Since our Germany trip had fallen through due to the strike, I decided to take the boys over to Amiens for a little day trip.
Usually I buy my train tickets with my French card and the self-serve ticket machines. I have my ticket within 30 seconds and I am good to go. With the boys, I had to use my American card to pay for their stuff, which meant waiting in line, buying three tickets instead of one, and well… spending a lot more time on tickets than I am used to. Needless to say, we were running for the train to go to Lille the day before, and today, it was no different. I bought the tickets at the window, and the man told me he couldn’t sell me the return tickets or else I would miss the train. So, the boys and I sprinted down the stairs, down the underground passage, and up the stairs to our train. We hopped on and I realized within five minutes that we were going the wrong direction – toward Lille instead of toward Amiens. Really?! I have lived in France for a total of nearly nine months, and I still can’t get this train thing down sometimes. I asked some elderly folks sitting next to us to confirm that we were on the wrong train, and I decided to get off at the next stop where we would wait twenty minutes until a train came back through the other way… aka… the right way!
An hour later, we hopped off at the Amiens station and made our way towards the cathedral. I had spent a day here during my Toussaint break, and wanted to show them this first. Plus it’s right next to the tourism office so I could grab a map to refresh my memory of the city layout.
After that, I gave Matt the map and made him lead us back to the city center towards the Christmas market. (We were already craving more hot cider and crepes.) We walked around the market, not seeing anything of interest except for two guys making ash trays out of soda cans. Grant and Matt bought one for Michel’s Christmas gift, and Matt even threw in his soda can that he had finished drinking. I’d say it was a fair exchange.
Next up, it was Grant’s turn with the map. He successfully lead us to la Maison de Jules Verne, the house where the famous French writer Jules Verne used to live. We got a free handbook at the desk to guide us through the house, and Grant was made our official tour guide. It was much more enjoyable than the last time when I went alone… arriving at opening hour, creeping through the house by myself, being startled by any little sound that was made… yes, it was creepy. This time I had the two goofy boys to make jokes and meander through the house with.
It was almost time for our train, so we headed back towards the station only to see a DOUBLE RAINBOW. It was glorious. After the one hour train back to Douai, night had already fallen, but we went over to the Douai Christmas market since the boys hadn’t seen it yet. To end the day, I took them to only place in Douai that is open after 8pm – a bar called Les Gres – where our English conversation attracted a few drunkies. For me it was normal, for the boys it was completely bizarre, but all in all, I’d say the day was a success.