Well, it finally happened.
A strike — the current French rail one — has finally managed to disrupt my carefully laid travel plans.
My family and I are scheduled to take the TGV Lyria from Paris to Geneva on the 29th but that is looking like a no-go at the moment.
I want to grumble about how (1) I bought this ticket way back last December, and (2) I planned on buying it even way before that, and (3) it took months to come up with an itinerary that we would all love and would get the most value-for-money out of, and (4) I worked so hard so that my family could enjoy this kind of trip together at least once in our lives and don’t deserve to have it derailed.
But grumbling is not gonna change anything.
C’est la vie.
Besides I do have sympathy, to an extent, for strikers. My father used to work for an airline and has participated in a strike or two during the course of his career. In disputes like this, I believe there’s always a way to meet somewhere in the middle, but unfortunately, sometimes, to get the other side to make concessions, you have to — like with a lever — either apply greater force or move farther from the fulcrum. And so stuff like strikes happen.
Also, it’s not like my own country hasn’t just shut down an entire party island. I think most people support the move and feel that it has to be done — has in fact been a long time coming — but I’m sure there are a lot of travellers out there who have had to change plans and thus incurred additional costs at the last minute.
We seem to have three options.
- We could play optimist. Some trains have been allowed to run even on strike days and there’s even a bit of a chance that the strike could be called off between now and the 29th. Having been lucky enough to never have been affected by a French strike before, I don’t know how likely that is. But, heck, even Macron himself probably doesn’t know how likely that is. We will probably know for sure if our train is running only on the 28th, when the list of cancellations are released by SNCF. If it doesn’t run, how likely are we to get seats on the next available train? That has to be considered because there’s optimism and there’s burying your head in the sand.
- Some trains to Zurich have been declared to definitely be running on the 29th. We could, conceivably, have our tickets exchanged, with Zurich as our new destination, and we can then catch a train from Zurich to Geneva, still on the 29th. The journey will basically just take longer but we will still be where we planned to be at the end of the day. The thing is, I’m not sure if we’d have to pay extra to have the destination changed to Zurich — and I’m sure we’ll have to shell out extra for the Zurich-Geneva tickets, which aren’t cheap. Especially considering we got our Paris-Geneva tickets for just 29 EUR each. So: not ideal.
- We could also just extend our stay in Paris to the 30th — we could have our tickets exchanged and our hostel even still has room! We would have to cut short our already short Geneva stopover by 1 night, so it’s definitely still not ideal but seems the most lemonade-y of all possible lemons.
I’ve written Trainline and I’m waiting to hear back from them. Hopefully, we can get this sorted out before we leave so we don’t have to deal with this uncertainty in addition to all the usual stresses of travel.
(And by the way, I love you all but please don’t anyone tell me travel is better this way, anyway — when you just let yourself go with the flow, be open to anything that comes your way, et cetera, et cetera. Yes, we’d all love to be able to switch plans at the drop of a hat but spontaneity is the privilege of those who can afford it. The cost of a single Zurich-Geneva ticket is an entire month’s salary for some people in my country.)
Will we be able to make lemonade from the strike lemons?
Please help me hope so.
The trip will go on either way and we are determined to make the best of it, strikes and other stresses notwithstanding.
One week to go!