In The Footsteps of The Magdalene, A Mideast Journal

23rd June, 2009

Before I start, I ought to explain that there are no pictures for this entry as I lost my camera. This event is actually in my future and as I write I’m unaware of this occurance. The story of it’s disappearance is therefore, in a different, future and as of yet (but not as of your reading), unwritten entry in the Journal. I am beginning to really love the time transferance that occurs in writing, that allows the reader to slip unnoticed from time to time as well as place to place without actually leaving the continuum in which you exist. You are quite a marvel. But I digress. Back to the moment…

So I’m sitting in the back of a bar across from La Garde Nord in Paris. It’s 1:30 in the morning, and I have time to kill. Thankfully the bar is open 24 hours. I was going to order a Royale with Cheese from McDonald’s, which is, if you’ve been paying attention actually just called the very pedantic Royal Cheese and the Royal Bacon, but they were closed by the time I made it here by Metro from the Gare MontParnasse. The directions on the Metro Map were a little foggy and telling me to take the Number 4 to Gare Nord didn’t help because it’s not the last destination on the line, so it’s not on any of the signs until you’re actually on the platform. And of course, the first platform was the wrong one. Anyway, my plan was to drop off my luggage at the baggage storage and then go sightseeing. Unfortunately, the baggage check was closed, and I’m not really up to walking about Paris with my backpack. Still, the night is young!

For some reason I screwed up the calculation for the trip to London. The price that I thought was the total. That is from Vannes to London was actually the price only from Paris. There is a train at 6:49 this morning, so I’m hoping I can get a ticket for that train. I bumped into a couple of Brits who had missed the last train to London, and they steered me to a bank machine, but I didn’t connect outside the station, and when I retruned I found out from the security guard, tere was a bank machine right on the side of the Money Exchange Bureau. I’ve been getting short enough on cash to start wondering if I can ccash in some of the extra Yemeni and Indian Money I still have. Maybe there’s a specila place in London that changes money from EVERYWHERE. I still have some room on my credit card. France is REALLY EXPENSIVE. Of course, I’m used to Ethiopia, Yemen, India, Sudan and Egyptian prices (I’m not counting Jordan cause its not that cheap). I can’t believe it’s almost over.

Today was cool, though. I arrived in Carnac, but let me tell ya about getting there first. I thought I would take the overnight train from Avignon (which I did), so I should probably go all the way back to:

20th June, 2009

For some reason I had thought that today was the 19th, and that I had more days left. I believe today is Friday, but I’ll check that out on my calendar to make sure. I’m in a rather overpriced hotel in Tarascon. I had first headed for a hotel that had rates advetised for 26E, but it was full. So she directed me to L’Hotel Povecal, and it turns out there’s actually two. One is very nice and quite pricey and the other is just overpriced. Unfortunately I booked into the overpriced one. Still, I only had about a ½ hour to get the room, buy some bread, cheese and water and oranges to eat during the day, and then hustle back to the train station to catch the bus to St. Remy to visit the Roman town of Glanum.

As it turned out, I could have taken the bus I took from Tarascon to St. Remy from Arles, and saved myself some time (and also have stopped first in Glanum, then continued on to Taarascon). At first, after arriving in St. remy, I thought I probably had made the wrong decision as St. Remy was very nice, picturesque and all, and had quite a wonderful touristy atmosphere. Still, that’s not what happened. I took the Arles/Avignon express that only stopped in Tarascon along the way. Still, Glanum was a great site. The little Roman town predates the Celts and is set in a small valley around a spring. And, here’s the really bizarre thing. Remember what I said before about Van Gogh. I mean I didn’t really know he had lived in Arles. Check out the photo I took that reminds me of his café picture. I photoshopped it to resemble his painting, and think I’ll probably paint the picture from the photo when I get some time. I love it! Turns out Vincent was in the psychiatric Hospital right next to the Roman arcaheological site, so I stopped in and visited the recreation of his room and the historical exhibition there. Very cool. Here I was following in the steps of the Magdalene, and end up visiting all the places Vincent had been.

