Trip Start Apr 20, 2012
33Trip End May 23, 2012
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Where I stayed
London this morning is a sea of grey and black. Grey rainy skies, black coats, black umbrellas. However, the workers on the train line we needed to get us to St. Pancras are striking and we see only RED - after we find that the entrances to Victoria Station are closed due to overcrowding.
So instead, we try a red bus, HOPING that my interpretation of the map routes is correct. Yes and no... Right bus, barely moving. Back on another tube station and run! (Well, walk really fast...)
Hilary manages to spot us flying across the concourse, just enough time for one quick hug and somehow, we actually make our Eurostar seats with 10 minutes to spare
10.24am... Departure accurate to the second!
The Eurostar seats are cramped for long-legged me and the ugg-booted girl opposite staunchly refuses to move, regardless of how much I shuffle mine and nudge hers. We pop out of the Chunnel before we realise and watch impossibly green and yellow fields slip by, punctuated by Tour de France villages with their ancient church spires, busy freeways and ever-present high tension power staunchions. The iPad is now used for my first e-book purchase "Salmon Fishing in The Yemen" and arrival at Gare de Nord comes too quickly. The Eurostar is certainly THE way to commute between these two cities!
However it is not long before we are reminded that we are back in Paris. Vendors tout tacky Eiffel Tower trinkets, gypsies ask if we speak English and an elderly lady works her way through our Metro carriage wailing a doleful Arabic tune and hunting for donations. But six stations land us in Villiers and a short walk from Hotel New Orient with a delightful hostess and soft beds. There are a couple of patisseries around the corner and a convenience store opposite.
So what should girls do on a cold, rainy Paris afternoon? Why, shop of course! Or at least go window browsing in "Les Grand Magasins"... Printemps and Galleries Lafayette. I introduce Liz to the delights of the views from Printemps rooftop terrace cafe and we marvel at the ever so stylish stock (and prices!) in both stores.
But it is now after 6pm and that run through London has caught up with our leg muscles. We hobble through the drizzle back to our room, stopping only to buy a quiche and drink each.
Craziest day, cosiest bed, earliest night.