I’m starting to like train travel.

This morning was interesting. It started out as usual, but Greg stayed home today. And Bastien was off from school. I was supposed to watch him, but because of this whole car thing the plans were changed. So Adeline, Bastien, Sylvain, and I piled into the car. First stop was the babysitter’s where we dropped off Sylvain. Then it was on to Namur to take me to the train station. There was a train going to Lille at 8:30, 9:30, and 10:30. My goal was the 9:30 train. We pulled up to the station at about 9:15/20 or so. I said my goodbyes and rushed inside. The Namur station is bigger than Lille and Douai so the ticket booths were a little harder to find. When I did find them I had to wait in line. I think there are machines there and you can buy your ticket through them, but because I was short on time and had never done it before I didn’t want to risk it :P. Finally it was my turn – I was stuck behind a couple who were trying to sort out an issue – and the women at the booth was having problems with her computer. Go figure. No matter, it worked in the end with 4 minutes to spare. While waiting to purchase my ticket I had looked at the screen’s to find what, oh my goodness…I can’t think of the word in English (it’s voie in French)…platform! I looked to see what platform I had to go to so I could run there once I had my ticket. So with ticket in hand I quickly walked out into the main hallway and noticed that I was near platforms 7 & 8 – I needed to be on platform 3. Thankfully Namur is a little easier to navigate, at least for me. Where as some stations you have to go down a flight of steps to an underground tunnel, the, find your platform number and go up those steps to wait. It’s not hard, it’s just sometimes there is so much stuff on the signs it’s hard to see what you need to see. In Namur you walk up from the street. Then everything but the tracks are up on that level. Each stair way leading down has only 1 number listed on either side. So easy!

It was quite cold once I got down onto the platform and I didn’t have to wait long before the train was there. I settled in for a nice 2 hour ride with my audio book. I also started responding to a letter from a friend. When I got to Lille I didn’t actually know what train I had to take to get to Douai. The first time I did it I had two tickets – one from Douai to Lille, and then Lille to Namur. This time I only had one. I just had to find a train that was going to Douai and get on. There were at least two. I was going to take one, but it wasn’t there yet and I noticed that the one beside it was also going to Douai so I hopped on. But not before authorizing my ticket on the machine. First time I did that. I think I was supposed to do that from Douai to Lille, but I was distracted and had no idea. So now I have to send my tickets to the insurance company and they’ll reimburse me. I kind of want to keep them…our TGV and my Eurostar tickets I printed out so they’re just on regular paper. Oh well.

By the time I got to Douai and walked to the garage (only about 6 minutes, not bad) the office was closed. Someone saw me and took me to talk to someone else and we discussed some stuff, but I had to come back because they technically weren’t open again until 2. So I walked back to the train station. There were two reasons for this. 1) I really had to pee. 2) I knew they had food there. So I bought a cheap ham on baguette sandwich and made change to use the self-cleaning washroom. It wasn’t free like the one’s in Paris. It wasn’t as nice either. I don’t think it works very well because it definitely wasn’t very clean and it kind of smelled. Yuck >_<. But when you have to go you have to go. I ended up taking the long way around from the garage back to the train station because they were doing construction on the other road – the road that is a straight line from point A to B. The first time I went they must have all been on their lunch break because no one was there. I didn’t want to get in their way the 2nd time or walk into traffic so I took a more circuitous route. I think by the time we got everything sorted out I was on the road by 2:35-40 or so. I was supposed to get back by about 4:30. Everything was fine for a while. I had to stop and get gas again and I made sure I put the right stuff in this time. That’s when things started to go a little down hill again, but this time it had nothing to do with me.

I had talked with Adeline as I was leaving and it was decided that yes, I would pick up Sylvain because I would be back in time. Sounded good to me. Yeah, not going to happen. I came upon what I thought was a traffic jam. I thought even for a Friday (and not a holiday one) it was a little early in the day for that. Turns out, it wasn’t because of traffic. There was an accident. A tractor-trailer had gone off the road (as far as I was able to tell without gawking and stalling traffic even more). Not fun for him. I called Adeline to say that by the GPS’s reckoning I now wasn’t going to arrive until 5:08. She said she was leaving Louvain-la-Neuve (she went with Bastien to the pool there) and she would pick up Sylvain. Alright, all’s good. Again, not so. Only a short while later (maybe about 10km) I hit another ‘traffic jam’. This time there were sirens coming up behind me. I always get nervous when that happens, even in Canada. I always feel like I’m right in the way. This was happening at a point where the highway split in two. So, police car, ambulance, and another vehicle with sirens all came up behind us and thankfully had enough room to drive on the far right side of our side of the highway. It turns out there was yet another accident. This one would have been super recent because emergency crews were just getting there. A guy flipped his car. Rolled it. I saw him (or at least one guy, I don’t know how many people were involved) on the grass lying down. They were getting the ambulance ready. I don’t know how he got out because the car looked like it had rolled many times, so much so that the roof was caved in and it was probably half the normal height. Then it landed on the passenger side. I don’t know how it landed and stayed like that. It wasn’t propped against anything (it was in the middle of one lane). There were two other cars that I saw, but I don’t know if they were involved because they looked okay from what I could see. These two accidents make what happened to me seem minuscule in comparison. I mean, sure I was super stressed out, but I wasn’t hurt. And I ended up being able to drive my car away. That second car – not going to happen.

I ended up getting home about 5:15. So it felt like a long day. A long day that went by both fast and slow and felt like I didn’t do anything. But man, am I tired! As hesitant as I was when it came to taking trains before I got here, I think if either Wasseiges had a station or we lived in a town that did, I would take the train more. It’s impractical for me now because I have to get a ride there, but it’s really not as hard as I thought it would be. I guess most things aren’t when you actually just do them. Thankfully both Wednesday and today were beautiful, sunny days. I wasn’t stuck walking around those towns in the rain!

I talked with Bastien about me going home. I asked him if he remembered how my family was here and then they weren’t and if he knew where I was going. He said Canada. I asked if he knew I was staying there. He did. I asked if he was sad that I was leaving. He said no :P. In some ways I want him to be sad and to miss me because I’d like to think I mean something to him (he does tell me he loves me a lot ;)), but at the same time I don’t want him to be too sad. He’s just a little tyke.

                                                                                                                      

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2 Comments

  1. It’s just one (mis)adventure after the next with you these days, eh? Oh well, see how they always end up just fine? That’s how life works.

    As for that “no” answer to your question, I bet he’s at an age where “no” is his favorite answer. Actions speak a whole lot louder than words at any age, my friend. I’m sure he’s going to miss you.

    Reply
    • I’ve never quite had so many (mis)adventures before. That I can recall anyway. And yes, I am super dramatic so almost everything seems like the end of the world at the time, but afterwards I’m left wondering why I was so concerned. I’m on the fence about this one though. While things are better, it was still a very big deal for me, lol. But I survived!

      I know he’ll miss me. And he does like saying no. But he can also be super adorable and affectionate. ^_^

      Reply

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