15 September, 2011

Nice Journal - Autumn 2011 - 10

Thursday, 15th September, 2011

I did not sleep well the last night. Lisa spent much of the night in the sitting room where she could sleep propped up to ease the coughing which has plagued her for the last day or two. At seven I started pottering around, putting away the bedding and emptying the dishwasher. I made coffee for us both but neither of us felt in the mood to eat anything in the way of breakfast.

We had plenty of time before we had to leave so we were able to finish packing and clearing the place up at a relatively comfortable pace. As she'd promised, Lisa called Perry about an hour before we left. We closed up all the shutters and took out all the trash, loaded up the cool bag with our food for the train and then had nothing left to do but leave.

We walked over to the Gorbella tram stop and rode down to the station with our luggage. We had three pieces each and they were somewhat heavier than when we left England because of the culinary supplies we'd bought to take back with us. We got to the station with over half an hour in hand but eventually our train was given a platform and we struggled down and up the stairs to get over to the right place. The train came in almost at once and we quickly got settled in our seats ready for the seven hour ride to Lille.

Our coach was very sparsely populated as we left Nice to begin trundling along the Mediterranean coast as far as Marsaille. At each stop along the way a few more passengers joined the train. We had smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwiches for breakfast and soon afterwards Lisa reclined her seat and settled down for a nap.

A big influx of passengers at Toulon left our coach pretty much full and, after Avignon, the train picked up speed for the long run north through France to Marne la Vallée on the outskirts of Paris. We had ham and cheese sandwiches and a couple of pieces of fruit for lunch. There was a mass exodus from the train at Charles de Gaulle airport and only a select few of us continued towards Haut Picardy and Lille.

We arrived at Lille just a few minutes late and made our way up to the waiting room to await the opening of check-in for the Eurostar to London. The train arrived on time and left promptly. The passengers from Paris had already been served dinner so we could not help feeling like late arrivals at a dinner party. After a while I flagged down a purser who then served us a meal with suitably profuse apologies.

The Eurostar was packed and there was quite a stampede on disembarking at St. Pancras but to my dismay King's Cross was even worse: the station was jam packed with people and it was standing room only on the train to Cambridge. It was such a relief to be released from this grim coda to a very pleasant journey from Nice! We got a taxi home, fed the cats and then headed up the street to the Empress to end the evening in congenial surroundings.

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