The Journey to Mainland Europe

Heading over to the “Mainland”, we saved a bit of money by booking an overnight bus ride from London to Amsterdam. We knew it would be a bit uncomfortable, but we also figured why not? We’ll save on lodging for a night and it will be a new experience. What an understatement that turned out to be.

We climbed on the bus in London around 7PM, with our meals in tow that we bought from the bus station. Crappy sandwiches and chips to tide us over.
About an hour into the trip, a woman tried to use the bathroom, which was in the middle of the bus right in front of us.
The door was locked, which we found odd, but she asked the bus driver and he gave her a key.
We’re not entirely sure what happened after that, but we noticed that something was a little “off” with her when she began speaking to everyone as she made her way to her seat in the back of the bus.
Then the moaning began.
Off and on, rocking back and forth in her seat. Another passenger from the back of the bus went up to speak with the driver, but nothing happened.
Then the screaming.
The woman was having some kind of mental break, we speculated that she might have done drugs in the bathroom earlier, but who knows. She needed help.
Passengers just kept looking back, but not wanting to agitate her further, we all just tried to ignore her.
The screaming and moaning kept getting louder and we kept thinking, we can’t handle 10 more hours of this! We’re not even to the English Channel yet!
The driver remained quiet and kept moving on. We had no idea what was going to happen. It felt like he was just planning to ignore it the whole time.
About 2 hours later, we finally arrive at the border and all have to get off the bus to go through customs.
While we were off the bus, that’s when the police arrive. Whew! They were called!
It took the police and the paramedics a good 45 minutes to coax this woman off the bus and she was eventually carted off in a stretcher. It was a scary experience, and we truly hope that she got the help she needed.
We thought scary part was over for the evening….
Then came THE tunnel.
Maybe you’ve heard of it?
– It has the longest undersea portion of any tunnel in the world (23.5 miles).
– Up to 400 trains pass through the tunnel each day, carrying an average of 50,000 passengers, 6,000 cars, 180 coaches and 54,000 tons of freight.
I had passed through it in 2004 on a train and really all I remembered was dark. It was dark and I tried not to think about how far under water I was.
But that was it. Little did I know that passing through the tunnel in a bus would be a completely different experience!

When going through on a bus, you get loaded onto a train. While still ON the bus.  It reminded me a bit of getting loaded onto a ferry boat, but way more terrifying.

photo courtesy of bram_souffreau – Flickr.

This photo gives you can idea of the space, but imagine a large bus almost to the top of the car. It’s a very claustrophobic place, and that’s BEFORE you enter the tunnel.
Jake and I had a movie going, (Hot Fuzz, in case you want to know) and just tried to keep focused on it and not the amount of water over our heads and how small the compartment was that we were rocketing through.
I’m pretty claustrophobic to begin with, so this was a tough ride.
It takes about 40 minutes to reach the other side. Jake was wonderful and didn’t let on how uneasy he was feeling until we were through the tunnel.
The rest of the ride was uneventful and we arrived in Amsterdam around 6AM the next morning.
. . . . . .
Still, next time, I think we’ll fly.

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