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Friday was such a waste of a day that I don’t think I took a single photo. Here are some thoughts, observations and advice on travelling between Paris and Oxford.

  • 6.30am in the cold spring feels more like 5.00am.
  • you really should eat a large breakfast when you’re attempting travel of any sort. A small bowl of Special K doesn’t cut it when you don’t know where you’ll be for lunch.
  • The reason that the Paris metro runs so efficiently is that it waits for no one. Even if that person is halfway into the train. The doors just don’t reopen. You have to squeeze back out so your arm doesn’t get broken off by the train, and watch your travelling companion as she is sped away from you. But because the metro runs so efficiently another train will be along in less than two minutes, so it’s not that big a deal when one of you gets on the train and the other one doesn’t.
  • The self check in system at the airport is cool.
  • Except for the bit that says ‘fast bag drop’. That implied that once you’d checked in you’d just whiz past and leave your bag somewhere safe. No. You queue up for forty minutes. Not fast. No.
  • Don’t believe the signs that say the plane is on time. They will tell you this all the way until you get on the plane and the doors are locked, then the pilot will inform you that the plane is delayed by an hour and you just have to sit there and wait.
  • The British air crew are not very attractive compared to their French counterparts. Maybe that was just on my flight. There was one guy who I swear looked exactly like how they draw Brits in the Simpsons, or like he was out of Little Britain.
  • Don’t book a connecting train ticket that leaves anywhere within three hours of your suggested arrival time to Heathrow. Because invariably the departure time of your train will occur while you are still circling in a holding pattern over the airport.
  • Be prepared, once you arrive, for strange scales of economy. The return ticket to Oxford, which is about an hour’s trip, was GBP21. Not super cheap, but whatever. The one-way fifteen minute express train trip from Heathrow to Paddington where I caught the train to Oxford cost GBP15 (AU$32…I think I should just give up on converting prices).
  • The train trip to Oxford is one of the slowest and most boring I have ever been on. This may have been influenced by the fact that I was really tired and because I had been rushing to make connections had not had any lunch.
  • It’s a bit of a strange moment when you realise that the sounds of conversation around you are actually in English, not French, and that it’s still not really that easy to understand.
  • iPods are a godsend.
  • When you finally get to Oxford, four hours after you were supposed to arrive, and see your wonderful friend and meet her delightful baby, it’s all totally worth it.