Boarding the Eurostar is like boarding a plane, with security checks and passport control. It would be very convenient if the Brits could join Schengen.
There was plenty of space on board, the seats were comfortable, and I had bought a bottle of Jupiler Tauro, InBev trying to make something similar to Duvel. Frankly, the beer was not up to much, but the selection in the supermarket at the railway station was rather meagre.
The conductor was very happy to talk about the train and its speed, and we were delighted when he came back to our compartment to tell us when we reached 300 kilometers per hour. Belgium and France flashed by, 20 minutes or so in the tunnel, and then we were in England.
No time to linger in the spanking new St Pancras terminal, either. I was feeling like Mr. Passepartout in Around the World in 80 Days as we carried our bags out on Euston street, past the British Library and into Euston station.
The travel plan was to stay two days in Manchester and then travel down to London. I had bought train passes valid on two flexible days beforehand, and now it was just a matter of getting them stamped before getting on the next train. An hour after arrival in London we were already on board the Virgin Manchester train.
So, shortly after seven, the magic words.
Ladies and gentlemen, we will shortly arrive at Manchester Piccadilly. Please make sure you have all your belongings with you.
It had been a long day…..