I was stricken with an unpleasant mood my last morning in Paris - I was fully sick of everywhere smelling like tinkle, and I stupidly decided to lug my luggage to the station on foot rather than catching a taxi. I know, I know, how dare I be in a bad mood in Paris. I'm certainly going to hell for it. But in the meantime, I consigned my bags to a storage locker and took a meander in Les Jardin des Plantes (this distinction is apparently necessary in France - perhaps they also have gardens of walruses or butter churns), and was considerably revived.
That's the natural history museum back there. I guess all the other museums are filled with unnatural history?
Hello young fellow! Europe has been sadly lacking in exotic wildlife so far for me. This pigeon in walking shorts is about as exciting as it's got.
I call this one "Man who went out to get the newspaper in a towel and got locked out and turned to stone waiting for his neighbour who had the spare key to come home from her holiday in Majorca".
Real lovely. If you're into that whole trees and light thing.
I ate at an Italian cafe somewhere near Gare de Lyon, and when I ordered spaghetti bolognese the waitress thought I was saying "polonaise" and started apologising that she didn't speak Polish - much to the amusement of the other patrons. Huh. Of all the times I've been mistaken for Polish, that was the first.
And then, onward. Dudes, the train was awesome! I was in a compartment with a French woman who spoke many languages and an Argentinian guy with an awesome beard, and his mother. It was all most pleasant. The Argentinian guy was worried about being robbed during the night (I think his mother's travel paranoia was rubbing off on him) so he hid his money in his bag of Maltesers - only he told us that's what he was doing, which was funny considering we'd be the ones to rob him.
I had a top bunk so at bedtime I climbed up to be on a narrow fold-down bed just under the ceiling. You'd think it'd be hard to sleep, but something about trains is quite soothing, in spite of the noise, because the only times I woke up were when we stopped, first at the Swiss border and then at the Italian border, each accompanied by a welcoming text message from Vodafone and the reassurance that it's still going to cost me a fortune to make and receive calls. Thanks guys!
And now I'm in Venice (!!!) but we'll deal with that later.