Oh no. The temperature is dropping! Will this mean the end of my adventurous spirit! With that depressing thought in mind, I recently jumped on a train to venture off to Bordeaux where it was going to be a sunny 28°. Mind you, it was going to be warm in Paris - but anyway.
The train was leaving from Montparnasse early in the morning. As that was about 20 minutes drive away by car I decided to try the Paris bus for the first time. Here, the bus drives up, the ramp is activated by the driver and it slides out automatically. It was so easy, relaxed and kept me independent. To get off, I just push the button next to the wheelchair space to alert the driver to trigger the ramp. Or, if that doesn't alert him I just yell out 'La rampe s'il vous plaît!!!'
I arrived in Bordeaux at about 12:40PM (there's nothing like a 3.25 hour train ride each way to get to five hours of fun!). I decided to use the tram to travel around as it was right by the station. So, I opened my map of The Most Interesting Sites To See In The History Of Bordeaux and randomly picked a spot to visit. After getting some advice on what tram to catch, I rolled easily onto the tram which had perfect flat wheelchair access.
I arrived at a rather large church in the Saint Michel area. This was a not very impressive place that day as it was at the end of market time. There was rubbish everywhere, and quite frankly, I've realised that there are only so many cathedrals one can see in their lifetime. It's clear I'm unlikely to find God.
As Bordeaux is huge, spreading right around the coast in a half circle, I took another tram to an area that was considered another One Of The Most Interesting Sites To See In The History Of Bordeaux. Basically it was a great big enormous statue of a great big enormous person (or two) perched atop a great big enormous thing (usually a horse but not this time). Again, when you see one of these monuments once or twice it's very impressive. However, living in Paris, where there are a myriad of statues of a great big enormous person (usually a man) perched atop ...
By this stage I was getting rather hungry. I came across a restaurant alongside the river that was still serving food. Call me a daydreamer or accuse me of having overly high expectations, but only being open for eating from 12:00 noon to 3:00PM on a Saturday in warm weather in a tourist city is a bit daft. I snuck in at 2:50PM.
Even though I've previously bitched about how the French cannot cook pasta and they shove salmon into every pasta dish they can find, I chose the roast fillet of salmon with tagliatelle on the side. I love me a good piece of salmon as long as it has a crunchy skin and is still pink on the inside. I also love me some tagliatelle pasta. The salmon was cooked perfectly but for some bizarre reason known only to the chef, the fish was placed skin down and a sauce poured over the top of the fish. As for the pasta, I give up.
I then decided to get a glass of wine. Now of course a smarter person than I would've realised that if you're in the city of Bordeaux in France they're not likely to have a Chardy or Sav Blanc on the menu. They'd promote their own wines - as they should. Eventually I realised this and ordered a very delicious local white.
When finished I wandered off down the back streets. I'd had enough of The Most Interesting Sites To See In The History Of Bordeaux and instead wanted to see where the locals live and play. By chance, and to my delight, I found a very long narrow street called Rue Notre Dame. This turned out to be full of artists, wine traders and designers. It was absolutely delightful. There were bric-a-brac and antique shops, little restaurants and wine cellars, clothing designers and a beautiful bridal shop.
At 5:30PM it was time to head to the train station and to take the tram again. I asked a random man at the station which one to take. He said I needed to change trams halfway through and as he was on the same route he would tell me where to change. Ten minutes later I jumped on the second tram. First man had stayed on the the previous route so I confirmed with another traveller that I was going in the right direction. This of course then meant that the four people around me decided to become my helpers. That's what French people are like.
Not only did they give me advice on how many stops we had to go to the station, but when the doors opened they took it upon themselves to make sure nobody else got on or off until I had safely disembarked. It was really kind and typically French (in my experience). However, to warn you, never refuse their help as I mistakingly did in the supermarket the other day. If a French person offers you their place in a queue, you need to take it. If not you'll suffer the consequences of a shrug that shows you've offended a Frenchie!!
It's all adventures in the end, and in the end another delightful adventure it was indeed.