Someone says that Paris is whether hated or loved. Actually we don’t fit in any of those categories: simply we don’t like it. Or maybe we can’t look at it from the right point of view… one of the thing I regret, for example, is that even if I have been there three times (but actually only passing by, shuttling between the airport and the train station), I have never seen it at night. How can you understand a city called “la Ville Lumiere”, if you don’t see it at night?
And maybe the aversion becomes mutual. If you have a partial opinion (huge mistake BTW), you end up overstating anything happens, serious or not, and interpreted the wrong way… thus feeling the city rejecting you.
Our trip in Paris (the second time for me), started not in the best way. We left from Victoria Station, in London, with the bus which would have brought us in the French capital through the Eurotunnel, the famous tunnel underneath the English Channel. Not recommended to anyone suffering claustrophobia or have many baggages with him! We were carrying tons of it, because we were moving back to Rome, so when we went through customs (yes, there’s customs. Isn’t it Europe, as well?) They wanted to inspect all of them. Just unloading them from the bus and then loading them again was a real nightmare… Also because the bus was full, so we had to stand in line and step by step drag all of them. After a night without sleep. Two hours went away, eventually.
We still didn’t know what was awaiting us, yet: entering the Eurotunnel. It’s a bunker, no more and no less. Back in the bus, it had to do some metres and a ramp to enter in the famous train on which you travel sit inside the bus. A train which carries other vehicles… We found ourselves in this kind of corridor with a straw yellow light: every car, bus, bike, has a different compartment, in a line, one behind the other, by itself. Each takes his own place and a second before leaving all the shutters are closed, and everyone is sealed in his compartment. Now, if you are in a car or on a bike, you have a decent amount of space, but our bus was barely fitting, there was just a couple of inches between the bus and the walls… We felt like canned tuna.
The only thing that you could see other than the walls lightened by that straw yellow light, it’s a display saying, in English and in French, “relax, let us do the driving”. What do you mean with relax? Should I relax thinking that I’m in a tunnel underneath the sea, sealed inside a container where there is no room enough for walking? And also the ride is very bumpy, like a plain going through a turbulence. It’s easy to say: “relax”!
The “trip” was 45-50 minutes long. I choke just thinking about it!
The next year we went back, (we’re foxy, aren’t we?), but in the other way, from Paris to London, and on the train, the Eurostar. 350 pounds for a two hours travel on a train that has nothing to envy to Italian Intercity trains (the cheapest)… but at least, when it goes under the English Channel, it’s like passing through a regular gallery. A bit long, maybe, but still a gallery.