"Everyone knows the more you wear pearls, little by little they become real....And isn't it the same with memories?" - The Madwoman of Chaillot

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Quick night in Dusseldorf and off to England

We were trying to decide between just grabbing a sandwich outside the train station and walking into the main city of Dusseldorf and decided to at least walk around the block but then kept going, and going. Once we hit the Konigsallee, I took some pictures,

Shopping street

Walked a little further and then we found ourselves in front of the restaurant recommended to us by Arnd from 3M Hilden - A Tavola. Seemed a little strange eating Italian food in Germany first thing but it was good.

They used a little slip of space next to the church across from the restaurant for more outdoor seating....I Love all the outdoor eating in Europe!

Bill's mushroom risotto

My salad napolitano - not sure I ever had tuna on a salad in Italy but it was good

Funny point was that we are confused enough between trying to use our limited German and having to switch to English for many things but the waiter was also throwing in Italian - I think I thanked him in French once....

We just had a starter dish each and a little wine and walked the mile or so back to the hotel. Had to pack up and be ready to go for a 5:45 AM departure for Brussels...

Next morning breakfast was too late for us so we picked up a apple fritter type thing to tide us over until breakfast is served on our train. Right now sitting on the train in Koln, right near the Koln cathedral and it's still totally dark outside.... But with our eurail passes we get 1st class so going to have a free breakfast and have free wifi...

Thalys trains were great but the wifi was not - it kept dying...

Next stop for us was Brussels where we were to have a four hour layover but we happened to notice a Eurostar train leaving soon and were just in time to change to that train and check in on time. So we'll have those hours in London instead...from London we go to Atherstone England where there is a 3M plant.

Eurostar was actually less luxurious but maybe just because it was 2nd class. They slow down in the tunnel but after that it just flew!

London St Pancras

So now it gets interesting...
The train websites gave various ways to get to Atherstone, most of them requiring 4 trains. The most promising (only 3 trains) routed us to one stop first (I think called Black Friar) then to Euston Station (we had no idea where these stops were), about 20 min for each and then to Atherstone (another 90 min)

To complicate things, the privatized railway system in England means there are all sorts of small companies going on their various routes and no real way we could see to easily figure out how to get to Atherstone. Finally got in one line that seemed promising and were told that the ticket seller didn't know that town and although it did come up on his screen he had no idea if that was right (nor did we). So, he said to walk to Euston Station which it turns out was just a few blocks away. And from there we should be able to get a direct train. No clue why the website tried to route us on two trains to get a couple of blocks away...

After a short walk, we found we had just missed a train and had an hour wait so we had a quick lunch.

Bill had a pasty and I had a veggie wrap and Welsh cookies

We ended up on the very nice London Midland line

And cannot leave out the story of Marcus, who was sitting across from us. Unfortunately my stealth picture did not turn out. But this guy was a character - or as he put it, a "crazy bloke".

He was very hard to understand at first, having some very strong accent and even after awhile, still only figured out 3/4 of what he said. We first though he played soccer for a team of unrecognizable name, but pretty sure he just, in his words, "supports his team", mostly it sounds like by going to matches and fighting with fans from the other team. He has what appeared to be a broken nose or at least damaged, cuts on his face, says proudly he has broken all his fingers, and various other bones, somehow had some damage to his pancreas that left him an insulin dependent diabetic - has had several episodes of passing out from either high or low blood sugar, the stories just went on... He was on his way to visit his girl friend who wants him to move out of London and quit the fighting but he pretty much admitted he wasn't sure he could...

So after 90 minutes of talking with Marcus, we arrived in Atherstone,

walked about 1/2 mile to our hotel and will leave that to the next entry...

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