Now it may seem odd to you that two people on an adventure of this scale would have such a laissez-faire attitude to travel arrangements. We knew where we were going and knew when we had to arrive, it’s just that the bit in between was a little vague. Well, actually, a lot vague. Normally this would be a cause for concern. I am one of those people who tend to worry slightly about not leaving enough time to get to station or the airport and like to have things organised in advance. So with that in mind I decided to enquire into our itinerary over breakfast the following morning. Petit dejeuner en Paris chez le Charles V Hotel avec Shazza. Now that was an experience!
I was shown to a table, Shazza was already there and tucking into a bowl of porridge topped with fresh fruit and maple syrup.
“Hiyas, sit yerself doon, pet. I’ve ordered the full English for us both, lashings of scrambled egg francais, bacon, sausage, mushrooms and fried bread. We had a problem with ‘fried bread’ in French but the lad knows now. Tea and coffee. I wasn’t sure which one you prefer, being our first breakfast ‘n all. Ee wasn’t last night tiring? Well, it was for me, pet. Anyways, soon perk up.”
Cutlery clattered noisily against plates at an adjoining table.
“Any thoughts about our travel plans or moving on?” I asked tentatively.
“Another night here in that big four poster will do me. Talk about therapeutic; you can enjoy every position imaginable in that bed and I’ve still a few left to try.”
Someone choked on a croissant, coffee was spluttered onto a starched tablecloth.
“Another day in Paris, it is then. Any preference, shopping, Faubourg Saint Honore or Haussmanns, or some sightseeing, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dames, Les Invalides…….?” I started to venture.
“Well, if yers wants to. I rather hoped you’d come to Shakespeare and Co’s antiquarian bookshop with me. There’s a rare first edition Frederic Mistral written in Occitan I’d like to buy. Then maybe the Musee D’Orsay afters? I’ve texted Carla to say ‘See yers next time’. Mind, you’d like the Elysee. We’ll have an early night instead, pet. That’s a promise. ”
The waiter bumped into a table.
She continued, and not in the quietest of voices. “I thought tomorrow if we’s caught the TGV to Marseilles first thing, catch a ferry or boat. Then maybe’s one or two sights on the North African coast before we hit Cairo. But I’m easy as to which way we go, pet. Now, are yers having some Bucks Fizz with that fruit and yoghourt? You’ll need to keep yer strength up. ”
And this was just the start.