I wasn’t sure whether I was going to bother with the travelblogue this year. The part of this year’s travels I’m doing on my own (and travelling on your own is the kind of travel most conducive to travelbloging) is a trip I’ve done a few times now: Leeds to Denmark. Not that I’m getting bored of it! But you might be.
But it’s been so cool being back on the train that I had to write about it. But before I start blogging about the actual journeying, I should add that there’s an element of suspense to this trip.
When your friends and family all think you’re a nutter for crossing Europe overland already, it’s exasperating that so much as booking a train journey that crosses a few European borders is about a MILLION times more hassle than booking a flight to cover the same ground. I mean, they could at least make that bit easy, right? (To be fair though, all credit to Deutsche Bahn, who do their best to make up for the uselessness of everyone else in the EU.)
Booking bus travel might be even worse though! I won’t linger on how the National Express website will only tell you there’s no space left on a bus after you’ve chosen it and typed in all your credit card details. (‘Yes, quite a few people mention that’, says the woman on the helpline.) For my greatest ire falls to EUROLINES.FR!
So, right, I pay good money for a bus ticket from Paris to Madrid via Eurolines. I get my booking number, but the crucial pdf ticket doesn’t open, and the confirmation email does not arrive. (No, not to the spam folder either.) The money does leave my account, however. So I give it a couple of days and use the website’s contact form to ask for my ticket. Another few days go by, with no reply. So I phone them up. The number on the website doesn’t work. I hunt around and find another number, which does. The gentleman at the end of the phone tells me another number to call. I’m pretty rubbish at numbers in French, so I get him to give the number in English to be on the safe side. I call the number. It plays the opening bars of ‘no woman no cry’ and a soothing voice explains that the number is no longer in use. It tells me a new number at altogether unsoothing speed, before maliciously adding ‘merci pour votre comprehension’, and ringing off.
Not to be deterred, I revise my knowledge of French numbers and call the number again SIX TIMES until I think I’ve worked out the new number. I call it. It DOESN’T WORK.
Well, to be fair, I am really rubbish at numbers in French. I call the number that does work once more. A helpful woman takes my phone number and says they’ll call me back… That was getting on for a week ago.
So who knows what will happen when I arrive in Paris? Read the travelblogue for the full white-knuckle experience!
Great to see your blog, Alaric. Hope things get less frustrating for you!
Yes… you have a travelblogue after all! 🙂
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