In general, virtuous behaviour isn’t rewarded by much more than a warm feeling in the heart-cockle department. But sometimes one’s principled decision to travel overland (or undersea) can reap unexpected benefits. Like sitting in one’s comfy Eurostar seat, watching Kent glide dimly past in the fog and reading all about this. Ah, travel chaos, I thought, how glad I am to miss that. For a while it looked as though our only deprivation was going to be the fact that the Eurostar buffet had run out of pains au chocolat (we bring you all the train-related misery here on Disgruntled Commuter, I tell you) but fortunately the steward sneaked me one of the first class passengers’ croissants for free to compensate (‘I’m not supposed to do this, but they won’t find out,’ he said. Ooops. Maybe bloggers should be forced to wear some sort of visual warning sign- ‘watch out, blogger about’).
But then we got to Gare du Nord and attempted to travel two stops on the RER without our native guide but accompanied by more bags and backpacks and Christmas presents than you could usefully shake a stick at. Gare du Nord has ticket machines of such a complexity that even the French were simply giving gallic shrugs and giving up trying to work them out. Fortunately there was also a row of ticket offices for the mechanically challenged. And a queue. A queue of eighteen people – it’s a busy time of the year. And one, count ’em, one window open. Plus ca change, as they say over here, plus c’est la meme chose*.
*only with more squiggly things on the letters. Sorry