Lack of tickets causes frustrations during trip

Jessica MacIntosh

Jessica MacIntosh

Jessica MacIntosh

While traveling can be fun, it can also have its downsides.

Let’s take my first trip to London. The Université d’Orléans gives the students a week off in October, so a friend from Tennessee, and I decided to go to London for three days during the break.

We took the train from Orléans to Paris; then we took the confusing RER train to another train station to catch the Eurostar, the bullet train that travels under the English Channel.

Point No. 1 in traveling is plan ahead.

My mother had already made the hostel reservations in London, but we did not have our train tickets. When we arrived at Gare du Nord, there were barely any train tickets left for the rest of the day. There were actually two tickets left, and it was going to cost 272 euros round-trip for one person.

My friend and I had cards called Carte 12-25 that allow us to travel at a discount. Normally, it would be 66 euros round trip from Paris to London, but not during the vacation time. Plus, Eurostar only reserves so many tickets under the Carte 12-25. That was nice to know when I bought the card for 49 euros.

I had to call my mother and let her know the problem. It was 3 a.m. in the morning in the states when I called. Boy, was she mad. She ended up not going to work that day because I kept her up late. Sorry, Mom.

After the three of us discussed what we were going to do, my mother called the hostel back, and we decided I was going to pay for the two 272-euro tickets. But, when we asked for the tickets, they were gone.

Finally, after being so mad about everything and trying to speak French, we looked to see if there were any for the next day. Two tickets for 8:13 a.m. at 135 euros each round-trip.

I called my mother for the hundredth time, and we changed our reservation.

The next day was not as bad as traveling all the way to Paris to find out there were no train tickets. We missed the first tram out of Orléans to get to the train station. We ended up picking up the train at another train station, Les Aubrais OrlÈans, and we arrived with 20 minutes to spare at Gare du Nord.

What was so funny was the immigration booth at the train station.

The lady asked me in a British accent, “How long will you be in London?” Of course she looked at my visa and asked me the obvious question of why I was in France in the first place. Who knows why?

It was the same way coming back from London, too. We arrived 15 minutes before our train left. My friend had trouble scanning her ticket, and then she set off the metal detectors.

I had fun on my trip to England; I hope to do it again sometime in the future and pray I do not have the problems I had traveling the first time.