Paris, France — February 10, 2018

I left Girona yesterday afternoon. My train departed just after 2 pm. Naturally, because I was leaving, the weather turned sunny. It was still chilly, but the bright sunshine promised warmer weather to come. I took the following photograph as I walked across the bridge from the hostel to the train station in the main part of town.

If you really want fresh coffee in Girona, I suppose the shop shown below is the place to buy it. I took the photo through the shop’s front window. The big, black machine is a coffee roaster. There were also huge sacks of Colombian coffee beans lying around that I presume were waiting for their turn in the roaster.

Of course, the shop shown below was more up my alley. Just look at all of those bicycle jerseys! If I didn’t already have enough jerseys hanging in my closet to last several lifetimes, including one from Girona, I might have been tempted. As I mentioned in at least one earlier post, Girona is a favorite winter training location for professional bicycle racers including several Americans. I saw a number of well-dressed cyclists riding in the rain during my stay there, and all were skinny as rails. That reminded me that I need to slim down if I am to be a competitive amateur bicycle racer in Arizona this year. I need to defend my 75 years and older state criterium championship.

This poor bronze lady must have been suffering terribly from the Girona cold weather given that she was wearing almost no clothes. Perhaps the flash from my camera warmed her up a bit.

The last time I left Girona, en route to Madrid, I had a promotional first-class ticket that I had bought online months in advance. With a promotional ticket, first-class passengers are not allowed to use the first-class waiting lounge in the railway station. This time my ticket to Paris was another promotional first-class ticket, but the ticket did not have the word “promotional” printed on it anywhere. So, I marched into the first-class lounge and flashed my ticket at the man sitting at the reception desk. He said, “Paris, OK,” and motioned me in.

It was pretty nice inside. In addition to comfortable chairs and TV screens for just two of us, there were free snacks and beverages including wine and beer. I first watched a discussion on TV Española about the US stock market crash (yesterday it recovered part of its losses) and then a discussion about Brexit.

The latest news on Brexit is that there are court cases attempting to keep Brexit from taking away the European citizenship of British citizens. (I have both American and British nationality.) The argument is that we British became European citizens when the UK joined the European Union. Once you have citizenship in a country, it cannot be taken away from you unless you obtained citizenship by fraud. Could the same thing be true of European citizenship? I don’t know the answer, but it is an interesting idea. The courts could decide that all of us British who are citizens prior to Brexit will retain our European citizenship for life.

The train ride from Girona to Paris was long. I made the mistake of asking the ticket collector where my carriage, number 12, would halt on the platform. He told me at the other end. The platform was VERY long, and after I had walked halfway to the end, I decided that guy might be wrong and I should walk no farther. It’s a good thing I did. When the train arrived, carriage 12 went whizzing by me as the train slowed in preparation to stopping. I had to run the length of the train to get to it. Watching a 75-year-old trying to run is not pretty, but there was no helping it. The train was only scheduled to stop for three minutes.

En route, the train came to a stop in Southern France for some reason that was never explained. The upshot was that we arrived in Paris 50 minutes late. Fortunately, I know the Parisian subway system well, and I was able to ride from the train station to within blocks of where I am staying before having to wade through the melting slush on foot. It was 11 pm until I hit the hay, later for me.

I’ll leave you with this photograph that I just took out of the front window of the hostel. Although the snow was melting when I arrived in Paris yesterday evening, some of it survived the night.