Archive for September 11th, 2010

Train to Reims

September 11, 2010

We had an interesting end to the day yesterday, we wanted to check on our accounts and debit cards to see what the balances etc were so we logged on only to be told at every account that our passwords and or user names were invalid and we could not access the accounts but we had to contact the bank.  So with phone in hand, we rang the number listed on the web site to be put on hold for a start, then after convoluted questions and us trying to find receipts for our last transactions, our phone ran out of money mid conversation!  By this time it was late at night here in France, so we quickly sent off an email to the National Bank as per the contact on their web site.  We also sent an email to our personal banker Megan, in Oamaru, in the hope that she may be able to assist in some way. 

Within an hour the telephone rang, and it was Megan from Oamaru National Bank – with ALL the information to hand that we required.   Now how is that for service??  HUGE kudos goes to Megan for quickly responding and sorting out everything for us.  Within minutes we also received a confirmation email with all the details we were after.

After breakfasting the French way – croissant and tea (ok so it should have been coffee) -  the first objective this morning was to top up the telephone account, again a very kind gentleman at the Orange Network did this for me AND he also changed the settings back to English for me!

Next it was off to a bank to withdraw some funds for the next few days.  And then onto the train station to catch the train to Reims, only this time we were to be travelling TGV so a different station had to be found.   Along the way the male member of the party decided to go into a supermarket to buy a bottle of water…..…15minutes late I caught a glimpse of him wandering around the aisles – a quick shout to tell him that we only had 10 minutes to get to the station and find the right platform and train!! So it was dump the water and run like hell.  We managed to get to the station, then find the right platform (why are they always located at the bottom of a huge flight of steep steps??) and get onto the right train but not quite the right carriage – ooops, we had 2nd class tickets NOT 1st class!  Oh well, we just tell people that we are Aussies when we make mistakes!

We settle into our seats for a very fast trip on the TGV train.  Wow, we figured we must have been travelling at round 200 – 250km/hour as it was not too long before we were pulling into Charles de Gaulles train station then onto Champagne Ardenne where we had to change trains to Reims. 

hi speed Pictures out the window at these speeds don’t work.  You are well past the object of interest before you have pressed the button

We met a couple of young American students who were also going to Reims who told us we were on the right train. Here we also met up with a lovely Irish woman who was also keen to make sure she was on the right train.  For some strange reason the train to Reims was labelled as going to Epernay??!!

not the TGV NOT the TGV

Anyway, we arrived in Reims to a glorious day, where through some more assistance of another helpful young woman we managed to get onto the right bus into town to the Information Centre.  The Information Centre is directly in front of the impressive Notre Dame Cathedral of Reims!  Amazing sight. 

dooleys Dooleys neat your heart out.  The exterior is being cleaned a mammoth task.

detail Detail above entrance

bronze Copper griffen detail

 

Sorted a hotel to stay in and made our way there.  It has the smallest lift we have ever been in.  It cannot fit more than two people (intimately) or one person and bag.  It took two trips for us to get to our floor.

DSCF1731 In the lift reflected in the mirror opposite

statue Statue in the square outside hotel

It being 3pm by this stage we decided to eat at one of the brasseries opposite the hotel.  We chose the same chain where we had dined last night in Lille and again had a first class late lunch.

3 brasseurs

That done, we set off in search of a Laundromat, as no matter what, washing still has to be done!  But we failed that exercise, obviously there is no need for Laundromats in Reims so we abandoned that plan and decided we would sort out washing once we get to Charlville-Mezieres with Roger & Ruth.  We wandered around the city for a bit – found an amazing patisserie

patisserie

palmier This picture for Hilda

-  and have decided that we will head out to Epernay tomorrow to do some serious tasting.  The rest of the afternoon is for resting and relaxing for a change.

not market Local market?  No just the fresh food display in the supermarket

And finally sign of the day.  Can somebody not spell?

sign