Sunday, 17 October 2010

The Final Chapter - return to Germany Friday, 15th October 2010

All good things come to an end. Apparently.

We went through the usual morning routine - packed the last few things in our bags and checked out of the Youth Hostel.

Our payment still hadn't been confirmed by the head office, but luckily the chappie on the desk was a good guy and said it was no problem as they had all our details and had seen the transfer confirmation. Padhraig. Or something he is called - good guy anyway.

Having seen the Tube at rush hour, and having two big bags, we decided to bite the bullet and get a cab. Expensive but stress free for us - not so the cab driver who was roundly abused going around a bus by a black cab driver. Par for the course for him, I reckon.

We quickly dumped our bags at the extortionately priced left luggage and went in search of breakfast. After a fruitless search outside the station we found one of the coffee bars and had coffee and sandwiches.

Our original plan had been to go out for a troll around the area and one last look at London but in the end the shops there were enough. Chocolate had to be bought to take back, and #2 wanted to get some lovely earmuffs in Monsoon. After that we looked around at the huge variety of sandwiches on offer so that we could take something to eat on the train - the Gruesomes weren't keen on Eurostar food and it would be 9pm before we got home, too late to eat.

I also had time for a quick trip to the St Pancras branch of Foyles. Just for a look around. And of course that meant I left with 3 books (Scoop by Evelyn Waugh, The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown - for Chef - and Springtime for Germany - or how I learned to love lederhosen - by Ben Donald)

The check-in process at St Pancras is much more efficient than at Brussels-Midi and we were soon in the "departure" lounge waiting for our train to be ready. Soon enough we were sitting in our lovely, comfy seats, reading our books or listening to music, and a rainy Kent countryside was rolling by. Again we entered the blackness of the tunnel without any fanfare and before we knew it Brussels-Midi station was upon us.

This time we had to run the length of the station to use the smelly facilities again, but at least it meant that there was hardly any waiting time before we could get on the ICE to Aachen. The train was packed and there was a lot of "I think you'll find this is my seat" going on - I'm always glad when I have a reservation under those circumstances.

Aachen station was cold and rainy so we waited in the entrance hall instead of up on the draughty platform. This train was nearly empty so we spread ourselves around the tiny first-class compartment and before we knew it we were at Erkelenz station and getting into a taxi.

There was a momentary stab of panic when we thought we didn't have any Euros, but luckily I'd stashed enough for the cab fare in my purse.

And that was that. We were home at last after our London adventure. And, as is usual: it was as though we'd never been away.


Rory In Wellington said...

Phew! It's exhausting just reading about it! ;-)

Sho said...

you will rewarded for your efforts, grasshoper, when I post the seat covers!