Saturday, 20 July 2013

Transport of Delight

6.30 reveille and a quick escape from the Oflag. Mick and I have a pleasant breakfast in a cafe in the station basement - a bargain at about £13 each. We meet the rest of the guys who are updating an Aussie tourist on the progress of the test. He has already had his luggage mislaid by Swiss Air so we really make his day. The first train today is a Swiss double decker which is no more spacious or comfortable than those in India.

The journey from German speaking Zurich to French speaking Geneva manages to avoid any spectacular scenery apart from the run along Lake Geneva which has a thin but solid layer of cloud hanging over it. For the last few miles we are joined by a former colleague of some of the guys who has brought a healthy picnic of cheese, salami,  chocolate and wine. 
At Geneva we have to leave the station and walk round the side to go through French customs. We get comfortable on the French Regional train and crack open the feast. At the first syop the train fills with schoolchildren. They help us out with the picnic.

In Lyon we have a couple hours to kill so we find a bar where we have a late lunch and watch the Tour de France. Looks like a result for Froome. Our data meister also keeps tabs on the cricket where the Aussies are having their noses rubbed in it big time. Back at the station there is a real throng on the platform but we have reservations and a feelgood factor. The train turns out to be a double decker but roomier than the Swiss one. Darren's gizmo tracks our position as we head for Paris en route to Barcelona. This geograhically inept piece of route planning has been caused by the cancellation of the Geneva - Barcelona sleeper.

Most of the guys crash as Darren and I watch the countryside flash by and clock 303 kph admist the snores. Absolutely amazing. In no time we are in Paris where we change stations so we can head south again. Is this why it is called the DisOrient Express?

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