As you may know if you follow Warren or myself on Twitter, we reached the point on Saturday morning where it became fairly obvious (to us at least) that we weren't going to get home by plane from Copenhagen any time soon. The only option that was available to us was a Eurostar journey from Paris to London on Monday evening. So after booking various train tickets (Thalys from Brussels to Paris, Eurostar from Paris to London), extending the car hire and making it a one way rental that we could drop in Brussels, buying supplies for the trip, we set out early on Sunday morning for the #greatgeekescape.
The plan was simple, drive from Copenhagen to Brussels, drop the car there, sleep, train to Paris, train to London and then home (for me at least, Warren still has to get to Edinburgh from there). So Sunday was spent driving... a long way. 1050km (650 miles). In a Fiat 500. It took us 12 hours, but we finally made it at around 8pm, absolutely exhausted, but a lot closer to home.
This whole episode has raised several points and questions...
- Danish drivers are scarily aggressive, for such a relaxed nation I have no idea where this trait comes from.
- "East bound and down", the theme from Smokey and the Bandit, is a perfect tune to play loud while blatting along German autobahns in an Italian car while trying to get to Belgium.
- It is inconsiderate of the Dutch road building authorities to redesign their road system without checking with us first, we saw entirely too much of the Eindhoven ring road. :-)
- When you have two laptops, two smartphones, and a GPS system you can navigate your way around unexpectedly changed Dutch roads in a pinch!
- It's useful having Twitter and SMS to help us out with support from friends, and also people to answer questions for us.
- We were very very lucky that we had the funds and opportunity to decide to get ourselves home. Not everyone was in the same position and I can't imagine how bad this would have been otherwise.
- There is absolutely no way I could do any serious amount of travel on a regular basis. Even before this whole escapade I was knackered from trips to Belgium, Amsterdam and Newcastle earlier in the month. I really just want to get home.
- In all of the people we encountered on phones, in hotels, in bars, across multiple countries, the single common factor was unfailing helpfulness and, given the stress some were under, a cheerful response to questions. Sometimes your faith in humanity can get a welcome boost.
All being well, and I hope I'm not tempting fate here, the Eurostar will get us back to St Pancras at 10pm this evening. I can get home in 30 minutes from there and Warren has another night away from home with friends as he continues up to Edinburgh.
All in all it's been an eventful and memorable trip away from home. Not one I'd like to repeat any time soon though!