Sep 7, 2008

Baggage #2

My transfer at Lyon was about an hour, after that I grabbed a local train to Montpellier. I had just decided on Montpellier as a destination on Monday morning. I needed to be in Perpignan on Tuesday, so I had thought about taking an overnight train. It was over $100 more for the overnight train than the regular train, if I took the regular train though, I'd have to stay somewhere overnight. I had considered Lyon, Marseilles and Montpellier, and decided on the last one since it was closest to Perignan, meaning I'd have the most flexibility on getting there on Tuesday.

I intentionally didn't look ahead for accomodations. The plan was to lock up my rolling suitcase and explore the city and see what came up. Unfortunately, upon arriving at 10pm, I discovered there were no lockers available in the train station. Wandering around the area near the train station, I found that pretty much all the hotels were full (not sure why, but it was the day before school started so I suspect that was related), and none of them had lockers. In the end I found a Holiday Inn, where the desk clerk agreed to lock up my suitcase in the storage room, provided that I pick it up before 7am when his shift was over.
I've found that one of the parts I hate most in travelling is carrying luggage around. It slows you down and drastically limits how far you can go before you're exhausted. Add to that the clumsiness of carrying it around, worrying about theft, and the fact that it marks you out as a vulnerable tourist.
After having stowed the suitcase, I explored the town by foot a bit before jumping on the tram. The first night in Geneva, I had taken the trams around the city to get a feel of the outlying areas and was planning to do the same. Unfortunately the outbound train I took was the last one. It was about 1am when I got to the end of the line, and there were no returning trams. It took me about 4 hours to walk back to the train station. The trip included a couple of short naps on park bences along the way, and meeting a bunch of guys playing football in the empty square at the center of the city at 4:30am. It got colder than I expected, so I was glad to get back to the station, where I found other travellers sleeping for the night. If I had to have carried the suitcase through the night, it would have been pretty miserable, but as it was, it was only tiring (and my feet hurt after).
The next morning I first took a bus to the sea, took a few photos, and then bussed back wandered around the city a little more, when I ran into two dutch tourists that I happened to see the night before. It was interesting that they were photographers, so I hung around with them as they explored the town. Ultimiately it wasn't the best decision; because of them I missed the train I was planning on taking to Perpignan (which meant a lot more walking when I got there since I then didn't have a ride to the house I was staying at).
The more vocal of the two dutch guys proved to be arrogant, opinionated and ignorant, a combination I find downright unbearable. It's something I pretty much guessed at, but maybe I was too generous in not making early judgements. Maybe this is too harsh, but then maybe the lesson to be learned is to trust my judgement and not waste time with the wrong people who will drag me down.
On an absolutely unrelated note, I gotta learn to sail.

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