Britain 11 - Day 2
Today we were to take the Eurostar train to Paris, and then a local train back to Amiens. It was cheaper that way. It was a shorter trip to change at Lille, but that cost more, and we would have had a three hour wait. So Paris and the Gare du Nord it was.
Nothing auspicious about the date: it was Sunday 11 October - but you might need to check your history books.....
St Pancras to Paris on the Eurostar
After a quick walk back to Kings Cross (we knew where we were going now), we deposited most of our luggage at the Left Luggage counter and checked into the Eurostar. It is much the same as boarding an aircraft, the same queues of people with oversize luggage and the same bored French immigration people. He did not even look at the photo in my passport. After the usual wait, the boarding call was made and everybody rushed for the first door. I don't know why Eurostar bothers with all those delightful signs that explain which door to take to get to the correct carriage. So everybody (except us of course) had to walk up and down the platform trying to find their carriage. Some got onto the wrong carriage (of course) and blamed everybody else for the carriage having the wrong seat numbers. Makes you wonder how they get dressed in the morning. Maybe they need help with that too.....
Sometimes there is a form of natural justice..... as we will see shortly.
Found our seat, plenty of room for our SMALL bags and a good view from the window. Off through London and the southwest for our first stop at Ebsfleet International.
Ebsfleet. A lovely rural station. But after looking at the Help Point for over an hour it was getting a bit jaded. "Points Failure" they told us. Really?? On this high speed train??
Why were the next two Eurostar trains able to sail right through on the other track? And what are all those Police doing?? Remember the date - 11 September. Or 9/11 to some people. Oh Really?? Yes, REALLY!! Paranoia had set in.
"Can all passengers identify their baggage to our staff as they move through the train - please????".
"Is this your bag?". "Sure is!". "And what about this nice brown suitcase in the luggage area?". "Not mine. Or mine. Or mine". Time passes. "Would Mr Wong please come and claim his bag." No Mr Wong. "We will take it away and blow it up...". Still no Mr Wong. And there it stayed. All alone and forlorn on the platform as we finally headed off to Paris. Now remember that gentleman who got on the wrong carriage. He parked his bag wherever he liked and headed off to the next carriage. Pity. Mr Wong would now be sans his clothes in Paris. But maybe that's not a problem. He probably didn't know how to put them on anyway.
Paris and the Gare du Nord
We arrived late, thanks to Mr Wong, and the group of French youths "acting strangely". They too were left on the platform at Ebsfleet, but I doubt that they were blown up - they should have been. From the Eurostar we were precipitated into the chaos of the Gare du Nord. "Look for the big ticket machines and enter your booking number" the instructions went. Sure enough, a few minutes later we had our First Class tickets to Amiens, and some time for lunch. But not before the gypsy girls arrived. "Please sign our petition..." "Now pay €20." Yeah Right. Then suddenly a casually dressed man arrived, he uttered one word and thirty gyspy girls took flight - up the stairs, in and out of shops, anywhere to avoid him. Peace at last. But not for long. A few minutes later, one by one they crept back...."Please sign our petition..."
A pleasant trip to Amiens. The Holiday Inn Express Hotel was next to the station but our room was not ready - despite this being 3pm. So we were able to walk through part of the town and down to the river. A short shower of rain did not cause any problems.
Le Clerc Memorial
At the end of the park was an imposing statue and war memorial, to General Leclerc:
Amiens is renowned for its cathedral. We walked past it on the way to the canal, and later discovered that they produced a light show on the cathedral walls at night. So after dinner we stood in the crowd and waited for the show. Apparently, the church decided to give the cathedral and all its carved saints a cleanup a few years ago. In the process they discovered that what they thought was grime was in fact the remains of brilliant-coloured paints. So instead of repainting the stonework, they created the light show.
Last updated: 18/06/2017