I will begin by telling you the intended plan to get from France to Scotland–then I will let you in on what actually happened. OK, so I was planning to go to Scotland with my friend Megan and her two friends who live in London (I was the odd man out not coming from “the land down under”). To get to the UK from France the Eurostar (train) is the way to go. It runs from Paris to London. The three girls were already in London, having spent Christmas together, so my job was to meet them in London where we would all take a flight into Glasgow. I booked tickets: TGV from Dijon to Paris, Eurostar from Paris to London, airplane from London to Glasgow. I would also be taking the metro in Paris because the Eurostar leaves from Gare de Nord and I arrive at the Gare de Lyon. I would also have to master the London public transportation system: from train station numéro 1 I would take the underground/the tube to another train station where I would take a train to the airport. My connections were all a little close but I believed I could make it work, pas de problème
So here we go:
Wake up around 6am to leave Chevannes at 7am and make my 8am train out of Dijon. Feeling pretty confident with myself since I already knew what to expect at the station. I punch my ticket and find my seat–smooth sailing. Get off in Paris and find my way to metro where I buy two tickets (you can use them up to a year so I figured this would be a good idea for my trip back home in a week). I even was able to help an Italian couple who didn’t speak French–being semi-bilingual is cool. I picked a platform and looked for my destination…wrong platform. Not a big mistake though and I quickly changed to the one adjacent. Get out at Paris Gare de Nord and at this point I am really enjoying my day of solo travels. I stand with the masses of people and stare up at the huge departure board (so cool cause the numbers flip instead of being digital. Love hearing this sound when times change).
Then “le bétise” happens. My platform is listed as 1ere étage/first floor. I am a bit thrown off because I am used to a numbered platform not a floor. I also dont see how trains could be on multiple floors. I look around and assume I am on the first floor (ps-assuming things really does make an “ass” out of “u” and “me”). So I wait…maybe the platform number will come later? Closer to departure? But as some of you might have figured out, this doesn’t happen. With 10 minutes until my train is scheduled to leave I get the feeling this is not right. I ask the couple in front of me if we were on the first floor. Nope! (Should have known, first floor for the French is not the same as home because they say ground floor, then first floor.) So the first floor was upstairs. I run up the stairs and that is where I find out I have missed the train. Silly me didn’t put two and two together that when you take the Eurostar/when you leave the country you can’t just hop on the train. There are customs, check-in, passports, etc. Tried to beg my way onto the train knowing in the back of my head that if I didn’t get on that train I would also miss my flight; wasn’t happening.
Luckily I could get on the next train for no fee but I was stressed and frustrated that I had been there on time and STILL managed to miss the train. Spent the entire trip trying to call the airline–failed attempts.
So I get into London finally and get onto the tube (metro). Just my luck, it decides to break down two stops before mine. Had to get off, wait 10 minutes for another and then try again. I didn’t have 10 minutes to spare, that’s for sure!
Another frustration when youre in a hurry: waiting in lines. All ticket kiosks were broken at the train station so I had to wait in a line 100 people long. At this point I gave up on making the flight.
Get to the airport and get onto another flight but I have to pay half of what it would be today. This came out to be about the same I paid for the original flight. Whatever, I need to get to Scotland so I get in the line to check-in and this is where I get completely jinxed. After hearing my story, the man helping check people in said four horrible words: “can’t get any worse”
Well it did! Delayed flights led to a nice long wait….
Finally made it there at around 11pm and hoped in bed so that I could be ready for some amazing (and less stressful) adventures to come…