April 17 Orleans

I strapped on my pack and left the hotel with good wishes from the receptionist for a good trip to Compostella! It made me smile, but the joke was on me because Orleans is on a Camino path! I was anxious about the train with all the strikes so I went early. I could see on the monitor the train I was to catch but no platform number. Each person I asked said you just need to be there 20 minutes before but nobody told me which platform. I walked around filling in time and decided to wait until there was a rush to the platform. With time to kill I needed the loo and of course you have to pay here. It is important to have some small change even for the train tickets. More awkward was the fancy loo that didn’t give me enough time to take my pack off and settle before the door unlocked! Some poor woman got a shock when she opened my door. Still uncertain about the train I just had to wait for the last twenty minutes and follow any group heading for a train and then find someone to tell me if it was the correct train. Fortunately there were no other trains departing so I was pretty sure it was the correct train. I did eventually find a staff member who waved me onto the train. I checked with one of the passengers too. The microphone was so muffled I found it hard to understand. I longed for the Japanese system which is spoken in both Japanese and English with very clear instructions. Anyway all was okay until I arrived at my destination Aubrais. Karen and Andy had said stay on the train till it goes to Gare Orleans but when I asked someone they said it wasn’t stopping there. I needed to get off and catch a tram. I leaped off just before the train pulled out and then had to squeeze through the crowd with my backpack to get to a ticket machine. Seriously I could have got on with out a ticket as nobody checked. Anyway the tram took me to the station but my alarm grew as we wizzed past finally stopping at the back of the station instead of the front. I located Andy and Karen who have not changed at all. It was a lovely reunion.

We walked back to our Airbnb which was convenient to the start of the walk near the river. Then they took me back to explore Orleans. The cathedral has the most beautiful intricate stained glass windows and the little streets around the centre were quite medieval and quaint. The Loire River is very wide and fast flowing. But very tranquil looking. There is a canal that runs alongside the river too on which several fisherman were seated. This is a rather lovely town. We found a restaurant for dinner where we were served delicious but huge toasted sandwiches with salad. They were too big to eat. When we returned home I crashed and slept so very soundly.

Author: fleetfootkath

I am a keen walker and traveller. I love to explore and learn about new people, places and cultures with a sense of joy and gratitude for this fortunate life. I believe walking is a wonderful way to really connect with the present and the beauty of the world that surrounds us. It makes me happy.

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