October 9, 2022
Aix-en-Provence, France and London, England
All good things must come to an end. It is time to say Au Revoir to Aix-en-Provence. We are sad, but we will return. Josée had recommended a restaurant on the Cours Mirabeau, Le Singe Vert, or the green monkey. With a few hours left, we thought we would try it for tea. Look at the tea service!
Josée had offered to drive us to the train station. But it was complicated. When I made the TGV reservations weeks before, I thought we would take a train from the local station here in Aix, to the big station in Marseille and depart from there. I was not thinking about the TGV station just outside of Aix-en-Provence because you have to drive there. Of course, Josée offered to drive us to the TGV station in Aix or even the Marseille station. Josée is the best. When we arrived last week at the TGV station in Aix, I asked one of the conductors if we could board the TGV at the Aix TGV station with our reservations starting in Marseille. They said we could. But to be sure, I called the SNCF, the French train company to see if we could get on the train at the TGV station in Aix. I was advised not to. We decided to stick to the original plan. So, Josée joined us at Le Singe Vert and would walk us to the local train station afterwards.
Josée suggested I take a look around the interior of the restaurant. The bathroom was stunning!
It has a chandelier.
The restaurant was gigantic with many rooms. I loved the floor.
I peeked in the back, through the door to the patio garden. I loved the planter with the cigarette butts. So French.
Josée left us at the local train station in Aix. At noon, we boarded the train for Marseille. I gasped when I saw Le Gare de Marseille Saint Charles! I spent many hours there waiting for trains. Once I was waiting for a train looking at the poster with train schedules. This was in the 90s when all the train schedules were posted on boards, not available on phones or large screens. While I was looking at the board someone was walking away with my heavy Samsonite suitcase. I turned around in time, called the police and the thief was stopped. I was asked to come to the station to fill out a report. I had plenty of time until my train so I agreed. It was all part of the adventure. I was grateful not to lose my luggage. It taught me a lesson and I have been mindful ever since.
Waiting in the station we got to do some people watching before leaving France for London. We boarded the train at about 2pm and got our seats. I was ready for a snack. I took out some crusty bread and the Faux Gras we purchased at La Vie Claire. It’s a health food store that has been in Aix-en-Provence a long time. I used to shop there in the 90s for my vegan products.
The scenery along the way from Aix to Paris is beautiful.
I was surprised to see that the cows everywhere are all white.
I had planned and figured out all the trains we were to take on this trip in advance. I was a bit nervous about the transfer from the TGV that arrived at the Paris Gare de Lyon to the Eurostar station at the Paris Gare de Nord. When we had arrived at the Paris Gare de Lyon over a week ago I made sure we knew where to go ahead of time. Today, everything was a breeze. We got off the TGV train. We went downstairs to the RER trains and bought our 1,90 euro tickets for the D train to the Paris Gare de Nord. When the train arrived we got on. There was a problem with the door opening in the car we were in and we panicked slightly wondering if it would open at our station. Sigh. It did. We arrived at the Paris Gare de Nord with no hiccups and headed to the Eurostar departure area.
Who is that masked man?
It can’t always go smoothly. There was something going on and some seats were changed. I was no longer sitting next to Gary. Oh no! We made sure we were at the head of the line to board so we could survey the seating when we got into our car.
I took my seat and Gary took his at the other end of the same car. We waited. It was almost time to depart and I took the seat that was open across from Gary. It was just magically waiting there for me. Later one of the attendants seemed annoyed I was there, because she wanted to seat someone else there but she didn’t say anything.
Our vegan dinners arrived without a hitch, quinoa with peas, a curried cauliflower salad, carrot ribbons, and pineapple.
Later we had some hot tea.
The weary traveler.
It was about 8:30pm when we arrived at London St Pancras International station. The queue for taxis was long. Finally we got a cab to our hotel.
After we checked in and marveled at our adorable room, I thought we might catch a late night bite and searched online for something nearby that was opened. It looked like there were some Chinese restaurants nearby that would be open. We found our way over there. It was lively with people walking around but the restaurants were closing up. We knew that the hotel restaurant was still open so we walked back. There was a couple seated at one table. We sat down. There was organic Cider on the menu. I could not resist ordering it.
Yes, it was vegan-friendly.
Gary had a pint.
The next part was tricky. The menu boasted a vegan Kale salad. I wanted it. After ordering, the server came back and said they were out of kale but the chef would make me another salad. I agreed. We waited what seemed like an eternity. I was almost regretting coming here. Then my salad arrived. It was AMAZING, so fresh and creative, topped with VEGAN PARMESAN. Am I dreaming?
There was a vegan burger with fries on the menu. Guess who got that?
October 9, 2022