Sunday, December 30, 2007

London to Paris: horses for courses (some row it!)

London to Paris on a bike over 4 days riding some 300 miles got me thinking of the different ways you could travel from London to Paris.
As the crow flies it is about 200 miles from London to Paris. Flying to Paris from Gatwick would only take about 1 hour but it always takes longer and then you need to travel from the centre of London to Gatwick to Charles de Gaulle then find transport from the airport to the centre of Paris all adds time so that 45 min flight because 3 to 4 hour journey. The Eurostar can do the trip in about 2.5 hours, faster if the British rail system supported the fast trains appropriately, how frustrating it is traveling back from Paris on the Eurostar, you are hurtling along through the French country side towards Calais only to slow down as you enter the tunnel then travel at a snails pace to London.
You can drive to Paris from London and according to Google maps it's a 289 mile journey taking 5 hours and 43 mins now here's a challenge for Top Gear, race public transport ie tube from the National Gallery to another tube another to get on the Gatwick Express, book yourself in at the airport go through security get on your flight, fly to Paris go through passports collect your luggage, get the train into Paris versus driving; it could be a close call assuming the car got out of London with minimal delay and the French baggage handlers were on strike.
I came across an interesting race from London to Paris, now these guys are crazy, they row from London along the Thames out into the Thames estuary, they row the boat out around south east Kent past Dover then they cross the English Channel (somehow avoiding the traffic of the shipping lanes) they navigate their way up the Seine to Paris. Looking briefly at the website teams of 10 rotate over the duration of the event. It looks like there are 6 oarsman and a cox (pretty easy job sitting back looking at the view yelling at the crew to get a move we only have 300 more miles to row come on chaps, hey watch out for that oil tanker). The other interesting snippet from their website is the event is a race from London to Paris which started in 1990 with the Met Police crew being the first to row non stop however, since then only 4 crews have completed the race (some race). Apparently they are still taking entries from interested parties if you wish to have a go however, it looks like history is against you finishing. Good luck I wish you all the best watch out for those tankers.

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