As I have said two posts ago, I visited two European friend in September last year. The second friend I visited alone, without the friend that accompanied me on my previous trip. I booked a bus ticket to London, probably the cheapest way to get to the other side of the Channel (I paid less than 30EUR for the retour trip!). It’s a trip of about 8 hours, but that didn’t bother me. Another advantage is that there are several places to get on, while you have only one choice (Brussels) when going by train/plane (who takes a plane from Belgium to London anyway?!).
It wasn’t easy to find though, the bus stop in Ghent. The bus stop was supposed to be somewhere near the Ghent Dampoort station, but when I got there I couldn’t find it. I tried asking at the information desk in the station to no avail. I had checked Google Street View in advance, but the spot Google showed me didn’t really seem like a bus stop to me either. I waited near the spot Google told me, and I waited. And waited… Then some guy asked me if I knew where the Eurolines bus stop was, so after I told him I didn’t really know either we tried looking for it again and after some 10 minutes we finally found it. There was a small Eurolines sticker on one of the De Lijn (Flanders public bus company) bus stops that indicated the Eurolines bus stop. No wonder we couldn’t find it! So if you ever wonder where the Eurolines bus stop is located at Ghent Dampoort; look foor a tiny Eurolines sticker on one of the De Lijn bus stops. 😉
Then the bus was late, so we started wondering whether this was or wasn’t the bus stop in the end. But we waited, and we waited. Half an hour past its departure time, the bus finally arrived, we showed our tickets and hopped on the bus. Next stop was Bruges and then no more stops until London.
I was glad I had the company of the young guy during this long ride. He amused me with the story of how he ended up on this bus after a bet with some friends, and with interesting physics theories which were just that bit too hard for me to grasp. In Calais, at the border between France and the United Kingdom, we had to wait for a long time, then get out and get ourselves and our baggage checked, and then wait a while again (our bus missed the planned train because of customs…). Our busfinally got on the train and in half an hour we were on British soil.
There the bus picked up some more travelers in Folkestone, the only stop before London. The ride from there to the borders of London went smoothly, but then it took about two hours to arrive at Victoria Coach Station. Wow, that city sure is congested!
I accompanied my new friend to Victoria Station, in hopes of getting better wifi there but it was all in vain (we were late, my friend was going to be late, so I wanted to let her know I arrived). I tried sending messages through facebook to my friend telling her I was at Victoria Station but facebook said my message could not be sent, so I went back to Victoria Coach Station. At the same moment, my friend had gone to Victoria Station and we missed each other so by the time I was at the Coach Station, she was at the train station because facebook HAD sent my message but I didn’t know, because it said it couldn’t… Never trust facebook! Anyway, to make an already long story short: after about 45 minutes we found each other and were so relieved. We went for food because I hadn’t eaten since morning (note to self: take food on a trip of 8 hours for Pete’s sake!). My nerves were so shaken that I couldn’t even manage to order a sandwich at Subway properly.
When I was finally relaxed we went for a quick walk in London to see the main sights because I’m honestly not interested in London but since we were there anyway…