Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Tube, The Train, The Metro

After a such a wonderful time in London I had no desire to leave. But, alas, it had to be done. I woke and packed my bag, made difficult by the fact that my bed was so close to the ceiling that I could not stand it up to put things in, and also the fact there were so many people sleeping still.

I managed to do it, and after leaving my room for the final time went to the luggage storage room. Paying my 2 pounds I headed out to Tesco for breakfast.

When I got back I really didn't feel like going anywhere at all. I just sat in the common room for a while watching the music video channel that was on the television. Eventually I went and got my computer and started writing my blog, but eventually gave up and started talking to a guy from eastern England.

At about one I decided I should probably start heading off as I had a long ways to go. I went down to the tube for the last time, heading for the first time to St Pancras Station.

I purchased a ticket for the 14:02 train to Paris, and after going through the security and border control sat for a short wait in the lounge.

Soon, the train was opened for boarding. It is soo huge. it seemed to stretch out of view in both directions when I got up to the platform. They are marvels of engineering. I walked to the back end of the train, snapped a picture, then went into coach 4 where my seat was.

I was sitting beside a french woman, and neither of us spoke the others language at all so we didn't really talk at all. The train left right on time, pulling out of the station perfectly at the strike of 14:02.

It was such a neat experience. I am used to the train on Vancouver Island which does not even begin to compare in any way to the amazingness of the trains here. There is no feeling of the rails, it just feels like floating across the ground.

We soon descended into the first tunnel that took us most of the way out of London. Through the countryside and industrial areas we went, zooming by at hundreds of kilometers an hour. Really really fast!

We had a short stop just before the Chunnel, and soon we were hurtling along it. It was really not all that exiting, it was just a dark tunnel that went on for a long time. there was no sense of what had just been accomplished when we emerged into France.

The sun had set by then, and the clouds made it very dark. I read until arrival at Gare de Nord.

That was my first real experience with a busy train station, and it was quite amazing. So amazing that I forgot to take any photos at all.

I followed the signs to the metro, and after buying my ticket, headed off to the platform I wanted.

I had to make a change to get to the hostel, and that was accomplished without any problems. I got off the metro at the stop nearest the hostel, and after a careful check that I was headed in the right direction I set off on the ten minute walk.

I found it with no problem, and headed in. I got my room and headed upstairs.

It was a 3 bed room, and one of the beds was empty, just myself and another man staying in it.

After a quick meal of an omelette and fries, I tried to connect to the internet to no avail. Deciding to give up I went upstairs and read for a bit before falling asleep.

It was a long day, and I was sad to say goodbye to London, but also exited for the new wonders just a sleep away.

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