What’s Going On:
Leaving Paris was not bitter-sweet. I was ready for the next stop in my travel back to the U.S., London, England. I took another ridiculously long Uber ride to the train Station & boarded Eurostar #9027 for the 2-hour trip under the English Channel.
As I wrote last week, once I got to the station, it was time to wait. There was a (unusual?) delay because of a broken down train, so I was in a queue for about an hour while they got things back on track (pun intended), and I was off to London!
There was a little confusion because the station didn’t update the electronic board, so many people, myself included, thought we were in the wrong area. After numerous announcements in various languages (English was one, thankfully), we were all relieved to find we were right where we needed to be.
The train from Paris to London was not as nice as the Zurich to Paris train, but it was still nicer than most commercial flights, and there was plenty of legroom to stretch out and relax.
We hit 334.7 km/h (207.97 mph) at one point but slowed considerably once we got to the Chunnel. The 31.35 mi trip underground and water was a lot faster than I expected, and shortly after we entered the tunnel on the French side, we emerged in England.
I walked a short way from the train station and quickly obtained an Uber to take me to my hotel. I was getting a little hungry, so I opted for an early dinner at a pub on the Thames River.
What I’m Eating:
I chose Captain Kidd mainly because of its location on the water and decent reviews online. The pub itself was what you would expect. Lots of wood and small groups of friends talking about their day and local events.
The food was disappointing. I ordered fish and chips (when in Rome), and I received their version (the dark nuggets in the bowl on the left are “Shrimp Scampi”). They tasted OK but definitely NOT what I was expecting.
The house brew, on the other hand, was deliciously light and hit the spot.
The next day, I set out to explore the city. I had a general idea of where I wanted to go but no agenda once I got there. I started my day at the Brick Lane Bakery and ordered a Salted Beef Bagle.
Salted beef (think corned beef) on a freshly made chewy bagel with mustard and pickles. I hit the jackpot with this dish. It was new but familiar at the same time and was a delicious way to start the day.
As I walked around London, I found many covered bazaars with vendors selling all kinds of items as well as food stalls scattered throughout.
After exploring 3 or 4 of these, I turned a corner and discovered London has an Eatly location!
After exploring Eatly, I settled in for a quick cup of espresso in the coffee shop downstairs to get my bearings & choose what to do next. I was now close to the Thames again, so I headed south to check out the London & Tower bridges.
All this walking was wearing me out, so I found a riverside restaurant to get a light lunch and a well-deserved glass of wine.
I spent another day in London before heading back to Indianapolis. I’ll admit I wasn’t in London long enough. There are a lot of things to explore, and I’m looking forward to another visit in the upcoming years to see and do more.
Because the City was participating in a Car Free Day the day I was leaving, the entire downtown area was gridlocked. A 14-mile direct drive to the airport turned into a 90-minute trip around the outskirts of the city to get to Heathrow.
Once inside and through security, I felt like I was in Vegas. This airport was over the top!
My seat was upgraded to business class, and I ended up in the front of the section behind the bulkhead. THIS is the seat to have on the 6-hour flight back to the U.S. LOTS of legroom, and very easy to get up and move around without disturbing the person next to you. I’m looking for these seats on my next international trip.
I returned to Indianapolis around Midnight and was wide awake when I got home. I managed to get some rest and didn’t have any jet lag effects the next day.
All in all, this was a great trip. Zurich is a place I would have never visited on my own, but I’m ready to return. I could have skipped Paris for another day in London, but I’m glad I at least passed through. The train travel in Europe is no joke. It’s cost-effective and fast. I wish we had 200+ mph trains in the US between major cities. I would use those whenever possible versus flying in all but the longest trips.
Since I returned from Europe, I passed my Amateur Radio General Exam (I only missed two questions on the 35-question test) and now have privileges to use radio frequencies that allow me to talk all over the world.
My simple setup with a wire antenna in the 2nd-floor attic has allowed me to make over 550 contacts in 94 countries. I should have done this a long time ago.
The New Yorker had a fascinating article (with clever graphics) about the world’s seafood supply. It’s very eye-opening and I learned a lot by reading it
I also encourage you to take a look at the Outlaw Ocean Project as well.