Thursday, 10 May 2012

Day 7 – London to Paris

It was a 6.30 start this morning.  We had to get to St Pancras station on the other side of London, as we were not sure on how busy the Tube would be this time of morning (as it is a working day) we got a taxi.  This is another very large building and station.  As we were going overseas we had the usual passport and security checks.  I am glad we were there early, we managed to get a table near the coffee shop and stayed there till boarding.  We were in the Standard Premier carriage, which had lovely wide, reclining seats just right for snoozing!  We were supplied with breakfast, tea and coffee.  The trip was very smooth and the train does go at great speed.  The English side was very misty, green and had an unkempt look.  When we popped out on the other side of the tunnel you could tell immediately we were in a different country, it was sunny, warm and very manicured.

The train station was not as nice as the London end.  Trying to find a loo was a task, in the train station you  had to put coins in to enter, as we had no coins on us yet we thought we would find one outside, hah!  Went to Maccas they didn’t have one, the outside loo nearby wasn’t working, so we ended up asking at a hotel and they let us use theirs.  Everywhere smelled like stale urine and you had to watch where you stepped as there is muck and rubbish everywhere.  We walked down towards the river in Paris, this is where things went downhill, both Emily and myself never felt so frightened in our lives.  We were hassled by Colombians shoving brochures in our faces, they all stand around in groups leaning on buildings watching you walk by and menacing people, with both sides of the road the same.  Eventually after a km or so it suddenly changed, 
for the better.  Got tidier, then the Police sirens started.  Dozens and dozens of Police vans were going around with their lights and sirens on, they were all decked out in riot clothes!  When at the river we thought of going on the open topped bus that takes you around Paris to all the sights and 
has a commentary on the history etc.  We walked and walked along the river till we found a bus stop.  This area was very clean and full of tourists.  I see that money is spent on these areas but not anywhere else in Paris, which is a big shame.  The bus tour was great and took us to all the sights, we were on this for just over 2 hours.  We saw a protest happening and all the Police in 
riot gear waiting around in case something happened. We decided to hop off and slowly walked back to the train station and again the mess, muck and urine got worse the further we got from the ‘sights’ and the closer to the train station.  People take their dogs into eating places and even the train station, I was amazed when a dog cocked his leg onto a shop front in the train station and no-one blinked an eyelid, hence the smell everywhere.  Also everyone seems to smoke, and they smoke everywhere, how far advanced Australia is!  We sat in a food place whilst waiting to be able to get through customs etc as we were early and had enough of Paris! 

The English man in border control was funny as he asked how long I was staying in England, I said 40 days and was hoping for some sunshine, he said you know what they say about 40 days and 40 nights! LOL.  Whilst waiting for the train I chatted to the lady next to me about Paris, she said that it has deteriorated in the last 5 years or so, as she hadn’t been there for that time and was shocked at it!  Anyhow I doubt very much I will ever return, as they say it is all hype!

We got back in London and actually got a London Cab .. they are so roomy and as expected we went through all sorts of back streets as only a Londoner would know, it was great seeing it all at night.  We got in at about 10pm, so knackered, sore swollen feet and extremely tired!

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