Day trip to France (Yeah, you can do that here)
Lille Travel Blog› entry 16 of 47 › view all entries
I have to start this off by mentioning what I won't miss about London: mean people on the buses and tube. Everyone knows the etiquette: move as far onto the train as possible, sit in just one seat on the bus. But today I saw a girl sit on the aisle seat and put her bag in the other on the bus, and a lady scream at people for not moving in and letting her on the train even when there was no room. Icky. Come on people, have a little consideration.
But I do appreciate on thing about the public transit system here. They are completely honest. If the trains are delayed because someone threw themselves under the train, the announcement will say just that, "Line delayed due to person under a train." In America that would not fly at all and its a bit horrible to think about but I still think its hilarious how blunt they are here.
Saturday was our day trip to Lille, France. Lille is a city in Northern France which is just 80 minutes by train from London. Its a nice little touristy spot with a lot of shopping and cool things to look at, very popular for Londoners who want to visit France but don't want the hassle of Paris.
We had to get up SUPER early and take a few buses to get to St Pancras station where check in for our train was at 6:15 in the AM! Ugh. So we were up at 4 and out the door asap. Arrived in plenty of time (in fact, enough to make a quick visit to Hogwarts from King's Cross).
Lille is full of great big churchs and wonderful monuments. We walked through the city center, Vieux Lille, that was filled with cafes and shops, at which a lot of people were taking advantage of the euro-pound conversion. Aparently it was National Music Day in France, so everywhere we went was filled with music on the street! Honestly, can't say most of it was any good but oh well, I guess its a nice touch.
After walking around a bit we decided to eat before we headed into the big art gallery. Then came the realization that we had no idea what anything was! :x I'd brought a list of French phrases but neglected to think about learning food words.
Then we went to the Musee de Beaux-Art, which was supposed to be a very big, very nice museum. I was unimpressed. Most of the people whom they said they had works by we never saw. Also, they were setting up and sound-checking for an event and the music was awful and obnoxious. Plus it was supposed to be very large and I didn't feel like it had much at all. Oh, and this was the only thing we paid to visit the whole day and it was a waste, I think.
Next we wandered over towards some other things and ended up near the Citadelle. This ended up being the best part of the trip, because around the Citadelle is a huge park and a free zoo! It was like a little permanent carnival was going on complete with kiddie rides and a gigantic bouncey trampoline! The zoo was wonderful! All the animals were up and moving about and you could get really close to them and they didn't seem to mind. Plus, they had a pen of guinea pigs!! :D How cute! They also had owls, big cats, meerkats (yey! love them!), zebras, monkeys, tapirs, rhinos, and much much more. It was definitely a first rate zoo, especially when you consider its free. Plus they're really big into conservation and breeding endangered animals rather than taking them from the wild like some places.
After the zoo we wandered over to the actual Citadelle but it was closed. It still looked impressive from outside with huge walls all around in a sort of star shape. We decided to try to find some place to buy some French wine but it elluded us somehow, and by that point we were exhausted. We bought a sort of French slush puppy drink and went into a park to sit and rest. Ended up laying about in the park until it was nearly time to head home. We were so tired after nearly 8 or so hours in Lille! When we got back to London it took us over an hour to get home and we passed out from a looooong but nice day.