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Blog: (Nearly) April In Paris
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Part of this brilliance was because it was SO INCREDIBLY EASY - we got to St Pancras, stocked up on GRUB (i have Past Experience of France and Veggie-NESS!), checked in and... er... that was it! It took about TEN MINUTES!!
We ZOOMED away from The Best Train Station In The World on a train which seemed to be PACKED with Americans, including The Most American Man EVER. He was about 900 years old, had sunglasses, a checked jacket, a bright orange shirt and a bootlace tie, and a MASSIVE New York Accent. MAME talking to small child: "Hey Dere big feller!" If he had then said "WHY I OUGHTA!?!?!" and "EXCELSIOR!" i would not have been surprised, he was BRILLIANT.
We got to Gare de Nord to find it NOT HALF as good as St Pancras - on the way back it actually turned out to be totally RUBBISH in comparison, and I felt suddenly PROUD. It's not very often (hardly ever, in fact) that the BRITISH version of something is half as clean/efficient/nice/impressive as The Continental Version, ESPECIALLY when it comes to travel, but St Pancras completely RULES. Also, ROOLZ. It's no wonder everyone bangs on about it so much, it is GRATE.
Anyway, we strolled off the train and were straight onto the Metro - funnily enough, the OTHER thing that is better in the UK. The Metro is MUCH cheaper and the tickets are MUCH easiet than the London Underground, but BLOODY HECK it isn't HALF difficult to understand. We went through entrance 3 to platform C to get the B train number 2, and had to NOT use platform 3 to get the C train from platform B via entrance 2, as that would have been WRONG. AND you have to know exactly where the train ends up - something which they DO NOT show on the smaller maps. At least they now have a London Underground ESQUE vaguely comprehensible MAP these days, but goodness me, it is DIFFICULT.
Handily i had RESEARCHED the trip on WIKI so it was all PEASY and, less than four hours after leaving our house, we were in our hotel!! It was BONKERS! Being extremely English (and becoming more so as i GRACEFULLY MATURE) I was already HANKERING for a Nice Cup Of Tea, but alas this need was not to be sated. BRAVELY (also i had a COLD which had just come on, but i don't like to mention it) we set out to look at Notre Dame and saw an Open Topped Bus Tour go by. We have a mighty SHARED LOVE of The Open Top Bus Tour so HOPPED ON and spent a happy hour or so looking at PARIS. PAris is LOVELY - you may have heard other people mention this.
We hopped OFF at The Eiffel Tower, which is BRILLO, had a look around, and then got the (EXTREMELY CONFUSING) tube home. Next day we STROLLED across town back to The Eiffel Tower, filmed a bit for the vidoe of Do The Indie Kid and decided NOT to spend 2 hours queueing for the lift to the top. Instead we hopped BACK on the bus and saw some more SIGHTS before ALIGHTING back at Notre Dame for some BEER and some CHIPS. CLASSY!
I know I haven't mentioned it much but i was actually QUITE POORLY, so we headed home for a KIP (KNACKERED) before flying out AGANE in the evening to look at Sacre Couer. It's a funny old place - it looks like someone has got a Cathedral and SQUISHED it to fit into a suitcase - but it DOES have GRATE views, and we also got to add a FUNICULAIR RAILWAY to our collection of same. HOOPLA!
Next day we had a lie-in, packed our bags, and trundled off to enjoy a lunchtime chat with my pal from school Phillipa, who i had not seen for about EIGHTEEN YEARS. I think that's the longest i've gone between MEETINGS of people, and it felt ODD to sit and chat and then think "AK! nearly 20 years of LIFE has passed since last we spoke! EEK!" We're having a school reunion in a couple of weeks, i think i will have to get USED to this experience pretty swift-ish!
Stopping off only for FALAFEL we then headed back to Gare De Nord (see above: not a PATCH on St Pancras) and before you knew it were back in Blighty. ANOTHER thing that is GRATE about coming home via St Pancras is that it's NOT Waterloo, or Victoria, or Paddington, or any of the other, frankly, A BIT STINKY stations that you have to come into if you're FLYING into London. It must be a bit disappointing if you are a TOURIST coming to The UK to have your first experience of Swinging London being a rattling tube train into some smelly underground station, but arriving at St Pancras, it filled me with PATRIOTIC PRIDE.
I really like it, can you tell? And thus, with a few hours of munching falafel by the Seine, we were home and having that NICE CUP OF TEA I had so hankered for. The International Rail Travel, it is BLOODY GRATE!
posted 31/3/2008 by MJ Hibbett
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