Cities / Towns Visited: 3
Countries Visited: 2
Steps Taken Today: 19,021
Steps Taken Around the World: 385,905
So travel days are rarely interesting, and are often stressful, but it is best to try and stay optimistic and remember that in the end you’ll get where you’re going. It’s all a means to an end. So after wrangling our suitcases and backpacks on a suburban train, a high speed cross country train, and a driverless metro train we arrived at the train station of Universite Ville Jean, in Rennes. Yes you read that right, the metro system in a relatively small city in Normandy has driverless trains, and after having experienced them, I would recommend them to all cities; they are efficient, punctual, and I’m sure they keep the cost of running much lower. It is also apt to note that given the name of the university I did subsequently have a bastardised version of Michael Jackson’s ‘Billie Jean’ stuck in my head for the following few days.
From the station we began our trek to the hotel, which was 1km or so from the train station, but it was cheap, so it was worth the slight inconvenience. Now we all like to rely large portions of our knowledge and direction on the great powers of Google, but we must all do so with a grain of salt. It is not all knowing; for example Google seems to believe that a small dirt path between two university buildings which is no wider than 30cm constitutes a road. Yes Google, you can walk down there, but is it a good suggestion to do so with suitcases? It’s a no from me.
Anyway, eventually we made it, and after dumping our bags in luggage storage went exploring the local area while we waited for check in. With it being Easter Monday it was understandably dead, with the food options being Subway, and…oh no it was just Subway. We reasoned that a trip back into the main city would be the only way we were getting dinner, as we wandered down the aforementioned dirt path, through some beautiful ivy covered trees, and back to the hotel. Like all cheap hotel rooms it consisted of a bed, a bathroom, and just enough room to breathe. Unlike most hotel rooms in the lower end of the price bracket it had a bath, and anyone who knows me well, knows that that would mean I was going to be off the grid for at least an hour later in the evening.
Our adventure to scavenge dinner was successful, although the choices were slim with the public holiday, and after a couple of local ciders in a nearby pub, we settled for charcuterie, pizza, and a couple more ciders in a restaurant around the corner. Not speaking the language meant the timing of the meal was a bit off as we got one of the pizzas with the entree, and mine came out after my partner had devoured his, but never mind.
A lobster pot hot bath soothed away the stresses of the day, and as the water ran it gave me pause to, for the first time since we’d arrived in Europe, think about exactly where I was. I guess we all have a mental pin in the map of our mind of where we live, of our place in the world; and I only just came to terms with the fact I’d moved that pin. I was, and am, on the opposite side of the world to everything I’ve ever known, everyone I care deeply about is at least 24 hours away, save the one soul sitting in the next room. That doesn’t mean I won’t meet people who will become one of these elite group; people who I will miss when I return home. I am in a country I’ve only ever talked about, or viewed photos of, a place that almost seemed unreachable or unreal, and yet here I am; and I’m exactly where I want to be.