The journey’s the thing

The Ffestiniog kid
As Robert Louis Stevenson said in 1881:

“To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive..”

The journey can be its own reward – unless you’ve ever endured an overnight bus journey in Asia – and I admit, I was very much looking forward to today’s 11-hour multi-rail trip. Here was the route:

Bournville-Birmingham New Street-London Euston-St Pancras International-Paris Gard du Nord-Paris Bercy-Clermont-Ferrand.

I didn’t go by rail for any amazing views, though there were some to be had, but I badly needed the chance to watch the world go by for a few hours and just catch up on ‘stuff’. There is also something of the romance of travel in the variety of rail stations you pass through – something you don’t get with modern airports.

The other thing that fascinates about ground travel is that everything is looked at afresh, eagerly and vividly – from the continuous line of graffiti on the approach to Paris to patterns in the paving stones in historic Clermont. I didn’t manage to snap the unexpected tropical garden, complete with palm trees, beside the No 14 line from Gare de Lyon (update: got it on the return journey) but I snapped all else that caught my eye today.

Below is the story of the journey in pictures and there are more in the full set of lo-fi phone pics is on Flickr.

Bournville, 8am
Journey to Clermont-Ferrand-1
Birmingham New Street 8.30am
Journey to Clermont-Ferrand-2

St Pancras International, 11am
Journey to Clermont-Ferrand-5

Graffiti on the train line, Paris suburbs, 2.30pm
Journey to Clermont-Ferrand-6

Paris Nord, 2.50pm
Journey to Clermont-Ferrand-9

Gare de Paris Bercy, 3.45pm
Journey to Clermont-Ferrand-16

Industrial smoke in the French countryside, 4.45pm
Journey to Clermont-Ferrand-21

Sunset from the SNCF, 5.30pm
Journey to Clermont-Ferrand-20

Place de Jaude, 8.45pm

The Gothic Cathedral, Clermont-Ferrand, 10.15pm

Street graffiti, Clermont-Ferrand, 10.20pm

Empty streets, Clermont-Ferrand, 10.30pm

And tomorrow I’ll wake up to see the city in daylight – and, with luck if the weather holds, the sleeping volcanoes that surround it.


One response to “The journey’s the thing

  1. Pingback: Gare de Lyon’s tropical garden | Tourist Vs Traveller