Sunday, February 5, 2012

Leaving Paris

After a 30 minute walk in frigid 16 degree weather to the train station, we had several hours to do something with, so we went across the street for some toast and coffee, and to just get out of the cold.

When we returned to the train station, we realized something... there's no heat in Gare du freakin' Nord, other than an occasional space heater that passengers are gathered around like homeless people around a bonfire on the sidewalk. The only places with heat are a cafe that's too full to get into, and the EuroStar boarding lounge that's not open to us until just before our departure.

We went back across the street and had lunch at a small cafe, just to get out of the cold. Then we went in a small coffee shop in the train station that was just as cold as outside. Finally we huddled up and stood near one of the space heaters. After warming up, we went wandering and Robin fortunately noticed a sign that said EuroStar check in was open. We finally found where that was happening, checked in, went through security, and got into the EuroStar heated waiting area. Five minutes later we boarded the train.

The train was nearly empty, and we were in London two and a half hours later, about ten minutes behind schedule due to bad weather in London. As soon as we got off the train and into St. Pancras station Robin  checked her iPad app for Underground Tube closings. Sure enough, our destination, Uxbridge, was closed due to a power outage, but we were able to take the Tube to within one stop of Uxbridge, then get on a bus and ride to within a 10 minute walk of our flat. When we got there, Wally had cooked us a great meal of roasted chicken, dressing, and gravy.

Now I'm going to see if I can get the steaming feed of the SuperBowl that starts at 11:30 p.m. here. I'm not at all optimistic about that, but I don't think I'll be awake to whine about it.

A light dusting of snow Sunday morning for our walk to Gare du Nord train station.

Reminds me of the train station in Lamy, New Mexico.

A pretty nice cafe across the street from the train station.

The cafe is where the purple awnings are.

View of Gare du Nord from our cafe table.

The freezing cold main terminal. Near the bottom, on the left and right, passengers huddle around heaters.

As we ate lunch at a small cafe across the street, Robin noticed that pigeons at the next door cafe were helping themselves to the kebab (a tall, rotating stack of meat that the waiter shaves off meat for meals).

Another Metro entrance sign that makes us smile.

We noticed lots of dog travelers. 

The EuroStar train seen from the EuroStar waiting area (heated).

The side of the Gare du Nord entrance. The inscription translates roughly as "road of iron north" or "north railroad." I personally like "iron road."

Trying to warm up in the main terminal while wondering how much it would cost to fly to London.

16 degrees. I think it's a little warmer outside.

There were 4 or 5 of these heaters in the terminal. I don't remember seeing heaters at Heathrow.