Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Short Visit to England

 These photos of the kids on the slide were taken at the  Imperial War Museum at Duxford. I recommend you visit the website for more detailed information, because, as you can see, the girls really loved the playground. Aurelia was also a bit in awe of all the "big planes". She wasn't the only one; so was I. Charlotte didn't say much, but she was interested and a good, uncomplaining trooper. We were all interested, but Paul and Geoff were able to dig up all the information on aviation that they had stored in their brains, as well. The museum is still a working airfield for small aircraft, so we saw a couple of little planes take off and land, as we walked miles from one hangar to the next. It was sunny, not too cold, and very windy, which is perfect for an outing.
The girls were happy; we had a nice, late lunch; it was a perfectly nice day. Charlotte and I also had time over the weekend to do some knitting. I finished a ruffled scarf for Claire and Charlotte worked on a scrunchy to match the headband her mummy made. (For the men reading this, a scrunchy is to hold ponytails.)
Sunday, we went out to eat and then Paul and I had a little rest while everyone else went to the swimming pool.
Monday, we came home. The round trip train fare Birmingham-Northhampton is less expensive than the round trip RER fare Nogent-Roissy CDG! And it seems to go faster, only 50 minutes. Well, yesterday, it certainly did go faster!
Our plane arrived on time and we had to walk what seemed like several miles before arriving at baggage claim, but the baggage still took longer, so we didn't get out of that until almost an hour after arriving. Then, the long walk to the RER station, where we went through immediately since I had thought ahead and we had our tickets. (I remembered the long lines at the machines from some time ago.) Our tickets were stamped in the turnstile at 20h38. The train was waiting; we got on and waited, and waited, and waited. No announcements. Finally, the train left and stopped at the CDG1 station and then at the Paris-Nord Exhibition station, where we waited and waited and waited. When we got to Villepinte, the driver announced, at last, that there were some technical problems and some aggression somewhere on the line and that we'd have to wait 5 - 10 minutes at all the stations. We waited a half hour at Sevran, where he announced that the terminus would be Gare du Nord when we finally made it into the city. We made some more long stops and then another long, long, long one at the Stade de France before arriving at the Gare du Nord at 23:10! I was beginning to understand why some people might have been aggressive. Yes, 2 1/2 hours for a 30 minute trip and very little information. None in English. The people in our wagon thanked me over and over as I translated the little announcements the driver made. Normally, we would have stayed on one more stop to Châtelet-Les Halles, but we had to get off and take the métro. It's another fairly long walk from the train station to the métro station, but by this time, we didn't really care much. Then, after several stops, connect from the métro to the RER A, wait for our train and finally arrive at Nogent at about midnight. By this time, our tickets were no longer valid! We had to call for assistance and were let through with no problem. Arrived home a little after midnight! Somehow, driving door-to-door seems like a better option for the next trip.

1 comment:

Ellen said...

For more about the "black Monday" at the SNCF (in French): http://www.leparisien.fr/transports/transports-retour-progressif-a-la-normale-apres-un-lundi-noir-06-03-2012-1892189.php?xtor=EREC-109----1133589@1