Well, not really but we did take the Eurostar through the chunnel to London. Our train departed from Gare du Nord which is about a fifteen minute walk (on two good legs) from our hotel, but we decided not to leave anything to chance and took the metro there instead. The station is enormous, but very easy to find your way. We passed through UK customs before we got on the train which meant we’d be straight off and on our way once we stopped in London town. The guy that took our customs declaration and checked our passports thought we were nuts only going for one day but as we’d been to London before and exactly a week before the unmentionable thing happened in July 2005, he seemed pleased that we were willing to return.
When I sat back down from taking the pictures of the train using my old Nikon camera (battery low in my good DSLR), a young girl offered me the use of her Canon zoom lens if I’d like to use it. I told her the battery was low and she rooted through her bags to find her charger, cables and plugs. I could use it on the train and return it to her on the platform when we arrived in London.
We chatted with her until it was time to board and agreed to meet at the barrier in London where I could return her charger.
Unfortunately, the carriage we were in on the train didn’t have anywhere to plug in the charger. Well, in the filthy bathroom but who wanted to leave it unattended? I know I didn’t.
Going through the chunnel took about 20 minutes. It really wasn’t any different than some of the dark metro tunnels between stops – just longer. My ears popped like on a plane when it lands but they did that, too, when we went under really wide motorway flyovers.
When the train stopped in London, we waited for the young girl at the moving sidewalk to the lower level and eventually she arrived (she was in a carriage near the rear of the train and we were near the front). She seemed surprised that there was no place to charge my camera battery.
Our first stop was Madame Tussaud’s. But once again, the lineup was unbelievable. We overheard the guard at the door say it was at least a two-hour wait before the people at the head of the line would get to walk down the red carpet. The window where online bookings people could go had no one. I was going to book online in advance but we weren’t sure if we would go or not so decided against it. Guess we should have.
My good DSLR wouldn’t turn on so I ended up taking some of our London pictures with my trusty old Nikon.
We stopped in at the Green Man pub for a bite of lunch and a pint. Fish and chips. When our meals came, the piece of fish was huge! The plates were oval in shape and the fish stretched from one side of the plate to the other. And man was it good!
While we waited for our meal to arrive, I made my way downstairs to the loo. Before we left, I was making one more trek there and the girl who cleared our table asked if I’d like to use the handicapped one instead. It was on the main level of the pub and since stairs and I still aren’t the best of friends, I agreed.
We had time when we got back to the station before we had to check in, so went for a wander through the station and stopped at Searcy’s Champagne Bar on the upper level. It might not have been champagne blanc dans coupe lumineuse a la sommet de la Tour Eiffel, but it was just as good – maybe even better. We weren’t rushed or jostled by other people. We sat on a sofa with our back to the railway tracks and relaxed to the point where we had a second glass of champagne each!
When we finally boarded the Eurostar to come back home, we had a good giggle. Right at our seat was a charging point. This one had the UK outlet and the one across the aisle has the European one.
The first thing I did when we got back to the hotel was dig out the charger for my battery and get it on to charge.
This wasn’t one of our longer days, steps-wise but distance-wise it was the longest. 453 kms from Paris to London and 16,332 steps.