Bedding in Bordeaux

That’s “bedding”, the noun, not the verb.

For most of yesterday morning (Saturday), Diana and I had pretty much planned on flying to Madrid. Then, over lunch, we weirdly decided to jump on a train through the Tannel (thank you) and down from Paris to Bordeaux.

My first time in a non-English-speaking country. It’s a bit claustrophobic, a bit stressful, especially when you’ve got only the vaguest instructions of which line to take on the Paris Metro to get to the other train station where the line to Bordeaux kicks off. Still, somehow we muddled through.

There was a full-on genuine street crazy on the Metro link. There are a few street crazies in Auckland, but they tend to just mutter a bit here and there. This guy gets on at one stop with a fucking fire extinguisher, sets it down and starts lecturing loudly in French, punctuating his rant with complicated gestures. At the next stop, he picks up his fire extinguisher and disembarks. Okay, we think. No more crazy. But no, he was just putting the fire extinguisher down on the floor of the subway outside the train, and hopped right back on to continue his lecture.

There’s street crazy, and then there’s French street crazy. Rue crazy.

Navigating the public transport in Bordeaux at 10.30pm to get to the hotel I’d booked was a whole other mission. Took a tram to a place to catch a bus that gives no indication of where it is, etc. Managed with the help of a Korean couple.

Well, I say tram. When I hear “tram”, I think of antiques crunching their way around Christchurch. Christchurch, by the way, has more people living in it than Bordeaux. Bordeaux’s not big, but apparently the mayor here woke up one morning and said, “Fuck it. We’re going to make Bordeaux fucking b’dass.” Here’s Lonely Planet on it:

The mayor, ex-Prime Minister Alain Juppé, roused Bordeaux, pedestrianising its boulevards, restoring its neoclassical architecture, and implementing a high-tech public-transport system. His efforts paid off: in mid-2007 half of the entire city was Unesco-listed, making it the largest urban World Heritage Site.

“Hey, where’s the World Heritage Site around here?” Mogo doesn’t socialise.

So, smaller in population than Christchurch, and when I hear “tram” I think “antique”, basically. So getting on a goddam space elevator was a bit of a surprise. I was told before coming to Europe that I’d want to spit on Auckland’s public transport-system when I returned, but that’s not quite accurate. I’m no longer entirely convinced that Auckland even has a public-transport system.

The space elevators trams cover most of the city, and they’re 1.40 Euro no matter how far you go. And they go fast. And they’re clean and they’re frequent.

Anyway, that’s where we are now. Gonna grab some breakfast, find a backpackers to stay at, and look into this “Bordeaux wine tour” thingee.

Keep it foolish.

2 Comments Bedding in Bordeaux

  1. Morgan Nichol

    I had no idea you were so poorly travelled, I guess I just assumed that anyone I like has to have been around at least a little bit. But now you’ve started, so there we go.

    No shit on the public transport. Haven’t you listened to Discourse? Now you know why I’m so ashamed of our city. It’s incredible how friggin’ great it is when you’re in a city with genuinely good infrastructure. I don’t understand the backwards mindset of the people who think more roads is the solution, and don’t even give a moment’s consideration to the rail loop, north shore rail connection, improved buses, growing the (really crappy) tram line from Wynyard Quarter over to the city (and putting trams on it that aren’t pieces of shit), etc etc etc.

    Because all those things just seem obvious.

    I’d also like to see a bullet train from Auckland to Wellington, ‘cos honestly there’s nothing better in the world than the Shinkansen, it’s the best way I’ve ever travelled, but I just don’t think we can afford it.

    Reply
    1. Ryan Sproull

      Yeah, I’ve come to travel a bit late in life, mainly due to being terrible with money in the past.

      Regarding public transport, this may make you feel a bit better. Yesterday we tried to buy some tickets through the automated system and it froze for a bit, then buzzed, went blank, then rebooted and we were left with a Windows start-up screen staring at us.

      Reply

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