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My travel back to Lille, France

 
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danpop's pictureby danpop review
added on 13th of June, 2009

First of all I want to say this: I consider Lille one of the most extraordinary places I’ve been too and returning there is somewhere like a blessing.

6:00 AM, Oradea, Romania. I’m waking up, thinking every 2 minutes: Am I forgetting something? The airline code, checked. The minibus details, checked. The passport, checked. The toothbrush, checked :). And so on. At 7 and a bit with everything in place, I took my bags, took a deep breath and went for a taxi. I arrived at the minibus meeting place, next to the Continental Hotel. I remember that a really strong wind was blowing and I was just praying not to rain. Looking back now, I can say that my prays were listened. There the first surprise: I meet a teacher from the university, the same teacher that sent me for the fist time in Lille, with the Leonardo grant. He was there to see off a foreign teacher that came to Oradea. Me and the foreign teacher were the only persons to take the minibus from Oradea, so we left earlier than expected, at about 7:15. It took almost 4 hours to the Ferihegy 1 airport, next to Budapest. We had one stop in Hungary, at a gas station. Even if I had a warm jacket, I remember that when I got off the bus, I was shivering.

I arrived at the airport at 10 o’clock, but the flight was only scheduled for 3 PM. So I had to wait a lot. While sitting there and reading a “Learn French” book, a young woman who was sitting next to me, got up and started to tell me something in Hungarian. Because my level of Hungarian is close to null, I just answered polite: “Sorry, I don’t speak Hungarian”. She then said in clumsy English: “My bags, 5 minutes”. So I watch her bags. After like an hour, I needed to go the bathroom, so I said to her: “Sorry, will you watch my bags for 2 minutes?” Yes, she answered. So, now that introductions were made we started to talk about all sorts of things, and the time fade away so quick. She even taught me a bit of Hungarian (no, I’m not able yet to write Hungarian poems:P). Two hours before the flight we went to checking and after that in the duty free shops. Is it me or the perfumes sold in the airport are really not that cheap? Obviously I didn’t buy anything. No, wait. I bought with 2 euros something like a cake in shape of a lady bird. Tasty. Next, my favorite part: flying. The take off is for me like an adrenalin shot, I really enjoy it. The Formula 1 feeling, even just for 10 seconds, it’s priceless. For almost two hour I was above the clouds, on top of everything that represents a human being. When you see the houses becoming smaller and smaller, you are feeling like a superior creature, that rules this world.

After I took my bag and said goodbye to my flight partner (she was going to Bruxelles), I went outside to wait for the bus that would take me to the train station in Charleroi, Belgium. It felt a bit strange, because I didn’t remember that airport. That was because this is a new terminal, bigger and nicer, the old one being reshaped for cargo transport. After I searched a bit for the bus station, finally I found it, after looking after the signs :). The problem was that now there are only two buses every hour so I had to wait a bit. On top of it the first bus broke and we were transferred to a new one. So I missed the 6PM train and I had to wait the 7 PM one, lucky for me, the last one for that day to Lille. So I waited for almost an hour the train, I got up and headed towards Lille. After a while a warning message was displayed on the carriage’s panels saying that not the whole carriages will go to Lille but only the ones with the number 449. But I didn’t take into account this warning and stayed calm until Mons when a voice repeated the same warning. I became worried and asked some travelers about this. They said that I should go to the first carriage if I want to arrive to Lille. So I took my bags and headed in front. When I arrived to the entrance of 449, I saw that the door is locked. I asked the ticket collector and she said that I only can change the carriage in Tournai. I waited until we arrived there, I got off and changed the carriage and waited for the train to restart the journey. And waited. And waited. For like an half an hour and nothing. Then somebody came and told us that the train is canceled. I was 30 Km away from Lille and stuck in a train station. What a joy! The passengers were really irritated. In the Tournai station all the ticket offices were closed. The ticket collector gave then every one of us some papers to testify that the train was canceled and the train company will refund all money that the travelers will pay for others means of transportation. I was scared I will not get to Lille, and I asked her again. But she told me that there is a train that will arrive in about one hour and to use that one with the same ticket and the other paper. Most travelers leave the train station really upset, but some of us waited the other train. This one was a slow train and it stopped in every small train station on the way.

But, at about 9:30 I arrived in Gare Lille Flandres and it was really such a deja-vu feeling. Everything was the same, exactly how I left it two years ago. Welcome to Lille.
 

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The return - overview

1. May 29, 2009 My travel back to Lille (Lille)
2. May 31, 2009 You must visit Pas-de-Calais (Boulogne-sur-mer)  (* 43)
3. Jun 2, 2009 One-day trip in Brussels (Brussels)  (* 78)
4. Jun 3, 2009 On the way back home through Charleroi (Charleroi)  (* 81)

Start from beginning1 - 4          Journal overview


Read about Lille in our travel-guide
What you should see in Lille
 
 
 
guides

Recommended Lille Guide

Lille Travel guide

   The city again made news in 1983 when the VAL was opened in the city. This was the world’s first automated mode of transport and after a decade the high-speed TGV was opened and the opening of the train line effectively connected Paris and Lille by an hour.   Just recently, the city added another feather to its cap by becoming the European Capital of Culture. The citation was made in 2004. Visitors and tourists in Lille can spend some of their time shopping and the city’s main commercial shopping street is the Rue de Bethume. Tourists can find fun in the Euralille, a mall close to Lille-Europe station. Here visitors can find the... Read more »

 
 
reviews

Recent reviews for Lille

What you should see in Lille - Jun 20, 2009, by danpop
Here are some things you shouldn't miss in Lille: - The City Center (it’s marvelous) - La Citadelle - Forum des Sciences - EuraLille - Palais de Beaux Arts (The second most important Museum in France after Louvre) - Marche... Read more »

 
 

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