To Paris by Bus

Monday, 8 October 2012

Two weekends ago was my first time to travel from London to Paris by bus. It has always been an option, but for some reason we just didn't see the reason why we should travel that long when we can be in Paris in less than two hours via Easyjet. But because we were working on that Friday, we won't have much time to prepare and then travel to Heathrow airport for another hour or so. And so we decided to take the bus from Victoria Coach Station at 2130.

The bus is bigger than the usual coach that I take whenever I go to Bristol or anywhere in England. It is a double decker bus, but all passengers stay on the upper deck. I actually didn't realize that until I asked Don, and he told me that the lower deck was all for the luggage and the toilet. The space between the seats are a bit wider than the normal, but not that much. We were lucky to get the front seat as it is the most spacious of all. And that also meant that I was able to put my feet up. This is what Don and I always do to get the best seats: we stand right in front of the door as soon as we get to the gate and wait there until they allow passengers to get in the bus. I always stay in the queue while Don sorts our baggage. It saves time and it allows you to get in the bus first before anyone else. It doesn't always happen that way, but it's always good to try.

So, let's start from the top. Just like any of our other international travels, we also had to check in. I was not aware of this, but luckily we arrived at the coach station early. I just assumed that because we were just taking the bus, we would just queue like normal, but no. Saying that, there was no baggage security check at this point. They just asked us how many luggage we had then they gave us a tag and we were good to go. 

The travel time written on our bus ticket was at least 9 hours. I thought that wasn't too bad. It is actually just like going from Zambales to Baguio City. But  I was so silly to even think that I would be able to sleep the whole time. I didn't realize that the bus had to make a few stops: one, passport check and two, to take the ferry. They say ignorance is bliss, but that didn't work for me this time because I hate it when my sleep gets interrupted. So, we took the ferry ride from Dover to Calais, France for a total of 90 minutes. We had to get off the bus, which really annoyed me because that meant I had to look for somewhere else to sleep. We hung out in the cafe and I slept on the couch for  at least  45 minutes. Then we had to get up to get in the bus again. And that was the only time that I got to sleep for 4 solid hours. It went so quick that I didn't even know we were already in Gallieni at 0630. 


The bus station in Gallieni


Our bus trip back to London was a bit more interesting as we were met at the counter by angry passengers from the bus before us. Apparently, they were supposed to leave an hour before but was told by the bus driver that the bus was already full. So, imagine how angry they were and they won't let us queue until they were given seats first. That delayed the whole process, so our tactic didn't work this time. Besides, the bus gate in Gallieni is not as organized as it is in London.

From Paris to London there were to passport checks, one from the French Immigration and one from the UK Border Agency. And there was also a baggage check, including handbags and any bags (be it a paper bag or a plastic bag) that you brought from Paris. 

This time though we didn't take the ferry. Instead, the bus went inside the train. I was so happy I was hoping I could sleep better because we didn't get out of the bus. But I couldn't sleep anyway because it was boiling hot inside. I could hear some people talking and laughing out loud outside the bus and people inside the bus were "ssssshhhhhh-ing" them. Haha. 

But apart from the interrupted sleep, which is expected I guess, it's okay to take the bus. I would still prefer to travel at night though because then you won't waste a lot of time. But if you were to ask if I would take the bus to Europe again, yes I will. I just have to make sure that I am off the following day as you will never know if there is going to be any delay. And 9 hours on the road is very tiring, so you need a good day's rest afterwards.


tintin x

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