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Sunday, 21 August 2011

The first instalment - London to Paris

The facade at Kings Cross St Pancras
Well, I'm actually already in Venice, but I want to take this bit by bit and also want to go outside and enjoy myself! So I will write about Venice shortly.

Now then, the London St Pancras - Paris Gard du Nord:

VERY straightforward, except the bloody London Underground from Paddington Station to Kings Cross St Pancras. London Underground had, in their wisdom, decided to close most of the underground lines running out of Paddington that day, so consequently a 7 min journey took me about half an hour and a change. Still, never mind - I am on an exciting journey, I will not be sad.

Seat 25 - Eurostar
We board on time; I get to my seat...Seat 25 all to myself! I am a happy girl. I settle back, watching the grey English countryside roll away and await my promised '3 course meal.'

Yes, the meal comes, but think airplane style 3 course meal instead. Not that it wasn't nice (mackerel pate, potato salad was ok, but the pasta was really bland, sorry).

Incidentally, the 'bit' under the tunnel/sea takes 20 mins if anyone's interested. And I would recommend taking earplugs because, unlike an airplane, the pressure goes up and down, not regularly either.

I get to Gard du Nord - it's about 30 degrees in Paris and humid :0)

I have to make my way across to Bercy - this entails 2 metro changes, and the Paris metro seems even more complicated than the London Underground. Never mind, I'm not stupid and can do it (and do, in fact, do it) - but it's hot, and Parisians it seems do not use much deodorant (sorry, but they don't. Even in Athens people smell nicer in the heat). So I am GAGGING by the time I surface.

"Ahhh Bercy!" I think, "Fresh air in an over ground station." Yeah right…as anyone been to Bercy? It's tiny! I got chatting to some French bloke who informed me that usually the long distance trains go from Gard du Lyon, but they're doing extensive works to it.

So I find myself a quiet platform to plonk down on, away from the ever present smell of B.O. and I wait patiently for my train to Venice...all will be revealed in the next post!

I have to round off: having read this back to myself, it is looking terribly negative thus far.  It really hasn’t been a negative trip at all: the stewards on Eurostar were really friendly and chatty, helping you to store your luggage on the train.  And when I asked how to get to Bercy, the one who helped me produced a map of the Paris Metro and helped me decipher it.  In fact, one guy in the Metro helped me to pull my case onto it before the doors closed too – so there you have it, although slightly wiffy, let him off at least.

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