S. Worthen (owlfish) wrote,
S. Worthen

Travelling on the Eurostar

I've travelled in first class on two trips in my life - and both times, I travelled that way because it was cheaper than economy class. I'm not kidding. One of those trips was this weekend's train trip to Paris. If we'd booked the Eurostar tickets weeks or months earlier, we could have had competitively cheap economy-class tickets. By a week before the train date, demand for economy class was such that the seats there cost more than travelling first class. Hey, I'm willing to spend less and travel in greater comfort!

The food was pretty good too, a light cold appetizer, a hot main dish, rolls, a cheese course, and dessert. The outbound cheese course involved a nicely spicy firm English cheese, Delhay. The outbound main fish option was swimming in a comforting leek fondue. On the return trip, the appetizer of pollock with tomato tartar sauce was the highlight of my meal, but then I had already had a light dinner hours earlier, so was less interested in food in the first place. Both going and coming, the wines were tasty and well-rounded.

Our outbound departure was prompt, slipping slowly out through the lights of London and into the darkness of the countryside, speeding up as we went east and then south. The tunnel was uneventful - indeed, the tunnels on land felt far more tunnel-like than the Chunnel itself. Passing through night in both directions, there was really nothing to see along the way. Someday, I'd like to make the trip during the day.

The return trip proved more of a production. Thanks to a previous backlog through security, our train didn't start check-in until fifteen minutes after our scheduled departure. We spent the time in line, watching the endlessness of the line for the previous train checking in. We left an hour and a half late, and then became even later along the way since we'd lost our signals. I'm sure our slowness going into the Chunnel was a consequence of waiting on other Eurostar trains. The company compensated for the lateness, however, retaining our goodwill: a free taxi ride home, and a free one-way or half-price return ticket for future travel. Still, it took half-an-hour for us to claim a taxi, and we were in the first third of the line for them, hundreds of people waiting for as many taxis as could be summoned and summoned again to carry home a train's worth of travellers after London's trasit system shut mostly down for the night.

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