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Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Eurostar - London to Paris

After enjoying ourselves at The Champagne Bar it was soon time to head back downstairs to catch the Eurostar. It was then a case of "typical" that all the elevators and escalators heading down were no longer working which meant we had to carry our bags down the broken escalator. Maybe we shouldn't have had that extra Champagne.

When we then turned up to check-in, there were rather large queues and it seemed that the electrical problem was also effecting the entry gates.

The last time I was on Eurostar was in 2005 and things have changed a little from then. There are still  different classes but they are now called Business Premier, Standard Premier and Standard. After studying the differences I can tell you that the standard premier and the business premier have exactly the same seats so the considerable amount extra you'll pay for going business isn't really worth it.

After queuing to have our e-ticket scanned, there was another queue for the x-ray machines and then a bit more queuing to go through immigration - we both managed to get a particularly surly Frenchman who gave Paalo an especially long once over.

The final bit of farce was the complete balls up in regard to boarding the train. It seemed that only one up travelator was working and instead of letting people go up on the non functioning downwards travelators they were just allowing the crowd to build and build. Finally someone decided to allow people to walk up the broken travelators to the platform but only if they didn't have any luggage.

The reason for this became apparent as we began our ascent - these were on a seriously steep angle and even just trying to hold onto your luggage was difficult - I can't imagine how difficult it would be with the travelator not working.

After all this, the train left pretty much on time and there's only one stop, just outside of London - from there it is non-stop to Paris.

As part of the Standard Premier ticket we've given a light lunch

menu© by haalo

On the tray we have

eurostar lunch© by Haalo

Roasted vegetables (eggplant, zucchini, red pepper) with pesto mayonnaise
A slice of Ham and Mustard Tart
Honey Pannacotta
along with a mini bottle of Chardonnay and a bottle of mineral water.

Actually, the food was surprisingly tasty. The tart had a good short pastry while the filling was tasty, the roasted vegetables were especially nice and the pannacotta, though probably a little too stiff had a lovely honey flavour.


I knew from past experience that getting a taxi takes time but things have certainly improved in six years. Where once a makeshift line would form there's now a permanent covered barrier where you queue for your taxi - they have officials working to ensure a speedy turnaround and all up I think the wait took about half an hour.

When we gave our address to the taxi driver it was met with a blank stare - ahh, yes we should have printed a map showing the street, will remember that for next time. So we told him to head for Notre Dame while we searched his street directory to show him exactly were the street was. He still hadn't heard of the street but at least he knew how to get us there.

So finally, after leaving home on 6.15am on Tuesday Melbourne Time, we opened the door to our new temporary home in Paris at around 4.15pm Wednesday (12.15am Thursday Melbourne Time). All up we'd been travelling for 42 hours!


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