The only way it could have been worse was ending up dead…
The day we reached Paris, everything looks oh-so-bright and beautiful, in spite of being misdirected by two staff at the CDG airport.
The weather was lovely….the evenings – long and bright….
Even our sparse hotel room at Suite Novotel, seemed good with a partition right in the middle of the room for privacy from our teenaged kids. So what if the long leg of my tall son, was on our side of the partition after pulling his cot from a secret compartment under our cot…..
We had grand plans for next day…buy the 24 hour family pass for easy access to trains, visit the Eiffel Tower (take a lot of pictures and post it without fail on FB, Instagram etc ..).but next day was the start of a two-day transport strike in Paris. No train, no bus nor taxis…
I believe, this is a very common thing to happen in Paris and the strikers choose the peak tourist time to show their anger.
But we managed to stick to our plan with the help of airport shuttle and from the airport, we took the tourist-fricking-rip-off-bus that took us to Champs Elysee, from where many places of interest could be visited. As we reached Arc De Triumph, we realised that every other tourists had stuck to their plans like we did. For a quick run-around of the best sights in Paris, we suggest the Big Bus tour. (someone suggested that to us). It is quick, gives you a good glimpse of the sights and you feel good, looking down at the Parisians!
Next day, the strike continued, which meant that we had to take the RER (train) to Gare De Nord (Paris North) as the taxis too were on strike. With the frequency limited to 1 instead of 4 per hour, the train that came to terminal 3, looked packed beyond belief. But we pushed and shoved and got in. There were 10 stops in between, none the better than the other in terms of the crowd. At one stage, I feared a stampede or a train roll-over. At Garu De Nord. which was the terminal for the train, there was a human-ocean waiting to board the train for the onward journey. God, it was surreal and utmost frightening.
But for all the jostling, fretting and fuming, the Thalys – the high speed train from Paris, stood grand at Platform no:15, ready to glide to Amsterdam!
We settled into our seats and felt really good when Paris rolled past us…