corders in the hague

It's like having the Corders round for dinner - except the kids don't smash stuff and Mike doesn't drink all your booze. And when you're bored you can get rid of us with a mouse click rather than having to start tidying up the house.

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Location: The Hague, Netherlands

Sunday, January 11, 2009


I’m not a very relaxed traveller. I would rather spend an hour and a half in a crowded departure lounge waiting for a plane than three minutes in a cab racing through traffic to make a connection.
So I was not all that happy about leaving myself just 45 minutes to make the cross-town trek from Paris’ Gare du Nord to the Gare de Lyon today. But travelling on a Sunday cuts down options and unless I wanted to get up really early and catch a slow train from The Hague to Brussels then change to get to Paris, I had no choice.
So imagine my delight when we got to Brussels on the fast train only to hear that it was buggered and would all passengers, including those carrying babies and all their worldly possessions in baby strollers, mind getting off and walking up the icy platform to get on another train that we really hope will be working.
I was screwed.
I took the opportunity to upgrade myself to first class – the conductors didn’t seem to be checking tickets - which had the advantage of being the first carriage on the train. If I was going to miss the TGV in Paris, I was not going down without a fight.
I won’t stretch this out – you know how it ends: Our hero, panting slightly, battles through hoards of French people defying the smoking ban on the TGV platform and leaps onto the departing train as its doors swish shut behind him.
Yes, there were hitches: The metro ticket I’d saved from a visit to Paris last year no longer worked so I had to buy another one causing me to miss one GdN-GdL metro; When the next metro arrived it was held up by a man of Arabian appearance who was lugging a rolled up carpet so large and heavy that the only reasonable conclusion to draw was that it contained at least one and maybe two dead bodies. Honestly, I checked the ground to see if it left a trail of blood as he dragged it up the stairs of the train.
Finally, as I looked for my reserved place in the TGV I was forced to ask a 300-pound skinhead reading (I swear to you this is true) a hunting knife magazine (who knew they even existed?) to vacate my seat.


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