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Fri, 18 Apr 2003
Germany - Weekend 3 - Paris - Friday
We got to Paris early enough that most things were closed. The items towards the top of itinerary included making the remaining reservations for our trip and storing our bags for the day. We arrived at Paris Gare-Est but our train to Barcelona departed from Gare-Austerlitz. We figured it would be best to store our luggage where we were leaving from, so we set off for Gare-Austerlitz. Despite it being far away, we decided to walk there. Our first real impression of Paris was developed as we walked across the city around 8 AM. It seemed dirty; there was trash on the streets and sidewalks. For some reason, we saw water flowing out of the sewers. Pretty much everything was closed. We eventually arrived at the train station. Two of us looked into reservations while the other two looked for luggage storage. I was one of the ones who looked into the reservations. We got a lady who did not speak English, but we had already written down the details of the train we wanted. She punched the stuff into her computer and said something to indicate it was full. I asked her about "un autre train" but after looking up more stuff in her computer, she said some French to us and underlined the date (20.04.03) we were asking for. We took that to mean there were no trains on that date. We thanked her and had another huddle with the group.

New plan: (1) check if we could connect through another city besides Paris for the return trip, (2) check if we could leave a day earlier, (3) look into flights back from Barcelona, and (4) stay in Paris. To make the story shorter, I'll skip to the point: we spent the weekend in Paris. It seemed that the earliest we could get back in Ulm from Barcelona would be Tuesday evening, and while that would work for me, it means the others would miss an important quiz. Apparently, we were not the only people trying to travel on Easter weekend.

Since we were now going to stay in Paris, we needed a place to stay. With the help of Allyn's Let's Go book and a map from the Metro, we made it to a hostel, MIJE. It was our most expensive hostel yet (26 per bed per night) but it was really quite nice and breakfast was included. The girl at the reception spoke English really well, and it turned out she was Irish. We got two nights there, which took care of our lodging for the weekend.
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