On the Way to Paris

Calais Travel Blog

 › entry 19 of 30 › view all entries
Dirty Train (Bugs Hit at 190 mph!)
10:58 AM (French Time): The Eurostar we are on is hurtling through the French countryside, having just emerged from the Chunnel. 150 mph? I don’t know – I’m too lazy to fetch my GPS to find out. But it’s fast. Except for the red-roofed houses scattered everywhere, the rolling hills and dense copses of trees, it looks like South Dakota. Which is to say, it isn’t like anything I’m familiar with. But the sky is blue and the clouds are white. I guess that’s universal

We have a little under an hour before we arrive in Paris. Julia is reading Harry Potter, TJ, Amanda, Megan and Angie are sleeping. And Janelle is watching the countryside fly by. This train is nothing like the London tube trains. For starters it is air conditioned. And it is quiet and smooth and has nice views.
Girl Reading (Vermeer?)

I didn’t mention in yesterday’s post that besides Westminster Abbey and the piano bar, we did other things, too. We started our day by getting train tickets to Windsor so we could visit Windsor Castle, the Queen’s home away from home. The trip took about 45 minutes on a regional train. Much of the castle was closed because they were in preparation for events surrounding the Queen’s birthday, which was yesterday. We couldn’t see the chapel or the royal apartments but I’ll guess we’ll have to come back again on another trip

It was after Windsor Castle that we hurried back to London to go to Westminster Abbey. After the Abbey, we split up. TJ and I went the National Gallery, the three graduates went in search of the Peter Pan statue and Janelle and Amanda went to Notting Hill.
Ready to Board the Train

As you might expect, the National Gallery is a great art museum. And, like the National Gallery in Washington, DC, it’s free. TJ went with me to see The Arnolfini Wedding by van Eyck. After that, we went our separate ways for an hour or so. I saw many good things but two of my favorites were Boticelli’s Venus and Mars and Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. My most favorite, however, was a painting by Renoir. Sorry, but I don’t remember the name. There is something about the way he blends his colors that makes the painting soft and soothing. And though there are several figures in the frame, there is one beautiful, fresh-faced young female that really drew me into the picture. Should I say that I am drawn to a fresh-faced girl? Probably not. But it’s just a painting.

Incidentally, I turned my GPS on a few minutes ago and we peaked at 190 mph. This is the way to go. If we had a train like this between Watertown and Sioux Falls, the trip would only take 30 minutes!

We just learned that we are going to be 15 minutes late but that’s fine with me. I wouldn’t mind spending even more time on this train.

Here’s on observation: London is so expensive that it was painful at times. And I’ve been wondering if I am too obsessed with expense. But part of my concern was for my students, some of whom had worked very hard to be able to take this trip. Another fact is that though I travel a lot, I am not wealthy. I have found that I can travel as much as I do because I am able to cut corners as a rule and splurge as an exception. But I found few corners to cut in London. For example, I had two bottles of beer at the piano bar last night. Total cost: $16. Anyway, we are entering the land of the Euro for a while now and though the American dollar is very weak here, too, things will seem like a bargain. I’d be willing to bet that CHA starts us out in England because if we ended up there last, we wouldn’t be able to afford it. Enough about expense!

Here’s another observation: I miss my wife, who is my most favorite travel companion. And I miss Mac, our orange cat. I have spent 21 of the last 23 days away from the quiet comforts of my wife, my cat and my home.

PS: More photos soon? Kasha and Kyle: I will deliver the message.
KashaFuerstenau says:
Hi Mr. Shephard! I hope this works. If you would, please say hi to TJ for me and tell him I miss him & I can't wait until he gets back. (remind him he's suppose to be taking pictures of everything to show me!) Also, please tell the whole group that I hope they are having the time of their lives! :D Thanks so much! Kasha
Posted on: Jun 18, 2007
KyleKranz says:
Hey Shephard! Tell Amanda I said hi and that I miss her :)

-Kyle Kranz
Posted on: Jun 17, 2007
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Dirty Train (Bugs Hit at 190 mph!)
Dirty Train (Bugs Hit at 190 mph!)
Girl Reading (Vermeer?)
Girl Reading (Vermeer?)
Ready to Board the Train
Ready to Board the Train
photo by: tacco14