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February 2022 - Paris - Day 5

Trains and boats and planes are passing by.

Today felt as though it would be much like that with different types of transport all ahead of us in order for us to get home. As we got ready this morning after reading the BBC news website it made me appreciate the freedoms we have and how much we take it for granted. How would I be feeling if the leader of my country was instructing us to bear arms to defend the country? It simply does not bear thinking about.

For us, it was a leisurely start as we agreed to meet for breakfast at 9am. I was expecting the restaurant to be quiet with most people having already made their way to the parks, but instead it was very busy. We took our time today and even found time to make up a roll to take away with us for later.

Sadly, Ellie was still feeling quite unwell, and it did finally occur to us that maybe just maybe it could be the dreaded Covid. She was doing the best she could, putting on a brave face soldiering on. As most of the day would be spent travelling, we agreed that there was nothing to be gained from taking a test before she got home. We didn’t want her to have to lie if asked if she had Covid when going through the UK immigration (actually it turned out that the question wasn’t asked and since she has been home, she has now had 2 negative tests).

We had a few hours to kill this morning before we needed to start our journey home. We did contemplate perhaps going to one of the Disney hotels to have a look around. However, Ellie wanted to save what energy she had for the journey and the rest of us were not keen to leave her or that bothered about doing anything other than chilling outside in the gardens in the winter sun.

We all had a little walk around the hotel gardens. If we had been able, we would have walked around the Lake the gardens faced onto, but the gate giving access was firmed chained shut. Instead, we found a table that was sheltered and in the sun. We played some quizzes on Ellies phone before I went and retrieved the game of Uno from my rucksack. We had a couple of fun games of that which passed the time.

I actually enjoyed that time we spent sitting there together. It would have been better if we could have a drink whilst sitting there but as the Hotel was undergoing extensive renovations there was nowhere we could purchase one from.

By now it was time to collect our bags and catch the shuttle bus back to the RER station at Marne Le Vallee. Once at the station we bought some drinks and snacks for the journey at the outlets in the Station.

As the station is the end of the line, we easily found seats and settled back for the journey. We changed lines at Le Halles and the arrived at Gare du Nord about 2 hours 20 minutes before our train was due to leave. We weren’t allowed to check in for our train though until 2 hours before departure and so passed the time in a book shop.

The queues were all very organised but there were several of them we had to go through. One was to check we had completed the Passenger Locator Forms (not what we had put on them), one to exit France, one to enter the UK and finally a security one for our baggage. Ellie stoically managed all these with a smile on her face, but we could see that she just wanted to get home. There is nothing worse than feeling poorly whilst travelling. All you want to do is to get home to your own bed and sleep. At least we knew she would be able to doze when we finally got onto the Eurostar.

Karen & I bought a very welcome cup of tea whilst we were waiting to board the train.

The Eurostar journey was smooth and fast again. It is very noticeable that the train is by a significant factor so much faster on the French side of the channel. I suppose we should be just grateful that we have a service our side at all.

I spent the time writing this blog whilst Barry read his book leaving Karen & Ellie to snooze.

Getting off the train at St Pancras I was concerned about the tube journey back to Epping. I was convinced that the tube would be packed at 7pm on a Friday and that it would maybe a step too much effort for poor Ellie. However, she found the inner strength to make the journey and the tube line was not too bad. We managed to find seats and room for our cases on both parts of the journey.

Sods Law meant that we of course arrived at the far platform at Epping meaning that we had to climb over the bridge to get out, more unnecessary effort expended.

Going back to the car we found the short cut this time but it was still uphill all the way. We were in the car at 8.02pm. I know the exact time as Norwich had just kicked off away at Southampton and we were keen to at least listen to the commentary as we were not going to be home to watch the televised game.

We had agreed that we would stop at the MacDonald’s at Epping to at least have some hot food. We thought it would help us all. The food was ready very fast (as it should be) despite three of us having bespoke orders. It wasn’t long until we were back on the road.

I pushed the car without breaking any limits to try and get us home as soon as possible. The less said about the football the better as it did sound as though that we were totally outplayed and outclassed.

It was about 10.10pm when we pulled up at Barry’s and Ellie was finally able to get inside and rest. The trip had been full on at times, but we had really enjoyed ourselves and the time spent together. We just hope that Ellie gets over her illness and that it doesn’t turn out that she is allergic to us!

Just 6 weeks till our next trip.

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