It is perhaps fitting that tonights final honeymoon blog post comes to you from the comfort of a train. We’re back in England and headed for Norwich to meet Catherine’s parents where we will be reunited with our darling little Robbie Dog!
4 weeks ago when I booked this train from London - Norwich the upgrade fee from 2nd to 1st class was… 20p. So, we’re sat in 1st class enjoying the free wifi and extra spacious (for England anyway) seats. I reckon these seats are about as spacious as your average European express train. This is more to do with the European loading gauge (not to be confused with track width) being wider than our. The loading gauge is basically how large a train can be (how tall all the bridges must be or how wide a tunnel must accomodate and so on).
We’ve just gone through Stratford, the venue for next years olympics and right past the brand new stadium. It does look impressive for sure - AND I would say that my impressions of Blighty have improved somewhat having seen what some of our European compatriots put up with on their Metros. Rome’s metro was tiny (it only has 2 lines), dirty and hot. Paris’s was exceedingly complex and averagely signposted internally (when compared with the Tube in London). It also felt very unsafe, all around us everyone was clutching onto their bags with all they were worth - even wearing them on their fronts as your back isn’t safe enough. You just couldn’t escape the feeling of impending crime down there.
As for what we’ve gotten up too today - not much really. We rose around 10am and caught the Metro downtown in Paris finding a nice little Patisserie for some traditional French pastries. Taking a stroll across the Seine and passing Notre Dame on our right we found ourselves outside the Pomidou centre. This was on Catherine’s list and is quite a cool building to look at. It’s unique in the fact that all of it's infrastructure - things like pipes, lifts, stairs and so on - are on the outside. As you can see from our picture, it’s quite interesting. We sat on a post outside the museum (it was closed on Tuesdays) to plan our next thing whilst observing some girls pretending to be deaf to scam money out of innocent tourists (there were about 20 of them, quite interesting to observe actually).
Not quite knowing what to do with ourselves next we went for a walk across town, this time North of the river towards Opera. There was an Apple Store at Opera so Alex wanted to go have a peek as it was supposedly architecturally interesting. Sure, the building it’s in is old but nothing special so we moved on and found a Starbucks. We’ve never been to Starbucks as much as we have in the last few days - but I must say, it’s an excellent time killer as by this point in the day it was 4pm.
Our Eurostar was at 6.45pm and we still had to go back to our hotel (on the opposite side of Paris from Gare du Nord - the Parisienne Eurostar terminus) to collect our rucksacks. Detouring past the Eiffel Tower for a daytime picture break we got some kind passers by to take our picture - one that I really wanted to collect!
Then it was time to go home! We collected our bags, headed back across Paris for the station and boarded our Eurostar. We sat opposite some very posh ladies who talked loudly about how much money they had, and how expensive their lunch was (€370 incidentally) and how their ex-husband had been caught naked in the lounge, olive-oiled up enjoying some private time! We had trouble holding back the laughter at this point so I put my headphones in as we plunged into the Channel Tunnel. 20 mins later, we were in England.
SO GOOD TO BE HOME! As I said earlier in the post, having seen most of Europe this month - Englands not so bad, even in parts quite nice really! We are both absolutely exhausted, 20 days abroad is long time especially when you’re lugging big bags with you every step of the way. Would we do it again? The million dollar question.
Yes - absolutely yes. InterRailing has been one of the most eye-opening experiences of our lives. We might only go for 2 weeks instead of 3 next time, but definitely an enjoyable way to spend any portion of your life.
Is it relaxing? No.
Is it unforgettable? Absolutely!
Thank you all SO MUCH for reading. Have a lovely night. Good night!