Well boys and girls we made it! I tell you, it was so nice to reach British Passport Control in Brussels.
“Hello, how are you?” I was asked by the chap behind the counter.
“Very well thanks, and very happy to see you!”
I mentioned that I’d come from Tokyo and he was intrigued. He seemed to forget about the queue behind me and started asking all sorts of questions. What countries had I been through? What was the most memorable bit of the trip? What was it like being back in Europe? What a nice welcome home (and I haven’t even reached the UK yet!).
The ICE train from Koln to Brussels was lovely. The driver sits in a cabin with a perspex wall, enabling the few passengers that were on board to watch him play with his knobs. It was terribly exciting for a little boy like me.
There’s been a few occasions this morning when I’ve turned my attention to the fact that this journey is very nearly at an end. Yes, it’s still another 9 days until I reach my final destination, Sheffield, but of course, stepping back onto British soil is the major marker in time. Recalling the events of the past 4 weeks has seen me overcome with emotion, bringing tears to my eyes. Thinking of all the amazing characters I’ve met along the way, the many challenging situations I’ve found myself in… I find it deeply moving to recall the many acts of kindness that have been shown towards me. This journey just would not have been possible without the support of so many, and for that I will always be deeply grateful.
Crikey, this Eurostar train is FLYING! And I only paid them 30 Euros for this Brussels to London trip. That’s cheaper than any flight – only takes a couple of hours too. Why people still fly I don’t know… [and as of November 17th, the Eurostar service will be even faster, thanks to the opening of London’s new St. Pancreas terminal and the new high-speed rail link leading from it].
Whilst on DB’s ICE this morning, I started to catalogue all my blog entries from this trip, to create a permanent record within TGW that isn’t dependent upon the Daily Mumble Archives. When doing so I noted that in my entry the other day about missing my train to Berlin, I had accidentally deleted a vital paragraph just before uploading it. The vital paragraph explained that it was when I checked that email for the address of the travel agent that I noticed that my train had actually been due to depart at 8.20am, not 10pm, and thus I had just missed it.
Apologies for any confusion caused. That entry has now been updated.
I’d also like to apologise to those of you reading this on the Sheffield Star blog site. The blogging software over there is rather restrictive and does not recognise some basic bits of code, thus things like paragraph breaks have often been omitted. If I’d had the time whilst on the road I would have edited them for ease of reading, but as I’m sure you can imagine, when I have had internet access over the past 8500ish miles it’s tended to be a bit of a mad rush to get things online before my credit runs out. Still, minor glitches aside, I think overall the uploading-on-the-road thing has worked pretty well. Feedback welcome.
Hmm, it sounds like I’m wrapping things up – and I’ve not even passed beneath the English Channel yet! Stay tuned folks, it’s not over yet!