Monday, October 06, 2008

Paris, via Brussels and Charleroi - Day 1

Eurostar to Brussels to give a  talk at Charleroi. First time from St Pancras and unfortunate that it's in their post-fire phase, as my train was cancelled (they didn't tell me). It was even worse on the way back from Paris four days later with irate crowds and zero management of the problems.

In any case, Charleroi was a strange place with a steelworks in the town centre, a run down feel and obvious poverty. The first people I spotted on exiting the station were two prostitutes. The talk was fun, although I'm sure the three simultaneous translators had difficulty with my accent.

Train back to Brussels, then south to Paris to meet some firnds for our annula 'Boys' weekend', a bit of a misnomer since 3/4 of us are over 50. Hotel prices were through the roof, as it is fashion week, so 250 euros a night in the Meridien in Montparnasse was our only option. Bought some bread, cheese, a tarte poire and waited on Ken and Ronnie to arrive from Brighton and Scotland respectively. Downed a lovely bottle of Gamay when they arrived, then out around Montparnasse for an excellent meal at a small restuarant, after checking out La Coupoule, which was too busy.

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