nantes & beyond: days 2, 3 & 4

day 2:

i just had to make sure i was at john lennon airport in liverpool for my flight at 7:05am. had i not slept until 6:30, i probably would have made it. to the cabbie's credit he had me there in 15 minutes but, despite his best attempts, it was still 30 minutes too late. they were no longer taking check-ins at 6:50 and from the parking area outside i watched my flight, and for just a short moment my dignity, leave without me. after catching my breath and getting past the idea of "just not going and grabbing the first bus back to hull" i rearranged my flight to beauvais and alamo was able to comply and adjust my car rental from nantes to the new location. this, however, resulted in me not getting the citroen c1 like i was originally promised but instead the citroen berlingo. this frumpy little thing with a rattler of a 1.6 HDI diesel engine would take me across 700km in less than 48 hours with zero complaints. the five speed only required a half-tank of diesel for the trip and that included getting hopelessly lost on the peripherique exterieur in paris. (i was initially distraught at the sights of the vehicle but by the time i was dropping it off at the ferry port in calais today i found myself wondering what the tariffs were for importing one to the US.)

so after much difficulty i made it to jimmy's flat in paris and, i have to say, the most nervewracking experience i've ever encountered was the massive roundabout at the north end of avenue de la place d'italie. there are no markings and it's wider than two city streets. the french, apparently, would rather just play super mario kart than drive real cars like real people. but the cars weren't the most frightening aspect of the ordeal - the scooter drivers have less respect for their wellbeing than most unwitting junebugs that get caught in the grills of semi trucks on desert roads. i almost hit three in my four passes around the roundabout. i felt precisely like clark griswold in national lampoon's european vacation when he can't turn right.

jimmy and his friend dan welcomed me at 3:30 and straightaway i was heading off towards the notre-dame with dan. we caught the metro to the cathedral and then attempted a walk to the eiffel tower before we were caught in a vengeful downpour - even the seine seemed to pull at its seams before the rain was finished. we ducked into a totally parisian cafe and had little espressos and french onion soup before trekking back out, in between torrents, and grabbing the metro to the tower. the eiffel tower is fucking cool, i don't care how much of a tourist/non-parisian object it is. unfortunately i can't post any photos (i have a shitload) but since my new laptop is on the way i will be able to veryvery soon.

jimmy met up with us at 9:30 and we drank two bottles of wine in great little park in montmartre, a real version of the better parts of disneyland. a note on the wine: surprise! even the cheap wine in paris is good!

day 3:

we met up with ciara at jimmy's boss's for a great parisian lunch repleat with beautiful leg of lamb, breads, cheese, rose, butter-like beans and soup. afterwards i left for calais (but not before receiving a parisian parking ticket! super good use of €35!!!!!!11). this day was pretty uneventful really. lots of driving across the french countryside north to the port city.

day 4: (today)

today has been fast. after catching the ferry across to dover i have been on the go, stopping only for 30 minutes in camden town to unpack my bag at the smart camden hostel. i have walked through the camden markets and all around piccadilly circus and leicester square. tomorrow i plan on visiting some of the more classic tourist spots such as the london eye, big ben, harrods and...

shit my internet time is up.


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