Sunday 22nd August 2010.
Sub-Title: The Gendarmes have the bus.
Yesterday morning while we were enjoying our McCafe breakfast it started to rain. I had planned to do the “funny looking open-topped single decker red bus” tour of Reims. You have to, don’t you? But maybe not on a wet day? As I’d remembered to pack a raincoat and the rain was easing I decided to chance it. So, while Denis went back to the hotel to work I headed to the Cathedral where the bus would be. But it wasn’t. I was a little late and had been hoping they didn’t adhere too closely to the timetable. Anyway, I went into the tourist office to buy a ticket for the next bus.
Again, using my version of French I asked for a ticket for the bus. I’m not entirely sure but I think she said ” ..we don’t know when the tour will begin, the Gendarme have the bus”. I couldn’t believe my luck, who would think a bus tour could be so interesting? Then she asked me for something and since I didn’t have a clue what it might be, I gave up my charade of being a French speaker. So we reverted to English which she spoke beautifully. She had been asking for some photo identification so that she could give me an audio guide. It turned out she was Spanish and my drivers licence looked exactly the same as the Spanish version. Anyway, off she went to photocopy it. While she was there her colleague started talking to her in rapid French. Almost hypnotic to me and completely incomprehensible.
My new Spanish friend returned looking very apologetic, “em, there seems to be a problem with the audio guides, also, it may not function”. I assured her that it was not a problem, after all if the bus didn’t come, I wouldn’t need it. She gave me a booklet in English and I went outside to sit on the wall and wait. The Cathedral was beautiful so I took some pictures.
(There’s a little angel on top of the cathedral)
And within minutes the bus arrived, and also thunder and lightening – I’m not making this up. Earlier I had wondered if there was a cover that went over the bus when it rained – there wasn’t. When the little group of people waiting got on the bus, the very friendly driver moved down the aisle handing out see-through umbrellas! I only wish I could have taken a picture of the bus speeding down the Rue de Mars with all of us passengers hanging onto our umbrellas. You’ll just have to imagine it…..
(A bit of the funny looking open topped red bus from inside (driver’s section covered))