July 12, Welsh Bicknor to Oxford, London, and Paris
We woke up this morning, got packed, had our showers and went down for our English breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, baked beans, cereal and juice. We skipped the tomatoes. Afterwards we were on our way back to Oxford. The drive went well, we didn't get lost, went through what seemed like hundreds more traffic circles, and the motorways were congested and slow in several places. When we got back to the area to return the car, I got Brenna to drive around the block to see how disorientated you feel sitting and driving on the wrong side of the car but at least she can say she did it. From there we walked back to the train station to catch the noon train into London. We took the Tube from London Paddington Station over to Kings Cross station where there is a sign on the wall for Platform 9 ¾ and half a trolley sticking out of a brick wall. What's the significance of this you ask? Platform 9 ¾ is where Harry Potter and friends would catch the Hogwarts Express train to get to Hogwarts School and is accessed by running through this wall. We then went across the street to St Pancras Station which was opened in 1868 and has to be one of the most beautiful train stations anywhere. From there we went through France Customs and boarded our high speed train for Paris. After about 25 minutes we were going through The Chunnel which has a service tunnel in the middle and two train tunnels on either side. It goes up to 100 meters below sea level and takes 20 minutes to get through. I had a nap during this time. Just before we arrived in Paris, yep, it started raining. We got off the train and over to The Metro (subway). It was jam packed as it was just after 6 pm. We climbed in and we were squashed together so tight there was no chance of falling down even if the train stopped suddenly. There was barely enough room to take a breath. After a couple of stops we elbowed our way through and spilled out the door at our stop. We checked into our hotel and relaxed for a bit before exploring the area of Paris from our hotel to The Seine and Notre Dame. We stopped for supper at a small Italian restaurant serving pizza and pasta. We were going to look for the Eiffel Tower but after several blocks we gave up because of the rain and decided just to head back to the hotel around 11:30 pm.