Whenever you travel, of course it involves transportation. I suppose I could call this post “trains, planes and automobiles”, although cars were the least feature of this trip for me. Starting off with planes, the return flight from Paris was on an Air France Airbus A380. I had wanted to see what one was like since they were announced back in the late 1990s. Thanks to my dad splurging on our plane tickets, we had seats in the premium economy section, which put us on the upper deck of the plane. Perhaps because of its size, the A380 was the smoothest riding plane I can recall flying in.
One other neat feature of the plane is that in the entertainment console in the headrest, one option is to view the tail cam. They have a camera somewhere near the top of the tail rudder that has a view of the aircraft and the landscape below it. Here it is, on the approach to Dulles International Airport:
Most of my travels within France were train based. I took the Metro within Paris, a commuter train to Versailles, and a TGV to Chalon. The TGV to Chalon was not the famous super-fast train that goes to Marseilles in 3 hours, but nonetheless, it’s a fast, smooth, quiet train that pivots as it goes around curves.
Paris Metro scenes:
The Monnaie station (the Mint) had these large ceramic replica coins flowing up the wall, over the ceiling and on to the wall of the opposite platform. The platform also had this giant antique coin press on display:
I wish they would do things like that here in the Washington DC metro.
Here’s a take on the same station in black-and-white.
And another view of the Metro in motion:
I took a TGV from Paris to Chalon-sur-Saone to go visit the home of Nicephore Niepce, the original inventor of photography. To say that my train trip was an adventure would be fairly accurate – my first train, which was supposed to take me directly to Chalon, instead took me to Besancon, which is a scant 60km from the Swiss border. I had to take three more trains to end up in Chalon, two and a half hours after I was supposed to arrive there.
It all worked out ok in the end, and the return trip was far less adventurous. Here is the Gare D’ Lyon, my starting (and ending) point in Paris: