I’m awake bright and early this morning to pack my suitcase and get my shit sorted because we are heading to Lyon! We’ve got to take a train from Leighton Buzzard to London, then a cab from Euston Station to St Pancras, then the Eurostar from there to Lille in France then change to the TGV to Lyon… so we are setting off from ‘the Buzz’ (I’m almost local now so I get to call it that 😉 ) at 0900 and fingers crossed – we should arrive in Lyon at 1900.
Right… let’s skin this cat!
I’m back. Strangely we will have a bit of time today sitting around on trains and naturally glued to our phones. Got to the train station, and this is totally not connected to anything at all, but there is a cool sprung section of pavement at the Buzz that generates electricity when you walk on it… it’s beta test of some sort to see whether or not larger areas of spung walkways could generate power. Very cool, I wonder if it’ll become a thing.
However, I digress. The first segment of our transit went ok… train from the Buzz to London was fine. Met a nice cabbie this time who didn’t make a song and dance or try to rip us off over a short fare from Euston to St Pancras and so for his trouble I gave him £12 for the £8 fare… Take note, Sydney cabbies – it pays not to be a prick!
Once at St Pancras we found we had to wait around until the passengers from previous Eurostar trains had been cleared away before we could be checked though. There was scant little seating but we managed to find somewhere to wait about half hour. The rope lines they have set up are worse than bloody Disneyland and everyone not happy about being directed around like cattle. Anyway, eventually we went in, got scanned out of the UK, went though security and then in through French customs. Was reasonably painless but then we were herded into a large departure lounge with about half as much seating as was required. People were sitting around all over the floor or perched on luggage or coffee tables. But silly really. We managed to snavel a pair of seats and then time completely stopped! It seemed to take forever for our 12:40 boarding time to roll around. No idea why… it’s a mystery.
Eventually our train was boarding and we settled ourselves onto the Eurostar premier economy seats that Stephola had chosen. Very comfy all round… chairs were good, tables were a useful size and the meal that came with our ticket was quite nice with a wee bottle of rosé to go with it.
The train is incredibly fast and amazingly quiet. Everyone was also abiding by the unwritten rules of being quiet in snooty class travel, which I have to say – I’m really getting used to. I don’t know why economy seats on planes and trains are always so noisy – people playing games and phones not on silent, people just talking too loud… it’s maddening but there’s always a sort of hushed serene atmosphere that comes with more pricey seats. Dammit.
Going through the Chunnel was cool and I honestly had no idea who quick it would be. One minute it’s gone black – the actual tunnel is about 50km long and you’re through it in about 30mins. Before you know it, you’re hurtling through the French countryside which looked beautiful as we passed fields and quaint little villages.
We arrived in Lille to change trains to the TGV much sooner than I expected (possibly because my phone hadn’t automatically changed time zones for me) and then it was a short amount of confusion regarding bathrooms (that were miles away) and platforms (which was the one we had just come up from!) before we were settled on the next train to Lyon.
Another couple of hours in a comfy carriage and next thing we knew we were pulling into Lyon. The Lyon Gare de Part Dieu is being renovated atm so it was a bit of a clusterfuck looking for a bathroom – and ffs France, really? €1 to use the loo? Don’t you know that’s really expensive for Antipodeans?! We’ve just paid a small fortune to take a train is it too much to ask that you maintain comfort stops for passengers? Harumph.
Found our way out to the taxi ranks and met another lovely cabbie (man, I hope that Sydney arsehole got sacked!) who drove us to our hotel… where, oddly enough, every other guest is walking around in black with metal bands on their shirts. Yep. We’re in the right place.
Threw our stuff into our room and went down for a late dinner in the hotel’s restaurant. Discovered my French is way too rusty when we ended up with mineral water we didn’t want and two serves of fries we also didn’t want. Never mind we had a nice meal and took a spare bottle of wine to take up to the room.
Slept like a dead thing. Tomorrow – chill out day and then Rammstein!
Very excited. 🙂