A Travellerspoint blog

Yesterday, today, and tomorrow

John you should write a travel blog friends have said. Why I asked. You are always travelling and you come across interesting things. Ya. That's probably accurate. So let's break down the yesterday, today, and tomorrow...

December 1999. I had plans with my then girlfriend to spend the turning of the millennium in the Caribbean on a cruise. Somewhere's along the line she decided to find greener pastures and said good bye to me. A little heart broken and a lot of pissed I scrapped the whole plan and restarted. Europe. I want to be in Paris for the turning of the Millennium. So with a little bit of cancellation fees and new plans later I flew out of Boston, MA for LHR.

Most of my flights are typically Boston, MA, Manchester NH, or on rare occasion Portland ME. Boston and Manchester can go either way on pricing. No rhyme or reason behind it. Portland ME is good pricing in the winter time. In the summer it's trendy to go to the Maine coast and the price flying in or out reflects it. I live in the small little town of Effingham NH and all of these airports are about the same distance. There is another airport. Pease in Portsmouth NH. They only have one airline and that airline, Allegiant, only flies out of there a couple of times a week. Anyways back to the millennium run to Paris.

I decided to set these plans up on December 8. 23 days before New Year's Eve. The internet was still finding itself and Google wasn't a thing. But there was enough on the internet that allowed me to get a Eurail Pass and a flight for not too expensive money. Since I was using the eurail pass I had options of where to fly into. Frankfurt, Germany was almost my initial arrival point. I didn't need to spend money to fly directly into Paris and Germany was a close fit. But this tunnel thing had opened recently. Hmm... a little more research later and my cheapest option was Boston to London via Reykjavik Iceland. I flew out of Boston on December 27, 1999 and landed in London December 28th in the afternoon. Took the tube into the city from the airport and jumped on the chunnel train. It worked out fairly well and I arrived late in the evening in Paris. Found a room at a hostel called the 3 Ducks. It's a old stable converted into a hostel. If you're in your early 20s and looking for cheap digs in Paris for a few days I highly recommend it. The coffee and baguette was free in the morning and that was a plus.

Wow. I was in Paris. For the turning of the millennium. What a bizarre world I live in. So in less then a month I took what was a well scheduled and planned out trip and through it all away for a train pass, hope, and crossed fingers. Okay. So where did I fuck up getting to Paris?

Boston. At the airport. I ate an Altoid. An older woman sitting next to me asked for one and of course I gave her one. I was used to Altoids so their potency isn't all that potent on me. Her on the other hand. She spit it out shortly after and I was caught between amused and feeling a little bad. Not a bad start. Okay. Next fuck up. I did good getting across London and into Paris. I did run a bit from one tube station to another. Gave me my one only visit to London so far. We'll talk about the return through London later. There was recently a mad cow scare in the UK so the burgers on board the chunnel were proudly advertising 25% beef, 75% soy product. I had been running a bit so a mostly soy burger was a turn on. I got into Paris at the Gare D' Nord. French for the north station. Went to the first taxi I found and asked him to bring me to a hostel. Well I'm not sure if he didn't understand me or what the deal was. He took me for a ride across the city and dropped me off. And I had no idea where I was and found no hostel. Luckily Paris has this big tower thing so I was able to navigate myself over there. I found a line of taxis and took an ad I printed for the 3 Ducks and walked down the line of cabs until one of them knew where it was and could bring me there. I arrived at the 3 Ducks and booked a room for 3 nights. Until January 1, 2000. About $20 a night. Damn my life was good!

Hostel is dorm room style living. Might be Coed. Might not. Bedding also may or may not be included. The 3 Ducks at the time was old metal bunk beds with mattresses that were beyond dead with a pillow and blanket that matched. After all the running I had done in the past 24 hours it was perfect. My roommates were a Mexican and 2 Australians. Hostels are a great way to meet people who are also travelling around. Do this! I went to Paris completely alone. I ended up going to see the turning of the Millennium at the Eiffel Tower with me, a couple of Mexicans, a couple of Swedes, and couple of Germans, and an Iranian. Good times. It was probably the best New Year's Eve I've ever had and the Champ De Mars is a much better spot then Time's Square.

So Europe. Went from Paris to Switzerland on January 1. I made a very poor attempt at skiing in Interlaken. Being still pretty intoxicated from the night before it went poorly so I went back to my Hostel in Switzerland and went back to drinking. I had a late night train to catch at like 2am. From Switzerland on to Rome. I was amazed at the natural beauty of Switzerland. Breathtaking. Switzerland down to Rome. Rome to Budapest. Budapest to Berlin. Berlin to Amsterdam. Amsterdam back to Paris. Paris to England. England back to Boston.

This was my first big trip. And I've been road tripping ever since. My furthest west is Honolulu, HI. My furthest east has been Budapest. I'll add blogs to fill in during my off road time of places I have been. Things I recommend and don't. Some things I wish I had done and the things I have.

So today. Today I sit at work. I'm a Paramedic. During the downtime I have the ability to do things with my time, like write this. I leave for Los Angeles on August 5th. My youngest daughter wanted to go to Disneyland before going back to college and in February it was a good idea. Now? I don't know. Disneyland isn't open and if it doesn't open soon I'm going to cancel the Disney plans and rent a car to explore California. I've got another 2 weeks before I make that decision. Fingers crossed.

Tomorrow. The ultimate reason I started this blog is my next big adventure. I've drive across the US. From Santa Monica Pier, CA to Old Orchard Beach Pier, ME. So I was thinking what next. Well in 286 days, April 20, I leave for Cape Town, South Africa. I'm driving from Cape Town across South Africa to Kruger National Park. Then back across to Botswana, up to the Serengeti. I'm taking a flight from Tanzania to Cairo and then back to Boston. Basically driving up Africa. Flying over areas that are hostile. And seeing Egypt. I don't see myself ever returning to Africa again so I wanted to go once and get it all done. Animals and Pyramids. Okay. So it's started. Let's see where it goes.

Posted by justjohn 20:18 Archived in France Comments (0)

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