Day 15: Isle de France

I’m happy to be leaving Paris with its expensive living costs, and smelly metro stations. The metro stations are an all out assault on your nose, its like the smell of vomit, with a slight tinge of crap, then the French people all smell heavily of cigarettes and strong perfumes. At one point I was passed by a man in the metro and I had a bitter taste in my mouth because his cologne was so strong. I have to say the French, though they have a good sense of style when it comes to clothes, sure don’t when it comes to odors.

Today I slept in a little bit knowing that the Musée d’Orsay doesn’t open until 9:30, and took some time to check my emails in the morning. The room I had was very pleasant, and I would say it was a great room if it weren’t for the lack of an included shower and bathroom. Of course this is no resort, but a budget hotel, but compared to most of the other’s I’ve stayed at, it actually felt worth its money, perhaps because of the 30% cut in price. The room is large, and has a suite feel with a nice large, comfy bed. And internet, strangely that’s been a bit of a rarity in hotels here in France. I expected it to be like most hotels these days in Japan or America where they’ve figured out that by spending say $70 a month for a strong connection and a bit for access points they could advertise something that would attract those of us addicted to technology. Actually I don’t think it was the hotel’s internet, just someone who left their network open and unprotected, just waiting to be leached off of by someone like me. I managed to upload an update to Mt. St. Michel, and about 10% of the high res images I hadn’t yet uploaded. Of course I also added over 100 images to the queue after yesterday haha.

It was raining when I woke up, luckily I had just done laundry, and among the clothes I brought with me are a pair of very water resistant pants, so today I had no trouble with that and my umbrella staying dry.

I then checked out and caught the metro to Orsay. The museum is held inside an old train station on several levels. The collection isn’t nearly as large as the one in the Louvre, but if you’re a fan of the impressionists and post impressionists you’d love this place, its filled with works by Cezanne, van Gogh, Gauguin and the like. My favorite pieces in the collection though were from Degas. He did a number of pieces with a sketchy image in charcoal on paper with a dash of color that was really neat looking. There were a few images that were somewhat similar from Toulouse-Latrec[sp?]. I wanted to take a photo but one of the guards stopped me. Through the rest of the museum photos were allowed, just as long as not with flash. They also had a number of interesting sculptures in that style I find interesting with the different materials together.

After walking around for an hour and a half I left for the main train station in Paris. I knew I would probably have trouble getting a train to Luxembourg, I should have made a reservation yesterday for la premier train apres midi, but I was so tired when I got done with my touring around Paris that I just went straight to my room. At first the woman working the ticket booth didn’t think I could get to Luxembourg today, so I asked about Strasbourg, and she couldn’t find anything either, I asked her then if she could find something that dropped me off near Luxembourg, close enough for a local train, and she couldn’t find anything, then I asked what about with several train changes, and success, with 3 trains I could get to Luxembourg by 7:30. So leaving for Nancy from Paris at 4, though from a different station, so I had to first take the metro to the east station.

I was waiting for the train when fate intervened in my plans. For no apparent reason after working so well my watch decided to stop for 15 minutes and then start back up again, which resulted in me missing my train, and the last one I could take to Luxembourg. Instead I was forced to buy another ticket to send me to Metz, the last large town before the boarder. As it would turn out this would be better than the first plan, though it cost me another 3 euro and 3 more to reserve a hotel with expensive paid internet. However I more than made that up by finding a hotel close to the station with nice large clean rooms, a double bed, included shower and bathroom and internet in my room for only 35 euros, while in Luxembourg it would be almost impossible to find a hotel for less than 60, and I was expecting to stay in a 20 euro hostel.

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