Saturday 27 December 2014

On an adventure

I blog from the plush blue comfort of my SNCF couchette, on the sleeper train from Paris Austerlitz to ... Er, well, I get off at the last stop (I think it has Germain in it) and change to Chamonix.

I will be honest - the journey did not begin well. I am so fatigued from work still that I didn't really want to leave the house, even. Then trains into Paddington were delayed and cancelled thanks to overrunning engineering works, so I left in a hurry, an hour early; squeezed onto a diverted train from Penzance and stood, squashed and moody, all the way to Reading, where the crowds blessedly thinned.

After that, it improved. How pretty St Pancras is with its Christmas lights and its brick arches! How easy the Eurostar is - London-Paris took slightly less time than Bristol-London today, embarrassingly. Then, the bit I had worried about most: the transfer from Paris Nord to Paris Austerlitz, which I hadn't noticed until Tutt pointed it out on Christmas Eve. I had 69 minutes. Some websites said 2 hours were necessary but I made it from carriage to carriage in 34 minutes, including buying a Metro ticket and picking up my ongoing tickets from Austerlitz. Then it took 30 minutes of queuing to get on the train, but, meh. It was hardly going to leave without me.

And here I lie, in the cramped quarters of couchette 34, with two Welsh girls above and three French folks in the other bunks. There's a pillow, a quilt and a bottle of water. Unfortunately there's also less than a handspan between my propped-up head and the bunk above, but oh well. Who needs to swing a cat, anyway? And there's definitely no room to mark that coursework I brought with me, hurrah. It's a very exciting adventure, eating my turkey sandwich propped up on one elbow and watching the lights of France slide past the window.

Quite glad I came, now.

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