15 November, 2007

a little misshap in Berlin and the strike in Paris

In Berlin, Matt and I went to the wrong bus station to catch our bus to Paris, with only 10 minutes to spare. We were then informed that we’d been given the wrong address and that our bus station was across the city. The taxi that we’d just used was gone. Some calls were made, German bouncing around the room, and then one of the guys in the office told us to follow him. We followed him out quickly, and instead of a taxi, he hustled us into his car…his personal car, a zippy little blue thing. Once on the interstate, I realized how ridiculous this was – an average Berliner had just piled two American kids into his car and driven them to catch a bus to Paris. When we got there he motioned us toward the bus in the middle of our overflowing thanks, gave the bus driver a familiar pat on the back, and was gone.

And now, in Paris, the friendly hostel cat is sitting on my feet after meowing to be let in. Paris…it is all it’s cracked up to be, if not a little (read: a LOT) on the expensive side. My favorite parts so far have been Montmarte, with all its hilltop glory, and the little island in the middle of the city that hosts Notre Dame. The French here are also nicer than I expected – my lack of French is more an amusement to them than an annoyance, and they patiently battle it out in English until communication is achieved. Right now the transport strikes make it a little difficult to get around the city, since walking is the only option. Also, at six o'clock the traffic is incredible! The cars and motorbikes are backed up, with the police directing traffic, and people riding their bikes are actually a third lane of traffic all their own, moving by one after the other like cars.

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