Jason: Today was our last day at the Balincourt Hotel, our home away from home in Bournemouth. We'll miss the full breakfast, charming rooms, and friendly hosts, though the one thing I won't miss is the utter lack of water pressure. They keep the hot water near boiling; I assume this is so we can brew our afternoon tea in the sink. However, if you're in the shower and anybody in the county flushes their toilet, you're treated to a scalding Steam Bath Torture™. On the upside, we haven't needed to iron our clothes, but on the downside we're missing several layers of skin. But I digress...
We headed over to Sarah's hotel to give her (and us, I suppose) a final send-off. She and Max are heading out on their honeymoon to Madeira, so we hung out for a little while, had some leftover wedding cake, and then said our good-byes to them and their families. Shortly after, Amy, Carolyn, Sharon, Phu, and myself headed to the train station bound for London.
The train trip was quick and quiet, and we all relaxed on the trip. Upon arriving back in Waterloo, we grabbed an easy lunch (I tried my first "pasty", which is like a pot pie to go) and hung out in the station for a while. Sharon and Phu headed on to their next adventure in London, while we waited in the station for several hours until our train to France departed.
The Eurostar (as it's called) trip to France was very speedy and quite comfortable. It speeds through the English and French countryside, with a 20-minute dip through the Chunnel. We passed the time playing cards, reading, and watching episodes of the Daily Show.
We arrived at the Gare du Nord in Paris around 9:00pm, and found our way down to the Metro station. I got to try out my first French phrase (Un carnet, s'il vous plaît) and we soon had a book of Metro tickets. The ride was warm, but without incident.
The Metro stop is only a block away from where we're staying, so we had no trouble finding our way to the apartment and getting inside. We're staying with Joanne and Denis; Joanne is Joe Hernick's mother, and we're friends with Joe and Lisa Hernick (Lisa is also Amy's boss). They've been extremely kind in letting us stay here in their gorgeous apartment while we play tourist for the next several days.
Amy and Carolyn immediately developed one of their 10:30pm bread cravings, so it was back out to the street in search of a late dinner. Despite the offerings of Nan (mmm... Nan!) from a local Himalayan eatery, they settled upon a crêpe stand just across the street from the apartment. Amy got Nutella and banana, while Carolyn went for compote de pommes (apples).
We've settled in to the apartment, and we're planning our first full day in Paris. There's a lot to see and do, and we're very excited to be here!