Thursday, 5 July 2012

How to travel Europe for diddly squat (from the king of corner-cutting himself).

I have just made an extraordinary discovery. More extraordinary and life-changing than the Higgs-Boson quantum particle could ever be, and certainly more useful to the layman:

I just found out today that the Megabus has a new European service from London.
This actually brightened up my day. It was that good.

On the Megabus, which trundles through UK cities with their bright, bold, blue exteriors and instantly-recognisable fat controller mascot Sid, you will now be shuttled to Amsterdam, Brussels, Boulogne or Paris in an attempt to make crossing The Channel a much cheaper, simpler affair. Ooh la la, indeed.

With tickets from the minimum (but nearly impossible to get) £1 + 50p booking fee to anywhere on their route map, travelling Europe and getting onto the continent has never been so promising, especially to me, a skint student from the North of England who has previously found it impossible to get anywhere onto Mainland Europe without it biting a sizeable chunk of a budget.
Not only that, but every Megabus journey that i've ever taken has been an experience. I've either been stuck next to some random tramp, or there was this one time some poor doddery old lady fell asleep on my shoulder and drooled everywhere, or the dog that barked from Birmingham to London, or the stag (coach) parties or breaking down in the middle of the motorway and having to walk up the hard shoulder for miles to the nearest service station to be rescued a few hours later.

My point, is that it is an experience. I kinda love it. And the price isn't half bad too....

Actually, today I've been looking at prices for trains all the way from London to Provence and they range from £100-£200 depending on time of day/week, whereas a train from Paris to Provence costs a meagre £35.

The Eurostar is officially dead then, you'd think. You'd probably be wrong. The main reason that the Megabus can afford to keep such a route is because so many people don't want to spend a great deal of money on the Eurostar. But on the other hand, the only reason that Eurostar hasn't been killed off by the big, blue 6-wheeled monster is because the journey across La Manche takes a fuckload of time.

It takes 8-odd hours to get from Victoria Coach Station, right in the heart of London, to the drop off point in Paris which lies outside the city itself (but is still served by the RER) but as long as you've got tons of books and a comfy pillow, and you get the lucky seat next to someone who isn't a tramp or a general sexual deviant then you're sorted.....

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