Tag Archives: travel

Seven reasons to travel by Eurostar

We went on holiday by Eurostar last month and had a really good experience. But now I’ve got another reason to like Eurostar so I thought I’d write out my reasons for using them.

1. Eurostar is less bad for the environment than flying

I love travelling but I don’t like being responsible for damaging the Earth when I do travel. Thankfully, Eurostar is less environmentally damaging than going by plane. London to Paris uses around 90% carbon than flying and London to Barcelona by train (closer to our destinations of Carcassonne/Perpignan) are around 85% less (source seat61.com). Of course, not travelling would use much less carbon, but I’m not willing to give up foreign travel yet.

2. Travelling by Eurostar requires less waiting around

I’m not a great traveller. I tend to think of what can go wrong and have to work at being relaxed and content on the move. Eurostar only requires you to be at St Pancras station around 30 minutes before departure, whereas flying often requires you to be at the airport 2 hours in advance. At Lille, when you get off a TGV and go through to the Eurostar platform it feels like there’s hardly any waiting around at all. Flight times often look quicker than going by train but once you include all the waiting around time, travelling by train is often faster. And stations aren’t set up to be like massive shopping malls as airports often are, so they’re more relaxing too.

3. The staff are always friendly

The staff on Eurostar trains have always been friendly and helpful, in my experience. Last time we travelled they took extra care around our baby and made sure that we had everything we needed. I don’t think we had many needs that we hadn’t met ourselves but it didn’t feel like it would be a bother to get help.

4. Travelling at a higher standard is relatively cheaper

I’ve never booked a flight in anything other than standard class as the price is always so much higher. But on Eurostar the price is often marginal and for the space, food, drink and magazines it feels like good value.

5. You can sit around a table/space

Okay, maybe you can do this first class in a plane, I wouldn’t know! But on Eurostar you can book your seats around a table. Either a table for 2 or a table for 4. And by the baby-changing areas in standard, you can book around a space where a table would normally be. It’s easier to wander around too than on a plane and there’s never a time when you have to go back to your seats because of take off/landing/turbulence.

6. There are less security restrictions

Got a baby? Need to take lots of baby foods? No problem. You don’t know how annoying it is to try and fly with a baby and limit yourselves by the security requirements until you have to do it. With Eurostar, you don’t even have to think about it.

7. Great customer care

Finally, the reason that prompted this blog post. Eurostar Customer Care read a recent  post I wrote about travelling with a baby and picked up on my disappointment at missing out on my Plus Points for the booking. They tweeted to me and said they would fix it and had done so within 3 days. So I now have a money off voucher for my next booking. Sure, this is fixing something that I should have got anyway, but they just got on and sorted it out for me.

Thanks Eurostar!

A Eurostar train from the front, at Lille station.
Travelling by Eurostar is easier than travelling by plane

 

Giving thanks for journeys

Giving thanks during journeys has fast become a focus during my stay in Kenya. It started when Oliver Kisaka told a story, while preaching, about giving thanks to God in prayer. Oliver had a car that had an oil leak problem that seemingly couldn’t be fixed. When he asked God for help fixing it, God reminded him that it was God who had given him the car and so shouldn’t Oliver be giving thanks instead? Oliver agreed and gave thanks. Not long afterwards, the problem was fixed.

To cut a long story short, I have not been without journey issues this week.

The culmination so far, was travelling at around 5km per hour in an old Toyota Hiace minibus along the main route for trucks coming and going from Mombasa and the Kenyan coast through to Uganda, DRC and back. At night. On a bumpy road. With pot holes as wide as our car and as deep as from my feet to my shins. There were no road markings and it wasn’t until I was on this road, on this journey that I realised how valuable ‘cats’ eyes’, that we have on the roads in Britain, are.

But as Phori said, when we were safely around the table giving thanks in prayer and fellowship and celebrating our adventure at 9:30pm, ‘if, when we travelling so slowly, we had known that we were around the table at 9:30pm giving thanks it might have made the journey that much easier’.

Quite! It would have made us feel a lot better. But as it was, travelling at 5km/h we gave thanks, we prayed, we talked and we sang our hearts out. A better fellowship we could not have known.

And, after a while, our prayers were answered and the 80km/h limiter in the bus didn’t always kick in at 5km/h. So we could travel that little bit faster (you don’t know how fast 40km/h can feel until you have been travelling at 5km/h with Congolese and Uganda trucks blasting past you up hill!

To tie it all together, in Britain Yearly Meeting’s Quaker Faith & Practice book 13.21 states ‘travelling to visit and worship with Friends, both within our yearly meeting and beyond, is greatly to be valued’. I’m not sure that the writers had us in mind when they wrote this passage, but us three Friends from East Africa Yearly Meeting North, Central & Southern Yearly Meeting and Britain Yearly Meeting are certainly valuing our travel together!

Written on 15 December 2009.