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Old 04-28-2013, 06:41 PM
Wolfdog Wolfdog is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 773
Default The Butcher of Versailles

Here is my true "getting stuck" story for you Paula...and fellow travellers here.
It was sometime in the late 80's or early 90's...I really don't remember.
My husband and I were in Paris and I suggested that we catcha train to Versailles...which I had always wanted to visit (in this lifetime). We arrived at the train station there and caught a bus to Versailes. We traipsed all over the place "joining in" and out of little tours going on there that were in English. I highly reccomend this learning technique as you can blend in to another group if they aren't showing you what you want to see. Advance reading is a hot plan.

Anyway...after a number of hours seeing the magnificense of this place complete with the famous Hall of Mirrors and dizzying ceiling frescoes, I wanted to go outside to the gardens. Then, I had the idea that as long as we were there, that we should go see the Triannon. It was getting kind of late in the day and Mr. Conservative wasn't sure that this was such a good idea.
We hiked to the Triannon...a lovely jaunt as I recall...curvyy roads and a long side sidewalk of large caressing trees accompanied us. Aha...we excitedly reached this ancient love nest only to find that it had closed slightly before we arrived! And, then it began to sprinkle rain. He was upset. I was not. I just suggested that we go to a bus stop we had passed about a quarter of a mile back and make our way back to Versailles (the building). We waited...and waited. Some French people passed us in a car and told us that there were no more busses at this hour.

We walked and walked and it began to rain harder. A perplexing crossroads appeared before us that we didn't remember. My feet were killing me. (I had not dressed for hiking). I then announced that I was not walking any further. Few cars passed us in this winding wood.It began to rain harder.

Then, I suggested that we hitchhike. My husband was not amused. Then rounding a corner, an odd little white truck appeared and I ran into the street to flag it down. The driver had no option but to stop (much to my husband's chagrin). I asked the driver (in French) if he could take us to the train station. The passenger seat was occupied by his teenage son, who had a large dog in his lap. The Frenchman explained that there was no room for passengers .He explained that he was the butcher of Versailles. This little truck (for carrying meat) had no windows along the sides and was only slightly bigger than a box a new refrigerator might be in for delivery. The butcher showed us the interior of the back of his truck. All that was there were rows of large shelves used for hauling meat...but, there was no meat...and there were no windows. I begged the butcher to let us get in there and for him to take us to the station. He tried to explain to me that it had no windows and that it wasn't designed for passengers. I didn't care. With an exasperated "Mon Dieu", the butcher agreed to take us to the train station!
....We are now bumping around leaning over, but's on shelves (couldn't sit up straight in there). My husband is now registering high anxiety alert! (He doesn't speak French). He begins to outline worst case scenarios as we bump along enclosed in here in the dark..pitch dark. He is getting panicky. I try jokes. No dice. I try soothing words. Forget it. He starts all these scary what if scenarios again. And, how can I be sure this guy is really so benign? No amount of soothing soothed. Approximately forty-five minutes later the truck stops!
As the doors are opened, a group of cheering French people are whooping and clapping and smiling at us. Apparently, before he let us out, the butcher told his local friends about the crazy American tourists that were in his meat truck! The rain had slowed down. We laughed all the way back to Paris!
One is never really stuck dear Paula.
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