26 April 2011 – to Paris

I have a restless night, since I need to be at the station for the bus at 8:04. After a breakfast with hot chocolate made just for me I pack my pack, pay my bill and I am on my way to the station. As I approach I see a couple of familiar figures standing there. It’s Jocelyn and Max!  They have finished their journey and are also on their way to Paris. I had not expected to see them again ever and here they are. They took a taxi from where they stayed overnight. Although we buy our tickets together and we tell the agent that we are together, we do not end up in the same carriage. The train is quite full. I sit in a 1st class carriage with too little legroom so a total stranger (at least she is attractive) and I play kneesies all the way for five hours toParis. We never speak.

 In Paris we  three meet again on the platform, where Jocelyn busily organizes us to the Metro station, then finds out where I have to go. Max has met a friend here and so we say farewell yet again.  Jocelyn and I get on the same Metro car. She makes sure that I know where I am going (I have a Metro route map), then embraces me and gets off after three stops. She says that St. Jacques meant for us to be together all this way. Who am I to disagree?  I have two more stops to go, then a change of train and another few stops to the base of the funicular at Montmartre. Up the funicular, inquire about Rue la Marck. No one knows because it is actually Rue Lamarck. It is the street on the immediate back side of the cathedral and only a couple of minutes walk to number 24.

I push the bell and after a few moments the door opens to a welcome from Maggie, the tiny elderly elfin woman whose home this is. I am shown to my room, lovely, with a garden view and all mod. con. I will be here for a day and a bit, then off to Canada via Warsaw. In the early evening I walk through the square in Montmartre which is a beehive of activity, tourists of every size, age and nationality and the local French selling them food, drink, paintings, almost instant portraits, silhouettes of themselves. It is as far as one can imagine from the quiet and solitude of the past ten days. It’s not wrong, it’s fascinating and it is another way the world works. We are also warned here about pickpockets. I can imagine that this place would be full of them, so my passport and wallet are safely stored away.

 I am now looking forward to going home again. Carroll would be fascinated, as I am, by this particular piece of Paris. One more day …

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