All went well until I took the bus back to Tarascon. I won’t go into all the reasons, but I missed the last bus back (it runs at 3:40PM) I decided to start walking, but I got a couple of kilometers outside of St. Remy, and the sign said that Tarascon was 14 kilometers away. As my official walking speed is 2 ilometers and hour, it meant I had 7 hours to go! I was debating turning around when I found a bus stop, and decided the only option I had was to go back to St. Remy and catc the bus either to Avignon or Arles and catch the express to get to Tarascon. I decided to hitchhike, and within about 10 minutes I got a ride from a guy who works at the Tourism Bureau in St. Remy. So I got back to Tarascon by 5PM. Not bad.

I was pretty tired, and after walking about Tarascon and checking out the church of St. Martha and the castle (they were both closed) I came back to my hotel room and now I’m watching “Bones” on TV. It’s called “Bones” in France…

21st June, 2009

I was going to leave for Avignon early, but as I hadn’t visited the St. Martha church and the castle, I figured I might as well have breakfast at the Provencal then do the visit thing. I got to the church too early and had to wait for about an hour until the church and the castle opened. Pretty cool places, and I met two people from Winnipeg (they live in Vancouver, but they grew up in Winipeg) on the battlements of the castle. Here’s something else:

If you’ve ever noticed, I sign my emails with Rx. It’s actually a typed substitute for my initials. When I sign just an initial I sign the “R” and then just write a cross over the tail end of the “R” as a short form of the “K”. And guess what? I founf that EXACT SAME sign on the stones on the north wall of the entrance to Le College de St. Marthe (And sone Mason signs scratched into it as well, but it’s not tat important to this story.) Kinda blew my mind a bit. I asked the priest about it, but he didn’t really know (hadn’t seen the signs).

So, I took the bus as soon as I reached the stop and ended up in Avignon. I had decided I had time to travel to Carnac to see the Neolithic Megaliths there, but the only train left at 18:30 and went overnight. This kinda suited me fine as I could save the hotel room for the night, and then the actual train trip wouldn’t seem so exorbidant (80 Euros). Still, it meant missing some of the coutryside. But here’s something that kinda made up for that (The 21st is the longest day of the year, and presumably the 22nd would be the 2nd longest). Still, I had time to kill in Avignon, and decided I absolutely had to visit Le Pont D’Avignon. Which I did. Anyway, across from the Theatre. One of the statues on the steps of the Theatre is Moliere, but the other, “Je ne sais pas!” There was another ballet recital thing going on there too. Still, the steak (another pepper steak) was excellent and only 9Euros. A great deal! After that, another church and Le Pont D’Avignon! Then off to catch the train. I think it might have been delayed for some reason, but we eventually got going, and I pretty well went to sleep before dark and didn’t wake up until:

22nd June 22, 2009

By the time we got to Bretagne in the morning, it was quite light out. Unfortunately the train was late, and I missed the connecting train to Aulay. S Still, I got the next one, and then took the bus from Aulay to Carnac. It was a short walk to the standing stones, and the people in the Office there let me leave my pack in the broom closet, and I was free to walk about. Took some pics, had a crepe, coffee and ice cream at a really nice country restaurant. I was too tired to walk about the whole site, so I walked back to Carnac and visited the Archaeological Museum, had a chance to reply to which country I came from by saying; “Mon Pays Sont L’Hiver!” And gosh darn if the lady there hadn’t only heard of the song but was a big fan of French Canadian music especially Robrt Charlebois. Go figure!

I took the bus to Vannes, and that’s when I found out I had the wrong amount in my head for the fare. I didn’t have enough to pay for the whole thin, and it took me so long to get everything figured out, I missed the trin to Paris and had to take a later one. See, the bank machine in Vannes by the station was out of service, and I wanted to leave my credit card for any emergencies. So, here I am. The only good thing about the train (well, it’s a nice train, but the window seat I had was actually a wall seat) was it had a place where I could plug in my computer. So I sat and edited picture with a guy watching movies on his Apple. So, here I am. Spending as much money on stuff in the restaurant as I probably would have spent on a hotel room.