Getting the Coach from London to Bruges
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A Coach in a Train under the Sea
We’re on a coach, within a train, under the sea. Our bid to travel by coach from London to Bruges – surely the cheapest and most interesting method – is well underway. Despite the journey sounding like something lifted straight out of a sci-fi film, this is the very same way that hundreds of people choose to travel from the UK to mainland Europe every single day. And ducking under the Channel is nothing new – the Channel Tunnel (or ‘Chunnel’) has been open for business since the nineties – but if like me you were curious about the details of travelling by coach from London to Bruges, then allow me to start from the very beginning...
The coach from London to Bruges
To get our coach from London to Bruges we left London Victoria coach station on time (8am sharp), which already placed me in unfamiliar territory – the coaches I usually get from London Victoria to travel to other places in the UK are invariably not so prompt. But this coach had a train to catch so we weaved our way past Buckingham Palace, down the Mall and continued southbound towards Folkestone in Kent. We stopped for a while as we were apparently 15 minutes early so took the opportunity to use the off-board facilities and grab a coffee at the services. Unfortunately one young voyager from New Zealand must have thought the driver said 50 minutes, not 15. Our Dutch driver was ever-prompt though and wasn’t hanging around so there was a bit of drama as the hapless traveller made a dash on foot in pursuit of our coach just as immigration were going through our passports. (On the way we didn’t have to leave the coach – immigration just hopped on board with a ‘bonjour’ and collected our passports for inspection. Very quick and efficient.)
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Crossing the Channel
The Kiwi girl made it and we were off again. The driver carefully maneuvered the coach into a cabin of the train and there we were - on a coach, within in a train under the Channel sea. The whole journey was quite a strange affair. I didn’t even realise we were moving until we were about halfway across the Channel and my ears popped a bit and I become aware of the sounds of a train, if not the motions of one. It didn't feel like we were moving at all really and I half expected to see the white cliffs of Dover when the coach eased off the train and daylight once again flooded in at the other end. Lo and behold though, it had been just 30 minutes but we were undoubtedly in France.
I don’t know what took more getting used to when we reached the other side of the Channel – the fact that we were driving on the road again or the fact that we were driving on the right hand side of that road. Nevertheless our journey by coach from London to Bruges was building momentum and it was almost time for our arrival into Belgium.
This part of the journey didn't take long - perhaps two hours or so to drive from the coast of France, past the signs for Brussels and into Bruges itself. We did experience a bit of traffic on the final part of our journey though, arriving into our final destination at around 2pm. Still, not bad for a morning's work. Getting the coach from London to Bruges wasn't half as uncomfortable or time consuming as I'd thought it would be.
Follow this link for ideas on what to do in Bruges once you finally get there.
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