Wednesday, February 26, 2014

My Trip to Paris Part 1: The Eurostar


From the 21st to the 23rd of Febuary I was in Paris, France for a vacation trip. This trip was arranged though my school in London, CAPA and Proscenium Tours. This is probably going to be three parts; the first being talking about transport to and from London and Paris. The type of travel we used was the Eurostar from London St. Pancras to Paris Du Nord.
To get to St. Pancras you simply take the tube; it is attached to several lines, I think it’s Piccadilly, Victoria, and Northern. I took the first train on the district line from where I live and then switched at Victoria onto the Victoria line until I hit King’s Cross.  As a note, make sure to check the TLF website before you have to leave if you must take the first train (for me 5:09 am) because not all stations open at the same time because I had originally planned to take the Piccadilly line, but the TFL told me to take Victoria. It turns out later that the Piccadilly doesn’t open until 5:30 or something, so I would have been a bit late for my meeting time for the train.
You take the tube to King’s cross (maybe get there early for a Harry Potter picture at 9 ¾?) and then follow the signs for St. Pancras and then to the Eurostar which are all very obvious. I then waited for my group for the tour and then went through security and border control. Security is that you simply put your bags and coat on a conveyer belt and then step through a basic metal detector. Since there are no liquid regulations or anything it is really quick. Border control is also very chill; you go through French control on this side and they just check your passport and go through.
You then wait for your train to be boarded and get on.  The seats are pretty comfortable and roomy.  The trip itself was 2 hours and 15 minutes. The train ride was very comfortable and I had no problems with nausea; which I have on the plane. The only “uncomfortable” thing is that you go through the tunnels your ears tend to pop.
The way back to Paris was the Eurostar again, and getting on the train was much more stressful.  Part of this was that we were all tired from walking all day, and part was that my personal trip time was unfortunate. When we got to Du Nord (we took the metro there; I think it was 13 to line 2 and got off at La Chapelle?) we found out that there had been an overbooking of a previous train and everything was backed up for two trains. These people were then prioritized and all 70 something had to wait. And then, we found out that since we are non-EU citizens our process was quite long. We had to wait in an extremely long line, since there were almost 80 of us, and they had only two lines open from UK border control. They later opened up a third line, but not all of the officers worked the same. The line I was in was the slowest, of course. Our officers somehow took so long to put people through that the guy next to him put through 3 or 4 people. All they did was look at our passport, tickets, and entry letter printed by our university. We also had to fill out a landing card stating our name and address in London.

Once we actually got on the train, we had waited so long we had to board right away, it was fine. And of course getting home was fine on the tube even though I was very tired.  

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