Olga and the Knight Bus

Ooh la la, what a journey. I was sort of hoping for magical experience similar to that of Harry Potter on the Knight Bus, and I was sorely disappointed.

After arriving in Barcelona yesterday afternoon, I killed time for a few hours in the Zoological Gardens then jumped on my 10 hour night bus to Lyon. I was hoping for a seat by myself and my wish was almost granted, until one person turned up at the last minute, all sweaty and panting, claiming that her plane was late and she had made a frantic dash from the airport to the bus. She squeezed in beside me, introduced herself as Olga from Russia (not even kidding) and went on to tell me all about her disaster in Morocco when her friend’s wallet got stolen by “the big thugs”. She smelt a bit weird and talked incessantly so after a while I got up and moved down the back to a spare row of seats.

Sleeping on a bus is super awkward, because there are little knobs everywhere that dig into your limbs so that just when you think you are comfortable something starts to niggle. I draped myself over two seats, which was a bit of a luxury, but I think maybe my bottom is too voluptuous because it overlapped when I curled into the foetal position and just sort of hung off the seat, threatening to topple off if I relaxed too much. Also, I don’t like to think about the fact that I had my face pretty much buried in the seat, for obvious reasons. I sort of slumbered for a few hours, fitfully, trying to ignore the Asian girl opposite me who kept tickling my feet with hers (I don’t THINK she meant to, but who knows really). I was woken at 5am by my dead arm.

The joy of travelling. I arrived in Lyon shortly after, desperately needing a toilet break. Apparently the toilets cost 50 cents and you have to wait until 6am, and it was only 5.15. I looked around desperately, then was forced to sit in the corner like a homeless person to try and charge my phone while I waited. Unfortunately the power plug did not function. So I got up again and waited in a line for a while, thinking it was a queue to buy tickets, until I got to the front of the queue and realised they were all boarding a train to Marseille. I entertained the idea of just going along with them, because surely there would be a toilet on board…

So I exited the queue in true Rosie fashion, ducking under the barrier and getting my backpack caught so that the barrier pinged back and almost hit the person behind me in the face.

By this point I was truly dying for a wee, but the toilets were still not open, so I went to the information office and inquired as to how I would go about finding the right train. I was informed that in fact I was in the wrong station and I needed to take a tram to the OTHER Lyon train station. So I did that. Twenty minutes later, I am basically weeing my pants, trying to get into the toilet at the other station, where you have to pay 50 cents but they only accept certain coins, and I have the incorrect change. I almost wept with the urgency and unfairness of my situation, so I decided the only thing to do would be to go and buy a coffee to get some change.

I returned 15 minutes later, coffee in hand, and realised I still had the incorrect change, so I charmed the toilet boy to let me in for free. It’s tremendously awkward trying to squeeze oneself, a large backpack and a hot coffee into one small toilet. I thought it best to avoid examining myself in the mirror, because I knew it wouldn’t be too pretty.

After a number of trains and buses, My hosts called to say they will pick me up from Vichy, which saved me several hours of train time.There was an elderly man hoiking at the other end of the train, two men who looked like pirates sharing cake out of a box, and a RATHER handsome French man who had dreads in his hair and was wearing a chunky jumper therefore I love him.

I have arrived safe and sound at Brenazet, and had to excuse myself this afternoon for a rather long nap, now I feel spacey! I am surrounded by lovely multilingual Dutch/ French/ English speakers and I am sleeping in a delightful little wooden house. Now we are off to the lake! There are also tiny ponies roaming about behind the house, weeing and frolicking…

A new adventure.


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