Interrail day one – Glasgow to Brussels via London

28 Apr

This is the first of my posts about my big, much-postponed interrailing adventure. If you’re following the WhatsApp group, this is more or less live for you. If not, this is in the past (as it is unwise to advertise on the internet that your house is empty), so consider it a historical document.

Even if you are in the WhatsApp group, don’t feel you have to read everything! This is as much for my benefit as yours (since I have no memory to speak of), so just skip any bits that don’t grab you.

I woke up early from a dream in which every train into Glasgow was cancelled, which gave me extra time to fight unsuccessfully with the internet to download an audio book. Maybe Belgian internet will cooperate better. All the trains into Glasgow were not cancelled, which was a good start. The ticket gates at Queen Street didn’t recognise my Interrail ticket, which did not surprise me, but the wee zapper wielded by the conductor on the train to London did, which did surprise me.

The scenery through the Lake District is plenty photogenic, but unfortunately didn’t stay still enough for me to get a decent photo, but I thought the sheep and bicycle planters in the rural station of Penryth were worth a photo. There was also this entirely unfunny cartoon in Private Eye that featured Eurostar.

One of the strangest things so far about travelling is that I can smell my own perfume šŸ˜‚ Normally your brain filters out your perfume/cologne just after you put it on because it’s a constant background smell, but I switched to my summer/holiday perfume (a limited edition Davidoff Cool Water from years ago, since you ask) so now I can smell it.

London traffic was crazy, but I have to say their roads are much better optimised for bikes, with lots of bollards keeping cars away from cyclists, if not cyclists from pedestrians. On the way to St Pancras I passed the British Library, which is much more modern-looking than you would think, and Glasgow’s coat of arms (?!) on what appeared to be an old restaurant attached to St Pancras.

My main concern about Eurostar was whether they would let me on with my mismatched ticket and reservation. They did, so I won’t bore you with the rest. When you’ve done it once, Eurostar isn’t any more interesting than a short flight from a minor airport.

(By the way, it seems that international travel is like riding a bike. You don’t do it for over two years but then without any sense of unfamiliarity you’re shuffling between tensabarriers, flashing your passport and hoiking your bag onto the scanner belt. Although this time in a mask.)

So here I am in Belgium, where various scooterists, cyclists and motorcyclists have indiscriminately tried to kill me, where it is (just barely) warm enough to sit outside, and where I managed to find (without actually trying) the fish restaurant that I liked last time I was here, Bia Mara. And I promise I tried to be good and order a Coca Cola (in my really almost adequate French) but they don’t believe in soft drinks here, so it’s my second bevvy of the day. Salut !


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