In what will be my last jaunt into Europe before I make the move across the Atlantic, I took a day trip to Lille on Eurostar.
I’ve had this loyalty discount coupon for a while, and it has to be used this year or I lose it. I had originally planned to use it to get to Amsterdam when I went last week, but it turned out that even with the discount the train was still three times the price of the plane.
However I was determined to find a way to take my ‘free ride’ before I leave. Hence this little day trip.
The trouble is that in the UK we can’t just travel into a neighbouring country as they can in mainland Europe; we have two lots of passport control to get through and security checks getting more stringent by the day. This makes a day trip quite long and tiring, because you have to allow for getting to the station 45 minutes before the train and then possible delays whilst piles of migrants ‘storm’ the tunnel hoping to hitch a ride to the UK (as happened whilst I travelled back).
Lille is a city in Northern France, close to the border with Belgium. It takes just an hour and a half from London (provided there are no ‘storming’ migrants).
I have been before; many years ago I took a similar trip and it rained all day. Plus, being a Monday then, everything was closed (lesson learned: don’t travel to France on a Monday and expect it to be business as usual). This time I opted for a Tuesday in the middle of a heatwave; I wasn’t getting caught in that again.
I still wasn’t over-keen. There seemed to be an extraordinarily high number of beggars, and if you sat down on a bench for a few minutes to sneak a look at your map they would appear out of nowhere and file up one at a time demanding money.
You may notice a lot of grey skies in my pictures. That is because even in the middle of a heatwave, Lille still manages to be overcast and rainy. I don’t know how they do it. It’s like the city has its own personal rain-cloud.
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