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Hopeless in Paris

A language barrier, a luggage barrier and a missed train.

A trip to Europe should be magical especially with Paris, London, and Amsterdam on the itinerary. My mom and I landed the best flight deal to Paris and begun planning a full-on European tour. After landing in Paris, we decided to immediately catch a train to London from London to Amsterdam and then back to Paris. All of our inter-country transit was booked and we were all set. Until we landed in Paris…

The line for customs was about two hours long and we had a train to catch in less than three hours, but we remained hopeful. After making friends while waiting and reviewing our itinerary, we made it through customs with about 1.5 hours to spare. We ordered an Uber and then headed outside to meet our ride except he was not there and then there was one other small problem: a language barrier. He kept calling us speaking French and then we called back speaking English (my middle school French had failed me).

After about 10 minutes of wasted time, I said forget this. Let’s just take the mass transit system. I live in New York City, it can’t be that hard to figure out. What I didn’t know is that the transit system was on the other side of Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG), voted among the top 10 largest airports in the world. As I knew we would be making a lot of moves, I only allowed mom to pack one luggage and one small carry-on as I didn’t want us struggling with our luggage. I told mom to take a deep breath and move fast. Finally, we arrived at the train only for there to be a crazy long wait to get us to the Eurotrain. Another setback. I wanted to cry.

Mom remained hopeful and reminded me that this one setback could not ruin our 12-day vacation. This was to be the mother-daughter trip of all mother-daughter trips. We decided to try a cab and then we had luck (don’t ask why I didn’t go for a cab in the first place, I’m a millennial!) Got in the car with 30 minutes to spare and only 15-minute ride, but we didn’t account for traffic. Traffic worse than that of my beloved NYC.

After I realized we were missing that Eurotrain and the next one would cost far more than we wanted to spend, I became hopeless. I just knew our trip was ruined as this set our itinerary back. Like the great mother I’ve known her to be, my mom told me we wouldn’t let this ruin our trip and suggested we look at a bus ticket. Neither of us are “bus people” and we did not want to spend six hours traveling to London causing us to miss our dinner reservation, but we knew we had to in order to continue with the trip in the least affordable manner. 

While the bus ride was long and we missed dinner that night, the rest of the trip was amazing. Mom and I can tell the story of a phenomenal European tour in which we were able to bond together despite language barriers, heavy luggage and failed Ubers.

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