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Hendaye-Paris, France-Europe Day 16-June 12

I woke today still on the train. I met some girls studying abroad in Spain and when they got off the train around 2am I took their group of 4 seats and stretched out for some better sleep. Night trains are an exhausting experience as I have a hard time falling asleep on trains, but for the money saved, night trains are a necessary exhaustion. Our train arrived in Haday at around 7am and at this point, I had to transfer to a different train to Paris. When I booked the first half of this trip, the woman at the Barcelona train station led me to believe it was incredibly easy to transfer and that there would be plenty of seats. When I arrived in Haday, this was not the case. All of the seats reserved for Eurail passes were booked for the next several days. My two choices were clear, miss Kiana and Andrew in Paris and stay in Haday, home to nothing, or pay 90 euro for a ticket to Paris. Ninety euros later I was on a train bound for Paris. The trains to Paris was so much nicer than the trains in Portugal and Spain. The seats were more comfortable, everything seemed newer. It was great. As the train made its way into Paris, at every stop, people kept piling on until the train was completely full and brimming with life, a microcosm of activity representing every aspect of life and bound for Paris. When the train arrived in Paris, I found myself in the largest train station I have ever been in, and only one of many in the city. Arriving in Paris, I had a hostel waiting for me and it was only a matter of finding free wifi at a McDonald’s and catching a train to the nearest stop. Walking into the Peace and Love Hostel was quite an experience. The only room in the whole hostel that isn’t a dorm is the bar downstairs. No laundry, no lobby, no internet cafe, just a bar and dorms, oh and its next to an ambulance dispatch center so sirens go off around the clock. My stay here was going to build character. I checked in with the bartender and found the door that led to my room. There were 14 of us in the room, 4 triple bunk beds and a double representing many nationalities and stations in life. I felt like a third class passenger aboard the Titanic, hoping the city of lights wouldn’t crash into a metaphoric iceberg while I was there. I chatted a bit with an Australian and two civil engineering students from South Carolina before heading out to meet Tara, Jordan, Megan, and their Couchsurfing host, lolita. We got drinks near Hotel De Ville and I talked with lolita and her friend, Alex.

They were both great hosts and had taken the girls all over Paris showing them the sights and teaching them to hop the turnstiles in the metro. After drinks, we took the train towards lolita’s apartment and my hostel. I said goodbye to them on the way to the hostel as they stayed on to go to lolita’s apartment. I met up with the South Carolinians and the Aussie and we made plans to join the girls for a pub crawl in Pigalle, Paris’s redlight district. I got on Facebook and invited Kiana and Andrew as well. At 9pm we all met up at the first pub and Kiana and I were reunited once again. Our motley crew went from one club to the next talking with everyone from Korean businessmen to drunken Parisians. I left for my hostel around 2 but not before making plans with Kiana and Andrew to meet at their hostel, my next hostel, the next day at 10:30. Tara, Megan, and Jordan stayed out later as this was their last night in Paris, and second to last stop in Europe.