I blog when I go abroad, and occasionally when I do stuff in the UK too. There's a nicer interface over here.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Home Stretch

It's 2015 in Paris on Tuesday 23rd July. I'm on a train. I've been on trains for pretty much 19.5 hours of today, including the Paris metro. I'm on here for just over 2 hours, and later on it will take me 90 minutes or so to get home.


It's been a long trip.

I'm typing quickly because I'm almost out of energy, in various forms. 18% on the iPad, 45% on the phone, nothing at all on the power brick and no sockets. There's a small welcoming party at St Pancras waiting. I want to finish blogging the trip before the trip finishes.

We boarded the train in Lisbon in celebratory mood. Smiles everywhere. Our third trenhotel in 3 nights, so we knew precisely what to expect. Claimed our berths and cracked open the port and wine that had been bought to toast our last city, last country, last sleeper, so many lasts.

Soon after we set off, some of us went to the bar. We bought drinks and had fun. There were no interesting Australians or others to talk to, not that I remember. We had the place to ourselves, apart from the odd faux-surly teenager. Elbows out and glances that were supposedly threatening. Aww, bless.

I've blogged a lot about the booze we've had. The "we" is important. It hasn't been a mad rampage by myself, and in fact there haven't been masses of properly drunken nights. We're on holiday, so most of us have had a drink when we feel like a drink, but it hasn't been an outrageous piss-up, not every night.

Last night kinda was. Me, Lloyd, and John stayed up way too late drinking way too much. John is not a quiet man to lead back to a cabin at 1am. We woke Stretch up. Oops.

It was a long train ride. With the time travel of the previous night being reversed, we lost an hour when going through Spain, but this time there were no passport interruptions. Better yet, we didn't get off until 1130, so we had a lie-in, breakfast, and time to recover our heads. A few of us sat in the buffet car enjoying the views of the Basque Country. Undeniably nice, but I'm pretty much unable to process new information any more. 17 days seems to be my limit. Today, trains are transport.

Or so I thought. Actually there was some interesting stuff left to note. Our overnight train crossed two borders, Portugal-Spain-France. We crossed a timezone, and on this train we're crossing again. We're hitting 4 countries on this date, the first time we'd done so since about a week and a half ago when we did that in 7 hours, We hit 300kmh on the way from Hendaye to Paris, the train which was our final Interrail pass service.

Paris was a mad dash across the city. Only a single tube line, but 14 stops and at Montparnasse we probably walked for longer to get to the platform than we spent on the metro. At Gare du Nord we have around 8 minutes; there is illness, photography, shopping, and smoking to contend with. Stretch, our leader, goes missing as rumour flies but we slowly realise there's no primary source that heard he'll meet us up top - we all heard it from someone else. But in the final analysis it doesn't matter - we're through, trainside, and on our way back to England.

This has been, in the skipper's words, the biggest fuck-off train trip of all time. He's not fucking wrong. We're toasting it with some fine 40yo Hennessy cognac. I might write some more stuff in the next few days, some stats and some photos and some maps and some other stuff, more timeless than in diary form. But, for now: cheers!

1 comment:

IndiaJP said...

Really enjoyed reading your commentary for the entire tour.

Just as well you made it safely through Spain when you did.