You sometimes have to ask yourself whether anything else could possibly go wrong on a journey. I have had just about anything and everything over the past 22 hours.
The fog at Baden Airpark was so thick yesterday evening that it almost looked like it was snowing under the floodlights. They have invested in a new terminal, and a new slogan: “Besser kommen Sie nicht weg!” “you don’t get away better”. Well, that is if you get away at all I suppose. So the flight was cancelled, and Ryanair were only able to give a rebooking for Tuesday!
So I had no choice but to head back to Strasbourg, and then after a couple of hours sleep back at the Youth Hostel, I set off towards Brussels. 6am in Strasbourg station on a foggy morning is not the most pleasant place to be. But at least the regional train to Metz left on time. It arrived more or less on time too though.Then more problems. The train to Luxembourg was delayed more than 90 minutes due to problems with the electricity supply, and next regional train to Luxembourg was scheduled to arrive 40 minutes after the arrival of my Strasbourg train. The coffees in the station café in Metz are good though – highly recommended for a stranded traveller!
The CFL staff in Luxembourg were typically quick and efficient sorting out my tickets for the Eurostar to London, but sadly the SNCB’s Eurocity ‘Jean Monnet’ was not! I was first a bit alarmed when they started to connect a very old and cranky looking locomotive to the train composed of only 4 very 1980s carriages (are Eurocity trains not supposed to have certain services?)
Things started well enough – we left more or less on time, and meandered our way through the Ardennes. But then the announcement at Namur that there was a technical problem with the locomotive and all passengers should leave the train and get on a stinky Belgian InterCity, meaning I arrived in Brussels after the departure of the 12h58 Eurostar to London.
But at least I am sat in Exki at Gare de Midi. It’s a chain of green fast food restaurants – excellent vegetarian sandwiches and fresh juices. So having something more substantial to eat than the croissant this morning in Strasbourg, and some Norwegian chocolates at Luxembourg station, makes my mood a bit better. There is wireless internet access here, but in typical Belgacom style, you cannot actually pay for access to it using a credit card! So this will have to be uploaded when I eventually arrive home, still more than 5 hours away. My journey from Strasbourg will have taken a total of 22 hours.