Trip Start May 12, 2009
Trip End May 12, 2009

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Jakob & Frieda

Flag of Germany  , North Rhine-Westphalia,
Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I am writing this from inside the Eurostar train, inside the Channel Tunnel.

We have been travelling for most of the day.  We got on the train early this afternoon in Geldern.

The journey seemed a little cursed right from the start.

Our first train was 10 minutes late arriving in Cologne.  I was a little surprised, as I had been under the impression that the Deutsche Bahn always ran on time. We were still able to make our connection to the high-speed ICE train.

It was impressive enough, blitzing the Belgian countryside at 300 kph.

That kind of speed on a train was disconcerting.  The ride was utterly smooth and quiet.  The noise, vibration and engine howl that one associates with high speeds in cars were utterly absent.  We were just sitting there, talking quietly while the countryside zipped by at 300 kilometres per hour.  And what does that look like?  It was almost like flying.  Everything within maybe 50 metres of the train was just a green blur.  Farm houses a kilometre away just zipped by.  It was an awesome and exhillarating way to travel.

Unfortunately our speed was not great enough.  We fell farther and farther behind schedule, until we arrived in Brussels 40 minutes late.  We missed our connection to the Eurostar train that was to take us under the English Channel.  Then, we got a bit of a run-around as to how to get on the the next train.  This run-around in turn caused us to miss that train as well.  Eventually we did get on the Eurostar 2 hours late.

The Eurostar likewise crossed the country at an effortless 300 kph from Brussels to the English Channel.

Then again, we were delayed.

About an hour into the trip, the train slowed and eventually came to a halt.  There were were, parked in a dark tunnel under the ocean floor.  It was a little disconcerting.  Eventually the conductor came on the speaker system and said that our journey was delayed because of an incident on the train ahead of us.  That would be the train that we had just missed.  She came on the PA a few more times, saying that there was an "incident" on the train ahead of us.  We'll have to investigate that tomorrow.  Was it a mechanical problem?  A drunk and unruly Spaniard?  British electronics?  A bearing supplied by Fiat?  I have no idea.

After about half an hour of much-reduced speed and stopping, the train got back under way.  After half an hour of moving, we still to be going slowly.  Right after we started moving, it seemed to me that we switched to another track, making a slight S-curve movement, but I doubt that such a thing would be possible within the tunnel.  Is there not just one track in each direction?

In any event, we do hope to make it to London eventually.  At this rate it may take a while.
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