Monday, April 28, 2008

The Only Way to Travel

I love Paris, but getting out of the city is great too. When deciding how to get here to my present location in a seaside town near Toulon we thought of the car or a plane but settled on the TGV. The TGV, or Train Grand Vitesse (High Speed Train) is, I'm convinced, one of the best ways to travel in France. In fact, it might be one of the best ways to travel, period. While enjoying the 4-hour ride to the coast, I couldn't help but think of all the ways in which the TGV was superior to airtravel in particular.

For starters, you don't have to pass through a tiresome and dignity-stripping checkpoint to board the train. You simply walk into the station, find your platform, and get on. No removing of the shoes, no liquids in tiny little bottles, and no invasive body pat downs. You don't even have to get to the station early and wait like you do with a plane. We arrived a mere 10 minutes before departure. Once in the train, you will find considerably more leg room than the average economy class flight can offer. The seats are wider too, and if you feel the need to move around a bit you can go to the bar area to stretch your legs and enjoy a snack. What's more, the train was scheduled to arrive in Toulon at 12:19 p.m, and at exactly 12:19 p.m., that's what it did. When was the last time your flight arrived on time?

Not only is traveling by TGV immeasurably more comfortable and convenient than traveling by plane, it's also a lot more fun. Without all the hassles and indignities you suffer at the airport and in the plane, you are free to sit back and enjoy the ride. Cruising along at 320 kilometers per hour (approximately 200 miles per hour) while on the ground is a bit of at thrill as well. Staring out the window as you pass through the gorgeous French countryside you realize that, with the right mode of transportation, getting there truly is half the fun.

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