Our European Trip - 2005 travel blog

Plane to London

London Train

Waiting on Eurostar

Eurostar in Waterloo

Inside Eurostar

Passing TGV trains in France

Eiffel Tower - first glimpses

As the sun sets

Trocadreo through Eiffel Tower

Trocadero Fountains

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower Illuminated

We left Bo'ness for Edinburgh Airport about 7:00am. Had a good flight to London Gatwick on EasyJet. Took the train to Waterloo via Clapton Junction and met a very informative and loquacious gentleman who had been vacationing in Rhodes. He related a story about a cousin who emigrated to Canada, moved to the USA and bought part of a farm on which his mother had grown up, apparently unaware of the connection.

Our brief sojourn in London led us to believe that only coloured people spoke English and every white nation with a tongue other than English was represented. If it can no longer be said that the sun never sets on the British Empire, it could be said that it no longer needs to, as the world has come to live within the sound of Bow Bells.

We had lunch at Waterloo and waited on the Eurostar (Chunnel) train which was 45 minutes late. We enjoyed a good, smooth run through London, then the south east English countryside with farms, villages, etc. Went into the tunnel and I awoke from a nap to my first taste of France - the initial impression was "It's like Saskatchewan with trees"! The countryside soon developed into rich agricultural land with villages connected by busy freeways. The overall picture was very pastoral, especially in the brilliant sunshine which we experienced from London on. We arrived at the Gare du Nord in Paris and took a taxi to our hotel. My aspirations of addressing the first Frenchman with my French repertoire was shattered when even "Merci" came out as a mumbled "Thank you", but perhaps my Scottish accent lent a little authenticity. I comforted myself with the thought that there was no point in using all the French I knew in the first sentence I spoke. I will save some for tomorrow.

We unpacked and went round the corner to decide where to eat. There was no shortage of places and we eventually decided on a creperie which served the most light and tasty filled crepes.

We then walked through the Champs de Mars to the Eiffel Tower and over the bridge to the Trocadera. A week ago I arrived in Glasgow to the sight of the normally unarmed, friendly bobbies sporting sub machine guns, and the change since I last visited was driven home by a squad of French soldiers at each leg of the tower armed with what appeared to be Uzis.

We came back and walked up through the Champs de Mars soaking up the local culture. As we saw the couples with their picnics, complete with bottles of wine, we realized we were no longer in Edmonton. We went the full length of the park to the Ecole Militaire and back to the hotel.

So ends the first day in Paris for two tired travelers.

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