I haven’t actually told you guys about my epic journey back from Paris last Monday, have I? (unless you are my parents, in which case I have)
See, usually it goes like this:
- Walk 1min to station, buy ticket, wait 5-10mins
- Get on train, sleep/read/eat all snacks within reach for 1h20
- Get off train, avoid walking into busy Parisians through Gare du Nord, scan Eurostar ticket, show passport, get bag x-rayed, go to toilet, wait 30-45mins
- Get on Eurostar, sleep/read/wish I hadn’t eaten all my snacks for 2h30
- And then I’m in London!
This Monday, it went roughly like this:
- Walk to station for 12:30 train, get told trains aren’t running between 10:30 and 14:30. They are only running from – this is great – the next town along. Grrr. Still, I paid for my ticket with the exact change I got from buying the bread that morning, so that was kinda cool. I was still finding quaint little things cool at this point.
- Go back home, freak out, call Eurostar to say I will probably miss my train, nice Customer Service guy tells me it’s OK as long as I get a written confirmation of the train delays.
- Go back to train station, await bus to next town. Get on bus, identical bus pulls up next to it. Internally worry I am on the wrong bus. Rather than checking with the driver, decide to wait anxiously on the bus and see where I end up. Arrive at next town.
- Get on train an hour later than initially planned. Guy in front turns around and offers me cake then, about every 15 seconds, tries to start a conversation. Consider changing carriage but don’t want to hurt his feelings (!).
- Travel for 30 minutes. Train stops; there has been an incident outside Paris and all trains are stopped. Secretly relieved as now I will definitely miss my Eurostar. Walk between platforms for a while. Consider eating snacks.
- Get on train going in direction of Paris. Get off when it terminates a few stops along. Explore station for a toilet. Remember people in France apparently don’t pee ever. Eat some of my snacks. Explore station in case I had missed toilet in my hunger. Remember people in France apparently don’t pee ever. Eat rest of snacks.
- Wander around station in search of somewhere less depressing to wait, note that ticket controllers in France can now be mistaken for riot police, whilst announcements every five minutes remind us that there has been an accident, that trains are not running, and to expect delays and cancellations for at least another couple of hours.
- Get on train after an hour or so! Hurray!
- Train breaks down two stops before Gare du Nord.
- Change trains. Get to Gare du Nord. Get ticket changed for train three hours later than initial booking. No seats left – have to sit on a tip-down seat in the doorway. French border control guy makes a pass at me. English border control guy doesn’t acknowledge me. Wait an hour, get on train. Sleep/read/wriggle/sigh for 2h30. Have never been so happy to pull into St Pancras.
- 1 bus, 4 RER trains, 1 Eurostar, 1 London Underground tube, 1 National Rail train, and about 10 hours of travelling later, I was home – and pizza was ordered!
Food for thought
Things slowed down a bit on the learning front; a combination of spending all of Monday on trains with but one book, being steadily busy for a few remaining days of the week, spending a whole Sunday out, and the rest of time has been leisurely reading of blogs and articles and catching up with Ben.
Though I did read this which pretty much echoes my sentiments about how the “I’m a real woman with real curves and being skinny SUCKS” trend is moving right now.
Thought for food
So much excellent food this week!
- My train snacks, for one, were humble and delicious: an entire “Bûcheronnette” baguette (pictured above) plus a pot of leftovers which included tofu, leeks, and tomato concentrate. Used some of my bread as a spoon as I had forgotten to pack one.
- I was invited to dinner at a friend’s after work on Tuesday, and she made us a truly delicious Mexican feast with black beans, smokey and spicy corn on the cob, fajitas, and coriander-lime rice. I brought a couple of loaf cakes for dessert; fig and something, and ginger and something… which were just OK.
- On Friday, I was invited to another friend’s for dinner – how lucky am I? This time, I picked up frozen gyozas, frozen edamame, and some soy jerky snacks on my way there, but they served some incredible vegan garlic gnocchetti as well as some olives and bread and dips. I got to take home the vegan leftovers which I was so excited to eat. They were also adorable and bought some Coyo raw chocolate ice cream! Although I am decidedly not a fan of coconut yoghurt of any variety, I loved this ice cream and am eager to try their other flavours!
- Yesterday evening, I finally got to eat Ethiopian again! Ben and I visited Mosob, just around the corner from my first London home but new to me. The staff were super friendly and cheerful, the menu offers three vegetarian set menus for two people, one of which is marked as “perfect for vegans”. Picking that would have been too easy though, so we asked for the third set menu which included extra samosas with the starters, a potato dish instead of a spinach dish, and desserts which we swapped for spiced tea. We couldn’t quite finish our entire platter – even with me pushing my luck – as we were so stuffed, but we were both delighted with our food.
- Getting back home on Monday evening and seeing Ben was lovely, and ordering pizza to catch up over was even better!
- Being able to catch up with my friends whilst chilling out at theirs and enjoying some amazing home-cooking is definitely one of my favourite things to do, and I am so grateful I got to do it twice this week! I must go out of my way to do it more often.
- Ben has written me up an official training programme which I started this week. There were only two sessions to ease back in with after a bit of a training break, but they were more intense than anything I have done in about a year. There may have been some scowling involved at the time but it felt so good to get back into it, and to realise I’m not actually in as bad a condition as I thought I was.
- If you’re on Facebook, check out this amazing photo my client posted of herself wearing one of my t-shirts on holiday in Bali! It made me so so happy and proud and touched!
- After a week of one or the other of us getting up earlier to head into work, waking up alongside Ben this morning was a real luxury. The little things are so important. Then being able to wander out into some sunshine together and explore the town – who have put their Christmas decorations up – was just perfect.
- It was fitting that after such a great start, followed by eating the aforementioned delicious leftovers my friend sent me home with, I should enjoy the Sunday sunshine by meeting my friend Necla to see some pretty vegan shoes in the Bourgeois Boheme pop-up store. Together, we headed east to check out Fifth Dimension Tattoo in Shoreditch, London’s only all-vegan tattoo and piercing studio who we’ve both been meaning to visit for a long time. I had a small project in mind and they just so had time to fit me in then and there… and voilà! I was tattooed by Sooz and she made me feel so comfortable and confident, I would highly recommend her. I have more projects on my mind and can’t wait to go back and take full advantage of the artists’ amazing skills. Plus, you gotta support vegan businesses, right?
But it is getting late, and we should start our week with a sensible bed time. Or not. Just have a good week, OK? xoxo