Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Learning to travel by train

My travel dictionary

Eurail: a pre-purchased train ticket that may or may not get you where you want to go or may unintentionally restrict you from being efficient or actually moving from place to place.

Oeuf: a condiment; a main ingredient in to-go sandwiches; an egg... in many forms

White: the watercolor that is most easily tainted and the first to run out of

Why do I pick these phrases? Let's start with the first and end with the last.

Eurail was always described to me as a brilliant way to travel from town to town. It's a ticket/system that allows a person to have a flexible travel schedule and make seeing Europe less stressful. Our first attempt at using our Eurail passes was indeed an epic fail.

We arrived at Gare de Lyon at a shockingly early time for Paris: 8:00 am. We found our way to the correct platform and were ready to board the train to Nice. Heading towards the train, we saw that our transport we were about to board was sold out...but we had a Eurail pass....and our plan was to ride this train....and the Eurail guide said that reservations are not required, but recommended...and now we can't get to Nice... Quickly, I started working towards a solution: the ticket counter!

I explained the situation to the clerk at Gare de Lyon who was quick to become frustrated with me because I was holding the most detestable object in all of the European travel industry: a Eurail pass. She was able to help us and booked us on the bullet train to Marseille and then the stop and go train to Nice. After completing this booking, she told me "You MUST go to the Eurail desk in Nice, otherwise you can't go anywhere." That turned out to be true as we struggled to book the remaining train trips. On a side note, we weren't completely successful and had to fly from Venice back to Paris.

Oeuf. Who knew that eggs were so versatile and found in so many un-refrigerated places? When I think of putting a hard boiled egg on a sandwich, I'm thinking about Egg Salad: light, fluffy, slightly indulgent. Parisian sandwiches have changed my view: hard boiled eggs are to be used in place of sliced of jambon or poulet. I now enjoy the hard boiled egg as a snack or main ingredient. Also, if you're traveling abroad, you might not ever see scrambled eggs on a menu... I think that the rest of the world might consider them not too classy.

Bianca, Blanche, Blanco... White adds such a wonderful balance to a picture or painting. When traveling through Paris, everything is so yellow or brown or beige, that the white on buildings and it the sky creates lacing around everything. What happens when you're painting on beige/light brown paper and...you run out of white?!?! You improvise. Hence forth, my frustrating day in Gare de Lyon forced me into painting with many shades of green. I had to teach myself to take a new approach and I loved it.

Upon arriving in Nice 10 years later, I was able to purchase more paints, including white.

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