Google+ The Norris Files: Kuala Lumpur to Paris via Heathrow


Kuala Lumpur to Paris via Heathrow

This morning was pretty much the reverse of yesterday. Leaving the hotel early I walked to the monorail station, caught the monorail to KL Sentral and then the KL Express to the airport. It was still fairly dark when I left the hotel but there was plenty of traffic about. I don't know whether it was the morning smog but the fumes from the traffic as I walked to the monrail station were overpowering. Together with smells of the street vendors as they set up their food stalls, the noise of the traffic and the constant blasting of horns, it all added up to an assault on the senses.

The plane wasn't leaving until 10:05am so I had plenty of time to kill at the airport. I was seated in an isle seat just on and slightly behind the right hand wing of the plane. The flight to Heathrow was fairly uneventfull just long and tiring at about 12+hrs. There was a little bit of turbelence over parts of India and Europe but nothing to dramatic.

We arrived in London at around 16:15pm to clear skies and it was nice to see the green fields as we flew in as well as the Thames. I couldn't make out any other landmarks as the plane was constantly banking. I was surprised how long the final approach into Heathrow Airport is. After a very long walk from the Malaysian Airline terminal I cleared customs in about 50mins. I had a low opinion of Heathrow, the staff I came across were unfriendly and it was dirty and crowded.

Leaving customs I found the airport tube station easy enough and caught the Piccadily line to Kings Cross St Pancras station. In actual fact I caught three trains as the first two terminated unexpectedly and we all had to transfer to other trains. Combine that with the peak hour crush that leaves you struggling to breathe in the carriage, it would be an understatement to say that I was happy to glad to get out at Kings Cross station and cross over via the mainly underground walkway to the Eurostar Terminal at St Pancras.

St Pancras station was quite impressive with an arched roof and refurbished shopping/eating/waiting areas. The train didn't leave until around 20:05pm so I had time to eat and clean up a bit before I boarded. I scored a window seat on the Eurostar but not long after leaving London we went into the tunnel and when we emerged it was night in France. Actually I didn't event realize we were in France until we stopped at a station that had a French name.

I arrived at Paris Gare du Nord at around 23:30pm Paris time and caught a taxi to my hotel after a fairly long wait at the taxi rank. It was definitely the most hair raising taxi ride I have experienced as the driver sped down cobbled stoned Parisian streets at over 100kms/hr, pedestrians and parked cars only inches away. Through narrow single lane arched ways he speed onto the main road along the Seine and into the Pont de l'Alma road tunnel where Princess Diana was killed. My hotel the Hotel de France Eiffel was on rue St Charles not to far from the Eiffel Tower and I had a room in the roof. One person could barely fit into the hotels creaky old elevator and my room had paper thin walls which you couldn't swing a cat in without hitting but it had everything I needed. After showering I hit the sack and slept like a log during my first night in Paris.

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