Wednesday 28th July 1999
The greatest mileage in one day and the most relaxed! The only difficulty was getting new tickets at Waterloo and that was really my own fault.
The trip was a great success. Its success has become more apparent with the passing of the years. We still talk about it and Alasdair has been inspired to arrange similar trips for himself. He has recently completed the West Highland Way and is doing his Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award.
Would I do it again? Of course!
Up at the usual time, had breakfast, bought some fruit and pain at a local shop, then went over to the station, where we got a couple of sandwiches. Then we got onto our train and it left on time at 10:19. It was not very crowded and the people were friendly, one women even shared some rather nice chocolate. We got into Gare de Lyon on time at 13:56. Then an impressively quick trip to the Gare de Nord via RER line D. This gave us ample time to collect our thoughts at the Eurostar terminal till we left on time at 15:19. We got to Waterloo after an uncrowded journey – a very pleasant way to travel.
The pleasures of modern rail travel! Air conditioned luxury. Looking out of the window as pleasant countryside rushes past. Saw a contraflow on the motorway north of Paris with a line of cars stationary in the fast lane trapped between the central barrier and traffic going in the opposite direction. At the head of the queue was a car with its bonnet up. Glad I was on the Train!
Then the pleasures of British travel. Waterloo was in the middle of the rush hour. Our ticket was for a specific train on Thursday! So I had to buy new tickets to Bristol (£45), and then experience the homeward commuter rush to Reading. At Reading we then waited for the Bristol train, taking the opportunity to phone home and tell C when we would get in to Temple Meads.
Well it could have been worse. The trains did run and they got to where they said they would at about the right time. But it was a pity they were dirty, crowded, noisy, expensive. One was always waiting for something to go wrong. A contrast with France.
We got to Bristol just a little late and were very pleased to find C waiting for us. And we had a tale to tell.
But it was good to be home.