London, England and Back Home
Trip to Portugal and France
• 838 words
• 4 minute read
Tags: Travel, London, United Kingdom, Paris, France, Munich, Germany, Denver
Today, I was in a total of five countries. Why? Well, one of the things on my bucket list was to go on the Eurostar from Paris to London under the Channel tunnel. I don’t know why it was on my bucket list; I think it was because I have always liked trains.
Anyway, I woke up early and navigated my way to Gare du Nord for my 09:00 train to London.
The process to get onto the Eurostar was very streamlined. They have automated machines that scanned the boarding pass as well as automated passport scanners for French and UK border control all before getting onboard the train.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to use the high speed tracks through France. That was part of what I was looking forward to, but it was still a pretty view of the French countryside out the window.
We entered the Chunnel at Calais and after the twenty minute transit in the dark, we emerged in Folkestone! Obviously there wasn’t much to see in the tunnel, but it was very cool to go under an ocean in a train!
Due to not going on the high-speed tracks in France, we arrived over an hour late into London. Eurostar has a decent refund policy, and I will be able to get $40 compensation for the delay.
Initially, I was planning on leaving Europe via London, but it ended up being way more expensive than flying both directions out of Lisbon, any my company said they’d only cover the cost of a round-trip to and from Lisbon. Unfortunately, I’d already booked my Eurostar, so it made sense for me to just book a flight from London back to Lisbon and the fly from there.
The flight from Lisbon leaves tomorrow at 6, so I booked a late evening flight out of London so that I could at least spend a few hours in the city between arriving via my Eurostar and departing for Lisbon.
My first stop was the British Museum to see a special exhibit about Stonehenge. It’s a temporary exhibit, and I had seen that it was going to be there while I was, so I’d booked a ticket ahead of my trip.
The exhibit had many artifacts from around when Stonehenge was built. They demonstrated the sophistication and craftsmanship of the people living around Stonehenge at the time of its construction. There were also displays discussing a number of other related structures built around the same time such as Seahenge. The items that archaeologists have found point to fact that the people who build Stonehenge had a wide trade network that spanned vast areas of the European continent.
After finishing at the British Museum, I wandered over to Chinatown for some food. I ate at a very authentic dim sum restaurant, and I enjoyed it greatly. By that time it was about time for me to head for the airport. I went and picked my bags up at the luggage storage location (the name was Kings Cross Luggage Storage and it was super convenient). Then I took the train all the way out to Heathrow via the Tube.
My flight to Lisbon was uneventful, and I went through Portuguese border control. At that point it was around midnight in Lisbon, but I stayed up until my flight with the intent of sleeping on the plane to line up my sleep schedule with Denver time. So, I got a bite to eat, pulled out my computer to write some on my blog, and waited for my flight.
My connection was through Munich, Germany (the fourth country for the day (though, to be honest I wasn’t quite sure what day it was when I arrived)). I had a bit of an adventure going through border control in Munich, because they noticed that the Portuguese border control had (a few hours before) marked me as having arrived ten days in the future! The border agents talked for quite a while (probably wondering why they’d allowed Portugal into the Schengen area), but they let me through after explaining the issue and encouraging me to check my stamps I was given.
By the time I got to the gate, I was quite exhausted. To make matters worse, we had to take a bus to the plane. You would think that Lufthansa would have enough jetways to accommodate all of their planes in a hub like Munich, but nope. Eventually I got to my seat, and I think I was asleep before we took off.
Despite all of this, because of forcing myself onto US time through by the time I arrived in around 14:30, I was actually felt decent.
It was quite a whirlwind of a day (or days, I don’t know at this point), but I got back home safe and sound.
I always like travelling, but I always like returning back to the comfort of home. After the retreat and a week off, I’m rejuvenated and ready to get back to work tomorrow!