list. All well and good if I had gotten this pamphlet before I came over here, while I still knew where I could use a computer.
Then, in the hostels section of my accomodation guide, I was informed that all reservations were to be made in writing, as well as any cancellations. Again, kind of hard for me to do that now that I'm in the city.
Also, I wonder why the tourist officials and transportation officials seems to be annoyed when you ask them to provide you with information, when they are sitting under a sign that says they will give you information. Sort of the wrong career choice if that's not your thing.
So I went to the appropriate train station to see if I could just get to Normandy myself and maybe find out accomodation info as well. Well, the lines were horrendous and the prospect of arriving in a small town well into the evening without a room seemed too much for me in my tired state. I hopped on the metro again to go to a hostel, choosing it solely because it was easy to get to by metro, checked in, and slept.
After getting up and showering I decided that I'm getting out of this country at the moment, so I went and hunted up and overnight train to Barcelona. I'm hoping to get to Bilbao once there, but will see how things go. So I'm spending tomorrow here until around 9:30pm.
On a lighter note: motor scooters scare me, because people drive them on the sidewalks here and even use crosswalks with them, then switch to the streets when it suits them. There's a lot of them and they just like to cut through people. They're not as bad as I remember in Rome though.
Secondly, it now seems strange for vehicles to be driving on the right side of the road again, and to be on a bus that goes through a roundabout anti-clockwise. Incidentally, the French seem to be as fond of roundabouts on their highways as the British. And then there's the roundabout around the Arc de Triomphe, where about 20 roads converge into one.
That's my complaining done, hopefully Spain goes better.

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