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Turin to London

Posted on 2016/11/06 17:07:51 (November 2016).

[Friday 28th October 2016]
We were booked on the 07:39 TGV from Turin to Paris, so a bit of an early start this morning. Dad apparently had barely slept at all for fear of oversleeping and missing the train, and they left the apartment at something like 6:30 - just as I was getting up - I left at just after 7 and met them at the station.

The first leg of the return journey actually went really well. Dad had wanted to see the snowy Alps, and it had been too dark on the way here, plus too hazy to see them while we were in Turin. This morning though the skies were clear, and we had nice views of the mountains as we passed through. So this was all quite pleasant, and more or less ran to time.

From Paris things went a bit downhill though. Our train arrived at Gare de Lyon around 1:20, I had planned to have lunch in Au Train de Vie near Gare du Nord but by the time we had faffed a bit and got an Uber, we arrived at the cafe at 2:05 - just as they stopped serving lunch. I had been there at various times of the day on previous trips, sometimes to eat, sometimes just for a drink, but I guess it hadn't really occurred to me that the kitchen was only open around the very regimented French notion of mealtimes. I did attempt to advocate that we still sit there and at least have a coffee regardless, but Dad didn't want to for some reason - despite my protestations that there really isn't anything else very nice around Gare du Nord, and there's nowhere to sit down inside the station itself. So we then had to go and learn that lesson in real time - and ended up in a generic cafe opposite the station which obviously thrives on exploiting tourists, and charged 8 Euros for a Diet Coke.

It was a slog getting through security onto the Eurostar, some part of the process seemed to be short staffed, and we spent longer than the recommended 30 minutes getting from check in to the actual train. Frustratingly the train then sat at the platform for quite some time past its scheduled departure. It became clear en route that Dad and Janie weren't going to make their onward connection in London back to Devon which was the cause of some consternation thanks to the inflexibility of Advance purchased tickets. I did try to provide reassurance that there's a process for this - if you miss a train because of a delay on another train, you get the first train company to give you a stamp, then the other company are required to let you take a later train.

On arrival at St. Pancras Dad and Janie got in a taxi, which apparently got them to Paddington just as their original train was pulling out of the station. They were able to use their ticket on the next train without incident though, and probably having a bit of a break at Paddington was for the best anyway.

I also got a taxi back home, as my suitcase was rather heavily loaded with bottles etc. Having eaten exclusively Italian food for the past week I had been musing over what I might eat on my return - probably not a bowl of pasta. I decided instead to get a Chinese takeaway, and as I happened to get there at one of the busiest times of the week for them, while I was waiting for them to cook it I popped into the Pineapple for a quick pint as a welcome back to England.

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