I’ll give you the good new first. We are sitting on our train to San Sebastián and it is, so far, on time. This is something of a miracle as only a fraction of the trains are operating. We took a taxi to the train station which is also good news since they were also on strike a few days ago. The station was so quiet it was eerie. Since we had to be out of our apartment by 10AM, we had a two hour wait in a huge station with only a handful of people. When our track was announced 10 minutes before the train departed, we went down to the track. There we encountered a track with two different trains on it and a mob of people who seemed to be running from one train to the other. We finally found an employee who told us the people were all running to our train. It was total chaos getting on the train, finding our seats, and getting the luggage stored. I’m not sure where all the people came from, but it appeared they were changing trains.
And now for the bad news. I got my pocket picked in the Metro Sunday night. We went to the Saint Michel area to hear an organ concert at the Saint Sulpice church. This church is famous for two things: one of the best organs in the world and a mythical line through it which Dan Brown featured in the Davinci Code. After that we had dinner and went to a tribute to Peggy Lee concert in our favorite jazz club in Paris. When we entered the Metro after the concert, Susan went through the turnstile first. I put my ticket in and grabbed it when it came out, but the turnstile jammed. The person behind me ran into me in the process as I backed up to try the ticket again. At that point the turnstile suddenly released and I went through. I didn’t think anything about it as this same thing happened to Susan and I a few days earlier. She went through first and I put my ticket in too soon. This jammed both of us in the turnstile which ultimately released her, but I had to go to the window to get my ticket renewed. I was thinking the poor guy behind me was going to have to use a second ticket since there was no open ticket window in the station. When I got down to the platform and put my hand in my pocket, I found my wallet was gone. I never felt a thing or suspected a thing. If I am right and you can jam a turnstile by putting a ticket in early, this seems like a design created by the pickpockets union.
When I got home, I spent the next 45 minutes on the phone calling credit and debit card companies. Fortunately, I had decided when we got to Europe, we should leave one credit card and one debit card locked in the room. My advice when traveling in Europe is to have a backup credit card and debit card from different banks and keep the backup separate from your wallet. I also lost my drivers license and insurance cards. I have arranged for a replacement drivers license which I will need in Ireland, but the insurance cards are not so important until I get back to the States. All the replacements will end up with David who is handling our forwarded mail. The next task is to find the best way to ship them to us in Spain.
Farewell Paris. We still love you.