The Lisbon-Hendaye sleeper was particularly sweatyand notable mainly for the intense level of political debate in the bar car. Don't try to defend electoral apathy when Lloyd is around. We mainly slept like the dead and there was a distict whiff of decomposition around our end of the train by morning. Most of us tried the luxury of a restaurant car breakfast where the A/c was fuctioning. The weather has changed to overcast and cloudy but it is still humid.
At Hendaye we switch to our penultimate train, a French TGV, which awaits us. There is time go out for coffees, sandwiches and a beer, although there are not many takers for the latter. Under way we start dissecting our trip. Did or did we not cross the Rubicon? Assuming the plan through Paris back to St Pancras works we will have scored 47 real trains including 12 sleepers, 10 trams, 30 metro rides, 5 funiculars, 5 buses, 1 lift, 1 water taxi and 1 train ferry. Nobody counted the beers. Or the kebabs.
This train seems to be pedestrian in comparison with our Lyon - Paris TGV experience and we are 10 late when we leave Bordeaux. The connection is tight in Paris so we cannot afford a serious delay. Eventually we pass Tours and hit speeds up to 290 kph. The tension subsides and we watch the countryside flash by.
When we get to Paris it turns out to be a route march to the Metro line to Gare du Nord., followed by a 14 stop ride. The Eurostar signage is the least helpful we have seen anywhere in Europe. It may as well have been in Cyrillic s. We make check in with little time to spare and are soon in our seats on the 20.13 for St Pancras. Mark produces a bottle of very nice Cognac and we toast the success of GCERC.
Would we do it again? Probably not but I would certainly revisit some of the highlights and there were enough of those to keep the trips coming for a year or two yet.
PS The problem with my las post is now fixed. http://disorientateddave.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/the-23rd-capital.html